marathon running in greece


Sunday was race day. In the United States, marathons start at the crack of dawn, but in Greece it started at a friendly 9 a.m. I actually got to sleep until about 7 a.m., take my time to get breakfast, and make sure I had all my gear together before getting on the bus and riding to the start in the town of Marathon, Greece. Apostolos Greek Tours took care of everything – the hotel accommodations, race details, and sightseeing.

The temperature at race start was 61 degrees with the wind at our back and lots of cloud coverage - practically perfect marathon weather. Jeff Galloway, a world-class athlete and founder of the Galloway Marathon Training Program, was with the tour and was leading a 1 minute run/1 minute walk group with a goal of 5 hours. The night before he told us that the course was difficult and we should expect to run 20 minutes slower than usual, but my secret goal was to set a personal record.

After the first couple miles, we looped around the tomb of the Athenian soldiers who fell during the Persian-Athenian War. We continued through the countryside, with cheers of "Bravo!" and "Calimera!" (good morning) coming from people who had come out to cheer us on. Around mile 16 we started to get into the suburbs of Athens and see more buildings. The 1 minute run/1 minute walk method was really working and the race was flying by! The group had pulled away from me, but around mile 24, Eric (who had run the 10K earlier) started running with me. I had almost made it! Eric was surprised to find me in a good mood, and I was surprised to be in a good mood. Maybe it was the spirit of Phidippides, or the olive branches in my visor.

Only a couple more miles to go.

As I was "sprinting" to the finish, EVERYTHING cramped, but I managed to push through it to the finish line and get my medal. The race ended in the Olympic stadium, complete with Olympic rings at the top. Eric somehow convinced me to hike all the way up there after running a marathon, and I was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in the distance. And my personal record? I beat it by five minutes!

I field tested a pair of our run shorts (from last season and most closely related to the Speed Short), and even after 26.2 miles of running I didn’t even notice they were there. No chafing, dried quickly, everything they are supposed to be. The zippered pocket on the back came in handy when I needed somewhere to store my gel and my hotel key.

My overall review for this marathon experience? Do it now, do it now, do it now!

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what an amazing story abbie – i’m setting a one year goal to run a marathon! thanks for the inspiration.

Comment by Marisa — April 23, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

Abbie! So happy to see this on the lululemon blog! It is such a great story ( : Any marathons planned for the near future? Hopefully I will see you at the BCR gym again soon!

Comment by Paige — April 23, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

This sounds like such a great experience. I’m not a runner it’s cool learning about events like these that combine travelling with a sport (and achieving a goal to bat!)

Comment by Alana — April 23, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

What a picture you painted! Actually made me want to run a destination marathon…something I never thought I would say. Quite comfortable at the 13.1 marker. Good visuals.

Comment by Lauren Clapperton — April 23, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

Thanks guys – it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience! PAIGE – I have been going to Hangar 18 in Upland lately SPORT CLIMBING, and I loooove it! I’ll try to come out to BCR sometime soon – I’ll email you :)

Comment by Abbie — April 23, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

This post made me want to buy a plane ticket to Greece! Thank you so much for the inspiration. I really felt like I was right there along with you while reading this post!

Comment by Carolyn — April 24, 2009 @ 10:07 am

what better place to run a marathon than Greece! Sounds like an amazing experience

Comment by nichole — January 4, 2012 @ 10:02 am

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