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Abundant Hungarian Success at the 37th ‘Spartathlon’

Ábrahám Vass 2019.09.30.

Hungarian runners ruled the 37th edition of historic ultra-distance race ‘Spartathlon,’ held this weekend in Greece, as Tamás Bódis triumphed as overall winner, while Zsuzsanna Maráz defended her title among women.

Starting from the Acropolis in Athens and finishing at the statue of ancient Spartan King Leonidas in the center of Sparta in southern Greece, Tamás Bódis -in his second-ever ‘Spartathlon’- emerged winner, needing a mere 23 hours, 28 mins and 37 seconds to complete the 246 km. In addition, he was followed by another Hungarian runner, Zoltán Csécsei, while Balázs Simonyi came in fifth. As a matter of fact, legendary ultra-runner János Bogár was the last Hungarian man to win the historic ultra-distance race, back in 1991.

What is more, reigning champion Zsuzsanna Maráz has managed to defend her title as she came in first among women and eighth overall with a time of 27 hours, 16 minutes and 26 seconds.

‘Spartathlon’ covers the distance from Athens to Sparta, reviving the footsteps of Pheidippides, an ancient Athenian long-distance runner, who in 490 BC before the battle of Marathon, was sent to Sparta to seek help in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. According to ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Pheidippides arrived in Sparta the day after his departure from Athens.

The modern marathon began in 1982 when British RAF Wing Commander John Foden and his friends tested Greek historian Herodotus’ story and tried to finish the distance in 36 hours. From 1984, the International Association “Spartathlon” was founded, which since then has continuously organized the race each September.