Hungarian ultrarunner Zsuzsanna Maráz won the women’s race of the 36th Spartathlon, one of the most challenging long-distance races, and ranked 17th in the general division; Tamás Bódis finished the race 4th overall.
Maráz ran the 246 kilometers – starting from the Acropolis in Athens and finishing at the statue of ancient Spartan King Leonidas in the center of Sparta in southern Greece – in 27:4:28. Last year, Maráz placed second in the women’s race. Japanese Yoshihiko Ishikawa came in first for the men, finishing the run in under 23 hours.
The aim of the race is to reach Sparta within a 36-hour time period, following in the footsteps of the ancient Greek soldier Pheidippides. Ahead of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, Pheidippides was sent from Athens to Sparta to request support and finished the journey within two days on foot.
Greek veteran runner Yiannis Kouros, who won the first Spartathlon, still holds the record time at 20:25:00. Finishers are awarded an olive wreath and a sip of water from the nearby Evrotas river. 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.
This year’s Spartathlon took place between September 28-29 and attracted 381 runners from 51 countries and regions. The race started at the foot of the Acropolis hill on Friday morning and was conducted in adverse weather conditions this week as a cold front with strong winds and storms swept across the country. According to statistics, only a third of the participants are able to complete the race every year due to weather conditions, rough tracks, muddy paths and the 1,200-meter ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio.