Our friends on the Epic Man Greek Adventure leave the Greek Isles behind, and head to Athens to tackle the next challenge — The Marathon.
We’d closed out our time on the islands and it was time to head back to Athens and face the main reason we came to Greece — to re-trace the steps of Phiedeppides and run THE original Marathon to Athens course.
First we took time to check out the city, grab dinner, try a few local beers, and stock up on food for the next day’s breakfast.
We woke up and began to prepared ourselves to tackle another 26.2 miles. The ‘official’ marathon event only happens once a year. The streets are closed and water stations and support cars are at the ready. We however, were set to run the same course on our own. Based on traffic, timing, and gut, we decided it was best to start our adventure at Athens Olympic Stadium in busy, hectic Athens and finish in the more rural town of Marathon.
We began the run with memorized directions on how to get out of the city of Athens and head toward Marathon on the exact route. With Mike and Nate set to meet us in 8 miles in the support car to fuel us up on food and water, it was a good thing we didn’t get lost in the 80 degree heat. The first 5 miles of the course was through Athens; red lights, speeding scooters, Greek authorities in riot gear, and the ever present ‘wild’ dogs.
Seven miles into our marathon, the scene changes. The signs were in Greek, and the people were no longer as enthusiastic to speak English. For about 9 miles of the course, we were running on the shoulder of a highway. Conditions were not ideal, and probably not legal.
Without the hectic distractions of Athens, we were better able to hear our thoughts. How cool is it to run the original Marathon course in Greece? Thousands of years after Pheidippides’ legendary journey, millions of runners worldwide are inspired to reenact it — whether or not they (we) realize it, that is an incredible tribute.
After finishing the marathon we headed back to the hostel and found ourselves at the highest point in Athens, in the shadow of the Acropolis, and watching the sunset with hundreds of other people from all over the world. We were there for a reason. We had accomplished our goals. It was time to celebrate. #alwaysbeepic