«Spartathlon» is a historic ultra-distance foot race that takes place in September of every year in Greece. It is one of the most difficult and satisfying ultra-distance races in the world because of its unique history and background. The battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., one of the most famous battles in world history, constituted a landmark and a starting point in the history of civilization. The triumph of the genius of Miltiades and the self-denial of his soldiers made the hordes of Persians flee and rescued Athens and Hellenism from the utmost danger of subjugation to the barbarian invaders. The effects of the victory at Marathon continue to influence the present.
Because of this victory, Athens was able to achieve a great deal and bequeath the benefits of its knowledge, arts and virtue to mankind. Two and a half thousand years after that historical battle, a sports event, inseparably related to it, was born in Greece. The «Spartathlon» revives 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 the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Pheidippides arrived in Sparta the day after his departure from Athens.
All the runners are attracted to the uniqueness and difficulty of the race as well as the modesty and respect of the athletic ideals imposed by a race known as «mythic»! In addition, beyond its athletic aspect, «Spartathlon» has become a powerful tribute from which real messages of friendship and peace can be sent to the peoples of the earth without political or racial discrimination.
Described as the world's most grueling race, the Spartathlon runs over rough tracks and muddy paths, crosses vineyards and olive groves, climbs steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, takes the runners on the 1,200 meter ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night.
The goal of all participants is to cover the course within the 36-hour time limit. Those who succeed in reaching Sparta have trouble finding words to describe their feelings. «Spartathlon» has to be lived through. It is a very personal experience in which the athletes dream about participating.