Saturday, January 10, 2015

Athens Marathon 2014

The Athens Marathon

     I had the great privilege of running the Athens Marathon in November 2014 with many wonderful friends, both running and spectating. I have been overwhelmed by emotion at t he end of many marathons, but this is the only one so far where I have cried at the start. Being there was so spectacular!!!!!

Despite the thousands of people that swarmed the expo, I managed to spot one of my favorite Marathon Maniacs, Lichu Sloan. Lichu is an inspiration in so many ways!! Athens was her 170th marathon and she went on to run the Istanbul marathon the next weekend.

       The start of the race was so exciting. The swarms of people, the Olympic flame burning, and beautiful, clear sky promised a wonderful experience.

       People were hiking up and getting pictures with the Olympic flame!!!

       Every race start is nuts and this was no exception. Trying to get my bag to the transport van was one of the bigger challenges of the day! 

I ran into a fantastic number of Maniacs. It was such great fun!!!

       All along the race route people were handing olive sprigs to the runners. I took one early on and managed to finish with 2 out of my 3 olives, LOL. You can see one just below the white of the hat band. 

        When we stopped to get pictures with the statue, a Greek yelled at us, something about "no photos, MARATHON!!!" I guess he hasn't heard of Maniacs yet, LOL. 

I couldn't resist stopping for this shot. 

         I can't imagine running pushing a baby in a stroller, let alone a nearly grown child! These runners are amazing!!

       I don't think I've run a marathon yet where there weren't at least a few people in costume. Athens did not dissapoint. 

This sweet priest was so patient with me! My phone was not cooperating at all for pictures, but he just kept smiling again and again :-) 

       There is great signage alone the entire route. These aren't the usual temporary distance signs, these are permanent signs that are up all year long. 

       Athens is well known for its 13 mile uphill slog. I trained for it by doing most of my mileage on either a 4% incline on the treadmill or on a nearby hill with a nice 2% grade that matched the average for Athens. Thanks to that preparation, it wasn't bad. Not that I wasn't very happy for my walking intervals, but other than a couple of short bits, (up from an underpass, etc.) I was never forced to walk by the angel of incline. It definitely added 10-15 minutes to my finish time, but considering how much time I spent stopped for pictures, it didn't matter much. 

       Nothing beats a great camera man on the side lines! Big thanks to my parents for waiting for me in the sun to get a perfect race shot. 

       Coming into the stadium is so incredible! So much history, so much emotion, and so much cheering!

       Yes! I stopped for  a selfie right before the finish, LOL. After all the time I had spent taking pictures, another minute wasn't going to matter. 
       My good friend Elizabeth and her Husband Antonis were waiting for me at the finish too! Elizabeth assure me next year she will be IN the marathon instead of watching it. 

This will definitely remain one of my favorite medals and memories.

Walking around town that night was so cool. Nothing like the acropolis lit up on a clear night! 

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