Today I successfully completed the 31st Athens Classic Marathon, my 8th in total.
- Weather was very good, 22-24C and partly cloudy. Perfect running conditions.
- Great atmosphere, runners in amazing spirits and attitude.
- Very good organisation as always
- Best crowd a runner could hope for! Loud, warm and happy. Lots of kids, live music and generally great motivation.
I did not achieve my ultimate goal of under 4 hours but still managed to pull a course record so I guess it was a good day.
My strategy seemed to work well till the 33rd K. I started off slow and by the half marathon mark I was 3 seconds faster than my 5:40 target pace. I knew I would slow down for the next 10 K of steep uphills and so I did. Reached the top with a pace of 5:47. I felt good so I pushed hard to gain back those 7 presious seconds for the next 11k. It was either a course record or just another marathon. Unfortunately on the 33 rd k my legs gave up on me and got seriously cramped up. Both legs were stiff like logs. I stopped several times at the first aid stations and 6mins pace was my limit. It was a shame since I felt good without being able to run as fast as I needed so I crossed the finish line at 4:11:28.
The pain list:
- slightly soar legs, I’m sure tomorrow it will be much worse.
- aching shoulders – neck area
- 3 toe nails
- mild sunstroke
Got load of support from friends and family, even all the way from Australia.
The best part of this race is entering the Kalimarmaro – Panathinaiko Stadium and this year it was twice as good. I ran the last 300m hand in hand with my 5yr old daughter which gave me the extra boost needed.
As I said it was a great party atmosphere and marathoners don’t miss a chance to dress up. As always there were more than a few Greek warriors but batman and a guy in a suit along with matching shoes really stood out from the crowd.
Yego Hillary Kipkogei from Kenya won the race with a time of 2:13.59. Not a record but still damn fast!
Really enjoyed it this year and looking forward to the next.