Vist 2021 gange, downloadet 16 gange
tæt på Levídhion, Peloponnese (Greece)
0,0k at 850m - Levidi, main square. The race is not a significant one in Greece and not more than 100 runners take part every year. This makes it fairly easy for controlling it.
First few kilometers are downhill with quite a grade that is not necessarly comfortable at all times. I started the race very carefully, trying not to run below 5:00/km pace, which in case of descent was actually forcing me to brake. Also, I was pretty surprized with other runners starting very strong with paces way below 4:30/km!!! Which for me would be a marathon pace with completely flat route and not 60km+ with 1000m+ elevation gain in full sun... I started to worry that maybe I came to a full pro race that everybody runs like a wind...
7,2k at 640m - First aid station at Kefalovrysi. After initial descent, the route started to get flat and I actually was happy about it. Now I could easily maintain my 5:00/km pace without significant effort and without braking :-D Also most of the fast starters began to settle on 4:50-5:00/km pace and I finally stopped being surpassed. I didnt bother too much at first station as I had water with me and just stopped for few chips and cup of coke.
Next kilometers continued to be flat and only last 2km before Kandila were uphills with ~3-5% grade. I ran them very slow trying not to work with my legs at all!
12,9k at 780 - Second aid station at Kandila. Bigger village on the way and second aid station. At this point of the race I was probably in low 20s or at best high teens possition wise. I didnt care too much but it's just what everybody seemed to inform me about constantly. I took my time eating lots of potato chips and drinking at least 2 cups of coke and another 2 with isotonics. I think I actually overdid it... My friend who was helping me with the race filled my bottle with water and eletrolits and I was ready to start the biggest climb of the race. Overall I spent not more than 3min there, but still i was passed by at least 4-5 runners who didnt bother to spent more than 30sec at the station - it seemed strange for me, but as were a lot of things from the start. I just assumed I am the strange one since it was first such a distance for me.
The climb started with ~7% steady grade with asphalt road. Not rushing at all I continued to pass back few runners that overtook me at the station and then few others as well. The ascent went great for me! I did it much faster than I planned, I passed at least 10-12 runners overall and I did feel fatigue at all. It could be that I managed to advance to sthg like low teens possition.
20,0k at 1220m - End of climb and small water station. What sucked was that I actually did not know that there will be water station up here and I carried extra 500ml bottle all the way :-/ Obviously if I knew, I wouldnt... Anyway, since I did, I didnt stop at all and started my descent to Skotini with dirt road. At first the grade and the road were ok - quite comfortable and in good shape. But after crossing asphalt road for a moment at 24.5km, route entered small path full of stones and grass and not so much vissible. I was wearing classic asphalt road shoes so I decided to run this section very carefully and not trying to rush anything.
27,0k at 680m - Third aid station at Skotini. Just before the village, route exited the path and followed asphalt and concrete roads to the station. Another fair stop here with lots of potato chips, crackers and pure salt (all this to avoid any 'water' problems) + of course lots of coke! Again my friend fixed bottle for me and I was ready to go.
First 2km were on asphalt road with descent, then onto dirt road with short flat section, to finally hit big climb with much worse dirt road full of rocks and zero shadow. This is where I started to overtake few runners again (seems like I was doing exeptionaly well on climbs).
33,5k at 790m - Church of St Ana, small water station. It was not yet end of the climb but not much was left. I stopped for a fast bottle refill, not much more.
Out of the station pretty flat section began on since wide dirt road. At 35th km, the route from last year was altered and instead of starting to descent, new route continued flat/mild uphill. Descent did not start until 37th km and when it started, it was quite demanding! Pretty steep and full of rocks - nothing pleasant for tired legs. It was actually here when I started to feel first signs of significant fatigue. Nothing I was surprized about as I was expecting sthg like this close to marathon distance... Lowering the pace a bit I managed to get to the village Platani for next aid station.
40,7k at 485m - Fourth aid station at Platani. Just before reaching the village, I overtook another two runners! And as before they informed me everytime about my currnet possition. What was surprizing was that the second runner claimed I am now 6th! Which at first I just discarded as all previous times, but then it seemed incorrect and I just quickly replied "no way".
At the station itself things went pretty standard: lots of potato chips, coke and isotonics, bottle refill and ~3min rest. I remember mentioning to my friend that I am still ok, I feel first real signs of fatigue and that "the race starts now" :-P I was to be prooved very much on the money later...
Leaving Platani route went with asphalt road in direction to Nemea and first 5km were pure downhill, mostly with comfortable grade but it had 2-3 sections where tired quads got some pounding. And it was just before Aidonia aid station, when my psycology started to drop following increasing fatigue...
47,6k at 315m - Fifth aid station in Aidonia. Probably the most welcome in the race so far! I needed food, water, energy, salt and sugar and 2-3min of stop! I spoke with my friend a bit about how I feel and that things dont look good and he just replied me that I really do look much better than anyone behind me (so no worries that some one will catch me) and actually also much better than most the guys in front of me (so I should expect to catch some one myself!). Remembering update from last overtaken runner before Platani, I was 6th.
I started from Aidonia quite recharged, but continueos flat straight asphalt with increasing heat and constant head wind, very fast brought my psycology back to low levels. There was no one behind nor in front of me for as far as I could see! I just missed some reference point and fatigue started to get worse and worse. My planned 5:15/km pace for this section became a myth and I was struggling to keep decent 5:45/km. All this until just 2km before Nemea when I finally spotted runner in front of me (yeah!!!) and started to feel better seeing I was catching on him :-D About 500m before the station I finally overtook him (mainly because he was keeping run/walk routine). Then standard update from him that I am now 4th!? (WTF!? 4th? where is 5th guy that I never passed?)
55,9k at 315m - Sixth aid station in Nemea. Another more-than-welcome station. I just managed to eat few potato chips and drunk 2-3cups of coke. My friend refilled my bottle and I was ready to go. I didnt want to spend too much time as I was affraid of not being able to start running again and it was 'only' 6km to go. Just before leaving everybody told me that I was the only guy that made it running to the station so most probably I should be able to ovetake 3rd and 2nd guy! At this point, considering that it would mean podium finish, it actually started to matter for me and it boosted my psycology a bit. This + so few kilometers left to go, gave me huge energy injection and I left 'flying' :-P
I passed 3rd guy just after maybe 800m from the station! I couldnt believe how tired he was! He was berly walking! (he finally finished 6th! being overpassed by few runners 20min behind him at this point!)
I spotted 2nd guy just at the exit of the town on last demanding but short climb. It was obvious I woll catch him easily. He tried to take on the fight when he first saw me, but then quickly realize that it's just impossible. After securing 2nd possition (and without any chances for 1st since 1st guy already finished when I was 3km away from Arx Nemea), I felt great to finish with full speed running pace :-D I managed sthg like 4:50/km on last 2km! Which felt like sprint after 60km :-D
61,6k at 350m - Arx Nemea archeological site, finish. Finished with style :-P and since piruet jump! Time 5:44! Awesome! About 25-30min faster that I planned and of course many many possitions better that I would ever thought :-D