published 5.06.2016

Let the Race Begin!

Countdown to the Olympus Marathon

If you’re training for the Olympus Marathon, it’s crunch time! In a month you’ll be racing along a trail that takes you to the peak of peaks in Greece. So, we took a moment to look at the trail and see what it’s like to run among the clouds. 

Olympus Now Marathon Trail

The trail around Stephani peak for the Olympus Marathon

The race follows the sacred route that ancient Greeks took to Olympus in an annual honoring of Zeus thousands of years ago. Runners take their mark at sunrise in the city of Dion, the same historic city that was home to the artifacts on display in our exhibition Gods and Mortals at Olympus. Starting at almost zero altitude, just below Zeus’ throne, they make their way to the top of the highest peak of the mountain during the first half of the race, climbing about 2,900m in elevation. Then, there’s the ever-challenging downhill, dipping between pine and beech forests and tracing the Valley of the Enipeas River before reaching the finish line in Litochoro town.

To get a sense of what it’s like to run on the trail, check out this video for the 2016 Olympus Marathon teaser 

In addition to the main event, the Olympus Marathon organizes activities and races throughout the weekend, including a 10km open mountain running race and a kids run. Last year, over 400 children participated in the miniature races with the Olympus Kids & Olympus Junior events!

As Emilio Comici wrote of the highest point of Mt. Olympus, Mytikas: “On the mountains we feel the joy of life, the emotion of being good and the relief of forgetting earthly things; all this because we are closer to the sky.” There’s a special name for a race, like the Olympus Marathon, that takes you to where the earth meets the sky; it’s skyrunning. We’re excited to follow the progress of Mt. Olympus’ skyrunners like Stevie Kremer, who’s an American elementary school teacher and world champion marathoner. Good luck out (and up) there! We’re sure this year’s marathoners will relate to Comici’s depiction of the feelings of relief and joy when they cross the finish line on June 26th.

Thanks to the Olympus Marathon for their video and picture, and for making these events possible! And thank you to the Greek Federation of Climbing and Mountaineering for the Emilio Comici quote, as featured in the book Olympus 100 Years