Race Report 2015: Michael Botes
While waiting in the queue I scanned each of the nine people in front of me – knowing that less than half of us will reach the finish line and the same applied to the rest of the crowded room of participants.
How do I know this? Thirty two years of history has proven that on average only 41% of participants starting the race will reach the finish line.
I measure the physique of each of my “opponents”. Their bodies are lean with the definition of muscle clearly visible and a hungry look in their eyes. I suppose this is exactly what athletes look like after months of intense training. Bodies and minds are well prepared but, as in my own mind, I am sure they, too, are wondering in which half of the field they will be – finisher or non-finisher.
We are at the Finix Hotel in Glyfada, Athens for the registration of the 33rd Spartathlon, a 246km foot race with a rich history dating back almost 2500 years - following in the footsteps of Pheidippides. Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger, was sent to Sparta in 490 BC by his commanding officers to ask assistance from the Spartans against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Greek historian, Herodotus words were: “On the occasion of which we speak when
Pheidippides was sent by the Athenian Generals and according to his own account, saw Pan on his journey. He reached Sparta on the very next day after quitting the City of Athens.”