Race Report 2015: Aykut Celikbas

Race Report 2015: Aykut Celikbas

You see, last year I ran Spartathlon for the first time and finished in 33:47. My first goal was to finish and then to go below under 34 hours, if possible. So, it seems like everything went according to plan, right? Actually, the numbers don't tell the whole story.


As I mentioned in last year's race report, everything started to go south after 80K. The last 24 hours were a tremendous struggle.
I was constantly on the ropes, taking punches and getting knocked down. All I could do was to get up again and again. In the end, I guess the race got tired of beating me and it just let me finish.

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Described as the world's most grueling race, the Spartathlon runs over rough tracks and muddy paths (often it rains during the race), crosses vineyards and olive groves, climbs steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, takes the runners on the 1,200 meter ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night.
This is the mountain, covered with rocks and bushes, on which it is said Pheidippides met the god Pan.

Spartathlon is the event that brings this deed to attention today by drawing a legend out of the depths of history. The idea for its creation is belongs to John Foden, a British RAF Wing Commander. As a lover of Greece and student of ancient Greek history, Foden stopped his reading of Herodotus' narration regarding Pheidippides, puzzled and wondering if a modern man could cover the distance from Athens to Sparta, i.e. 250 kms, within 36 hours.

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