22 August 2014

Mount Olympus Marathon (Photo Report)

Our life has been a whirlwind since we returned from Greece in early July. Annie accepted a job at the University of Utah, and we packed up everything we own and moved to Salt Lake City on July 29th. Things have finally settled down enough for me to post some photos from the Mount Olympus Marathon in Greece.

It was an amazing race and near the top of the list of the most difficult mile-for-mile races I've ever done. Run to the top (just below the summit) of Greece's highest mountain, and then run down. And throw in some gnarly, technical, high-mountain rock-trail.

Loved the race, loved the atmosphere, loved the mountain. Didn't love that at a couple of the aid stations I wasn't allowed any coke or sports drink because I wasn't carrying my own cup. The website made no mention that this was a cupless race and even went as far as saying specifically that there were absolutely no gear requirements. Some aid station volunteers let me borrow their own cup or poured sports drink into my cupped hands; so many thanks to them!  Anyway, I had a pretty bad bonk around mile 22 after two consecutive aid stations wouldn't give me anything to drink besides water for my hydration pack. In retrospect, I should have asked to put sports drink in my hydration pack instead of water when I was really, really needing it...but I wasn't thinking that clearly. Ugh. Lesson learned. The important thing is that I finished, and then we went on to have a wonderful vacation in Greece.

Deep into my bonk.

(photo from Mount Olympus Race Facebook page)

23 June 2014

Mount Olympus Marathon (Greece) Pre-Race Info

General Race Info
Olympus Marathon Website
Sunday, June 29th
6am local time (8pm pacific on Saturday; 11pm eastern on Saturday)

I'm bib #625. I'm not sure if they'll be posting live updates on this page or not, but it kinda looks like they might. They have a place to post my time for Checkpoint (CP) 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and the finish. So if you check there on race day then you might be able to track my progress. Even if they aren't posting live updates, I'm pretty sure that's the page to go to for my official results.  Overall results should be posted here.

It's a simple idea: start near the ocean, run to the top of the ancient Greek mountain, then run back down. The start point is only 10 feet above sea level, and the high point is over 9,000 feet up. All of that in only 27 miles...so there will be a bit of climbing in that ~13-mile ascent.

Here's a map of what the course looks like and where the twelve checkpoints are and their altitude.

Here's a short video teaser for this year's race.

Race Goals
  1. Enjoy the experience and finish. I have a DNF and DNS at my last two international races, so finishing (injury-free) is my top priority. I'll be carrying a camera with me, so hopefully I can get some good shots to document the course.
  2. Run a smart race. I'm going to 'take it easy' for the climb, then hope that my legs aren't too trashed to be able to bomb a bunch of the descent.
  3. Finish under 6 hours. I feel like I'm just grabbing this number out of the dark since I haven't seen the terrain yet, but based on the finishing times of previous winners (4:30-5:00 hrs), I think 6 hours is realistic. I did Pikes Peak Marathon in 5:51, and this course profile is very similar (less altitude, but more climbing). The course terrain is the big wildcard since I haven't seen any of the course yet. Hopefully I'll have a day or two to explore it before Sunday (we're getting to Greece on Thursday).
Should be a blast. We'll be in Greece for another 10 days or so after the race, so it probably won't be until I get back that I'll get a race report posted.