Greek runner Zisimopoulos wins 39th Spartathlon

ATHENS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) – Greek runner Fotis Zisimopoulos on Saturday won the 39th Spartathlon, the ultra-marathon from Athens to Sparta in southern Greece.

Zisimopoulos, 38, completed the 246 kilometers in 21 hours, 57 minutes and 20 seconds, followed by Czech runner Radek Brunner, 46, in 11:17:30, and Milan Sumny, 44, in 23:52 min 57 s.

Diana Dzaviza, 34, a Latvian athlete living in Austria, won the women’s race in 25:23:59.

The race started at the foot of Acropolis Hill on Friday morning with 334 athletes from 46 countries and regions participating this year, chairman of the board of directors of the international “SPARTATHLON” association, Evangelos Polymeris, told Xinhua.

According to statistics, around a third of participants complete the course each year to receive an olive wreath and a sip of water from the nearby Evrotas River.

They must reach the finish within 36 hours, following in the footsteps of the ancient Greek soldier-messenger Pheidippides who in 490 BC. days.

The competition began after several British Royal Air Force officers tested the course in 1982.

Last year, for the first time in its history, Spartathlon, which is held under the auspices of the Greek Ministries of Tourism and National Defense, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year it resumed under strict security measures.

Veteran Greek rider Yiannis Kouros, who won the first edition of the Spartathlon, still holds the time record at 20:25:00.

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