Récit de la course : Spartathlon 2013, par jerome_I

L'auteur : jerome_I

La course : Spartathlon

Date : 26/9/2013

Lieu : Athènes (Grèce)

Affichage : 950 vues

Distance : 142km

Matos : 2 pairs Mizuno wave ridder
short, cap, GCH tshirt, hand water bottle 20cl, water belt, camera, phone, gels + proteine bars, paper bags with salt

Objectif : Terminer

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I have a dream...

I have a dream...

I am an ultra runner, and the Sparthatlon is the ultimate race, any ultra marathon runner would like to run and finish. The full spirit of our sport is in this race. The concept is simple, far away from the "sport business"... Running on the footsteps of Pheidippides, the famous Athenian messenger seeking help in Sparta, 490 BC.

British RAF Commander John Foden, tried this route in 1982. He tried with 4 other officer tested the story (reaching Sparta from Athene in 36 hours). In 1983 the race was born. See the full story.

There is no reward for the winner, every "finisher" will recieve according to the ancient ritual a laurel wreath and a cup of water from young girls, after touching the foot of Pheidippides statue.


In January I try to get registered. At the beginning of February I get the confirmation by the organizer that I am registered. I am so happy, I will live my dream in September. I have been training regularly. My knee gave me some problems, but I kept training, mixing speed, long runs, increasing the weekly mileage. Thanks to my training friends, I even increased few jogs to 47km, 63km and even 100km. My fitness level is good in September and I am ready to take part in this adventure.

I arrive in Athene on the Wednesday 25th, 2 days before the race. The organizer is taking care of everything: hotel, food, bus, aid station along the race, for 6 days. The first 2 days are a good way to meet the other runners. i am in the hotel with the French delegation, and it is nice to exchange with somevery experianced runners. I prepare my drop bags. One every 6 hours roughly:

On the Friday morning, we have a very early start. The race will start at 7am, but we need to be in the bus at 5am. Ready for a long day... Or 2 long days!

I am in Athene, but seems still being in a dream, and about to wake up in a moment... But on the next moment, I am in the starting line in the Acropolis:


After the race is a long jog. The start is full of emotions for me. I am with another 320 runners. Athene is already busy and the race is increasing the traffic jam for the commuters. The race continue in a constant progression, under a strong sun to Corinth:

In many villages, the children are giving us some very good support. They give "5" and cheerup loudly. It give us some great help:

The arrival in Corinth is not the best. It is very warm, the sun is high in the sky, and the legs start to be heavy. Then the strong smell from Corinth's refineries.


Then we arrive at the corinth canal, and the famous aid station at km 81:

I arrive there at 15h40' after 8h40' for 80km. I have 50' advance on the time limit:

Check Point 22, 80 km: 132° 15:39:26

The aid station is too busy and I just fillup my bottle before starting again. After nearly 9hours, "lonely" with my thoughts, it is difficult to see so many people. Then we are in the country side, and the temperature is dropping slowly.

I will see many times Juan and Laurence. Then I get changed just before the night at 7pm, taking my high visibility vest and my torch. The night arrives very fast and at 7.30 it is completelly dark. Arriving at km 120 at check point 35, I will stop for diner (rice salad) and a massage (my back is sore, and my legs as well) The massage will ease my back but my abductor are so painful. After half an hour break, let's start again. 

Check Point 35, 123,3 km: 90° 21:37:00

I start from Nemea with Gilles Pallaruelo, his son Angel and Jean-Pierre Richard. We will continue for another hour close but not really together. On the next hill, my sore abductor, and heavy legs are giving further issues. The back of my leg start to be very sore. It is extactly at the top of the gastrocnemius. My speed is slow, but I have still one hour advance on the time limit. I think that I miss another 110 km to the finish...

I am not ready to suffer for another 110km (maybe 20 hours!). I sit down at the next station and the crew told me to go to the next one in the next village as it is a bigger station. I am so slow in this section going downhill, that I decide to stop there. I get many messages from friends following on the internet from Ireland, France or Italy, but I won't destroy my body to finish this race.

After 18 hours, I stop at km 140...

... I have a dream

PS: congrats to the finishers, DNF, crew, organisers

Was I dreaming? I remember as well other good moments... I was really in Athene?

3 commentaires

Commentaire de Goldenick posté le 26-01-2014 à 08:07:10

Merci pour ton récit qui n'a pas du être facile à écrire à cause de l'échec.
J'ai souffert de ne pas avoir pu t'aider pendant cette course, et j'ai été très déçu pour toi car tu t'étais très bien préparé.
Maintenant je sais qu'un jour tu y retourneras et que tu embrasseras ces pieds!
Et qu'on viendra te faire le TIFO

Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 26-01-2014 à 10:43:15

Merci Nico. Il est important d'écrire un récit des courses "DNF". Oui pas facil, mais je ne suis pas trop décu de ne pas avoir terminé cette course, car j'ai arreté sur un problème physique. A Noel mon Ostéo m'a confirmé que le mollet était encore un peu rigide à cet endroit. J'y retournerai oui, mais pas cette année. Cool pour le tifo :-)

Commentaire de PhilKiKou posté le 26-01-2014 à 12:09:03

Une course chargée d'histoire.. et qui a su rester authentique... Un sacré défi !!
Surement difficile à se résoudre à un abandon... mais plus sage pour ne pas aggraver une blessure .. Apprendre de ses "échecs" pour mieux repartir... Merci pour ce récit

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