Monday, 5 August 2013

Western States Endurance Run 2013, USA : 100 Miles

It has now been more than 1 month since I crossed the finish line at the WSER and I finally get around to post this long outstanding entry to my Blog. This long delay was caused by an unexpected chain of events which had happened since our return from the USA. While we were still in an euphoric and excited mood from our amazing experience, we were informed by our landlord that he will not be extending our tenancy agreement when it expires end of August as he will be moving back to the property which we have called home for the last 4 years.

After having lived in a unique multi-level penthouse tucked in a beautiful countryside with a lake and surrounding thick leafy woods as a view from our little balcony, we were totally devastated to have to leave! We found ourselves to be in an unenviable position of having to browse through hundreds of houses on the property websites and poking our noses into people's homes in our search for a new nest to base ourselves. We went through moments of frustration and disappointment as we simply could not find any place close to our requirements and standards which we are looking for.

View from our balcony
So, the last 5 weeks have been a nightmare, so to speak, because in between squeezing whatever few free hours I have to view some potential properties, I had to work different shifts every single day. Hence, the reason for my delay in posting this entry, not to mention the non-existence of my training!!        

Anyway, in this post, I will try to pen down all the emotions I have felt (and am still feeling) and attempt to put in words all the factors which have made my American experience into such a unique one, with plenty of photos, despite the fact that in this race, my wife and ‘’personal photographer’’ was not able to follow me entirely at the event due to logistic difficulties.


We landed in SF after a long flight from Manchester via Amsterdam. As soon as we have left our luggage at the hotel, we started exploring all the highlights of the city, despite the killing effect of jet lag on us. It was surprisingly windy and felt like the beginning of spring with a maximum temperature of 22°C. However, the blue sky and sunshine were enticing enough for us and we spent the few precious hours we had on our first day climbing up and down the many hills.

Union Square, SF

Downtown SF
We have never really liked big cities but SF was completely different from the other cities we have visited. We find that even in the most central parts of the city, we were never stuck in a traffic jam and were always taken by surprise with rows of beautiful and leafy quiet living quarters (after each treacherous uphill climb) with breathtaking views towards the ocean. The unique, cosy Victorian houses which perched precariously from the steep hills were such a delightful sight to behold!

On our second day in SF, we collected our rented Ford ‘’Escape’’ 4WD and to escape to the Yosemite National Park. However, we were magnetised to spend a few more hours in the city and decided to drive across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to view her from a different angle.

After having some pictures taken, I could not resist the urge to run around the area and started to do so along the many footpaths I encountered there. A vast net of well marked trails with gorgeous views to the ocean took me away for about 2 hours, without me realising how fast time had flown.

We started our night drive to Yosemite a little after 18:00 and reached our lodge a little after 4 hours. Our lodge was located just a few miles outside the entrance of the National Park and we were both so excited at finally being here and to have 3 whole days to explore and see all the highlights!!


FIRST DAY (running/exploring the Valley)

The drive from the lodge to Yosemite Village alone was one of the most unbelievable experiences we have gone through! As soon as we passed a tunnel, we came face-to-face with an unbelievably breathtaking view of the Valley, stretching for a whole 13 km and surrounded by high granite summits such as Half Dome and El Capitan.

The Valley below
I have been dreaming for more than 20 years for this encounter! Since my student days and when I was making my first steps up the Italian Alps, I have been hoping to be blessed enough to visit this part of the world. And here I am finally, not only taking in this magnificent beauty on my own, but with my wife by my side, which makes the whole experience much more memorable.

The magnificent El Capitan

On this first day, I went for a 2-hour run, exploring the whole valley and getting orientated with the area. I ran through Mirror Lake, around El Capitan and Yosemite Falls, which were some of the highlights of this unbelievable run. What a total bliss!!  We had perfect weather condition and there were no big crowds blocking my paths when I ran, thus giving me this feeling of solitude which I have always been looking for when I am on the mountains.

Mirror Lake

SECOND DAY (Hiking Panorama Trail)

On our second day, I had planned an ambitious itinerary to hike the Panorama Trail with my wife, Hannis. This trail is supposed to be one of the most spectacular hikes of the Valley, offering hikers some unforgettable views of the Half Dome from various directions. We had to take a bus from the Village to the Glacier Point to start the hike. After having some beautiful photos taken, Hannis started feeling sick and throwing up. She was clearly not in the best condition to tackle the demanding hike of 16km on mountains. Unfortunately, I underestimated her conditions and encouraged her to start, despite her feeling so unwell.

Us before the start of the trail
Beginning of the trail

 Half Dome

For the first 2 hours, she managed well to cope with the ups and downs of the paths, but soon after, she was so exhausted and sick that she was almost ready to collapse!!

Amazing views as we hiked

Hannis putting on a brave face

What a VIEW!!

I asked her to have some rest under a tree to try to get some sleep, which she did, for about 30 minutes. I was praying hard that she will recover because if she did not, I might have to call for the Rescue Unit to get her down to the Valley again, as we were in the middle of nowhere and still a distance away from the nearest flat terrain.

Hannis sleeping under a tree

Thank God she woke up feeling a little bit better. She insisted that she was fine and well enough to continue and she managed to cover another 1 hour of hike before we reached the Nevada Falls. We made another stop for her to eat/drink and sleep, while I walked around taking some photographs and admiring the wonder of nature with the spectacular falls and the amazing mountains surrounding it.

Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls

The next 2 hours of the hike was more difficult for Hannis. The terrains became more technical and with the accumulation of tiredness and weakness in her already unwell body, the whole experience became a very unpleasant one for her. However, she was determined to press on and when we finally reached the awesome Vernal Falls, we were greeted with cool wind which blew a mist on our hot and tired faces. That lifted our spirits a little and left us with some positive memories from this hike!

The technical trail leading to Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

Just about 2 km before the end of our adventure and while Hannis was asking me several times when will the hike ever end, we came face-to-face with a baby Californian bear crossing the path right in front of us! The surprising encounter and the excitement emanated from it were so great that we instantly forgot all our tiredness and unpleasantness of the hike. We were completely regenerated and pleased with our adventure, despite Hannis’ condition.

The baby bear

As soon as we arrived at Yosemite Village, we drove back to our lodge for Hannis to get some proper rest. She has had a tough day out on the mountains, but for once again, she proved how mentally strong she can be when things get tough and difficult! “It’s all a mind game”, she said, despite almost collapsing a few times!!! For that, I admire her.

THIRD DAY (Tioga Pass-Tuolumne Grove)

We decided to take it easy today and explored the area by driving. Initially, we headed to Tioga Road, a beautiful drive with stunning scenery. After an hour of drive, we arrived at the Tioga Pass (3,030m), a mountain pass with beautiful meadows and glacial lakes.

As the weather deteriorated (it has become chilly and cloudy/gloomy), we decided to divert and make a small stop at Tuolumne Grove. This is one of the very few places where you can see giant sequoias and even walk through them! Even though Mariposa Grove is the more famous location for this, Tuolumne Grove is less touristic and you can have a lovely peaceful walk without many people around. We saw a few deer grazing close to the trail and we completed our adventure in Yosemite with most of the highlights seen.


After having spent 3 days in Yosemite, it was time to start our trip to the real destination of our American adventure, Auburn and Squaw Valley, the finish and the start points respectively, of the legendary WSER. Our new friends, Dave and Adina were waiting to welcome us and to show us their beautiful area in Auburn. They were also there to support me for the next 7 days, helping me make my dream true!

It is really amazing how certain things can happen so unexpectedly in your life. Pacing a runner is a completely unknown practice in Europe. My only knowledge of it comes from some photos I have seen from American Ultra Trail Races, where I have noticed that many famous runners were running with pacers. I have never taken this ‘pacing’ thing seriously and I used to look at it as a practice which deprives the real challenge in ultra trail races (the elements of solitude, difficulty of orientation and concentration which a runner faces). However, when my friend, Timo Meyer, first asked me if I would like to be paced by him at the WSER, I found myself to be very receptive to the idea and accepted his generous offer. Unfortunately, Timo was not able to be in California at the time of the race due to family commitments. I was then left without a pacer and thought nothing about it, since I have never had one before and did not think that I will need one. However, by this time, my ever thoughtful wife was bought into the idea of how helpful a pacer is going to be for me in a 100 miler. Without my knowledge, she combed through the WSER official website and started checking out the list of names of all the people who had volunteered to pace for the participants. I suspected she ‘googled’ their names as well to check their ‘credentials’ before choosing a local guy named David Herrlin from Auburn for me.

We contacted Dave by email and asked whether he will like to pace me. We were so grateful that he said yes and agreed to pace me from the 60th mile to the Finish. We exchanged many more emails before meeting and were totally taken by surprise when Dave and his wife, Adina, extended their kind invitation for us to stay with them at their home and for me to train together with him before the race! I was so excited and so impressed by this generous American attitude, and after discussing with Hannis, we decided to spend 3 days with Dave and his family before heading to Squaw Valley for the race.

Since the very first moment we met them, Dave and Adina made us feel so comfortable and relaxed. We loved spending time at their amazing ‘’nest’’ with their own ‘’Eden Garden,’’ full of plants and fruit trees. We never stopped eating the juicy sweet plums from their garden!!

Dave, Adina, Hannis & Me

Despite the miserable weather conditions with a lot of rain and fog in the first few days when we were there, Dave was always so enthusiastic in spirits. He took me to different end-sections of the race to introduce me to the terrains. On one of the days, he drove for more than 3 hours trying to find one of the more isolated/remote sections, despite the continuous rain!!

Dave & me heading out for our training in the rain!!

When you meet people like Dave and Adina, you realise that the community of runners are made up of many wonderful and amazing people like them, people who are always ready to do anything to help others, without asking anything in return. These people are simply GENEROUS and we feel so blessed to have known them and experienced their kind hospitality.


After 3 days of peaceful sleep, wonderful company and relaxing moments in lovely Auburn, we started our last drive to our final destination, Squaw Valley. This is one of the largest ski areas in the USA, which became very popular after the 1960 Winter Olympics, which took place here.

This will be the start point of my adventure in the next few days. We had 3 days to relax in our wonderful rented apartment and my adrenaline was starting to pump faster as we drew closer to the big day. The organisers found many ways to keep us runners busy by having many pre-race talks/speeches for us to attend.

On the eve of the race, Dave and Adina arrived at Squaw Valley for the registration and to attend the briefing. The briefing was held outdoors on the lawn and we had a lovely, sunny and hot day with blue skies and horizons of surrounding mountains.

Dave & me with his Pacer Bib

The atmosphere of gathered oraganisers, competitors, pacers and supporters was making me so excited and I was looking forward so much to start running! At the end of the briefing, last year’s first ten runners (male/female) were introduced to all of us and once again, you could see the humility and simplicity of these ‘fast machines’, despite their supernatural performance on the trails!

Pre-race briefing
Gordy Ainsleigh giving us some tips!!

Top Ten Women runners
Top Ten Men runners
After the briefing, I started feeling a little stressed and suggested to Hannis for us to drive to nearby Lake Tahoe for a short trip and to visit the famous Emerald Bay. This is the most photographed and popular location of the area and true enough, after having seen the immense natural beauty of the place, I felt completely relaxed and happy again.

Emerald Bay @ Lake Tahoe
However, I found it hard to sleep that night and by the time I got up to be at the start line at 4am, I had only managed to sleep for merely 3 hours.


After 6 months of dreaming for this moment, I was finally standing at the start line with 383 other runners. Surprisingly, all my stress and fear has vanished by then and I could not wait for the start of my long awaited adventure.

According to the weather forecast, it was supposed to be the second hottest day in the 40-year of the race’s history. This fact alone lent another positive effect on my general excitement, considering how much I love HEAT!!

And off we went !! 
This was my second attempt of a 100 miler and more than anything else, I was here to prove to myself that I can do it. Of course, my deeper ambition was to do it well, with a good time of preferably below 20 hours, but I never put any pressure on myself on that and decided to take it easy with a comfortably easy pace. As a way to keep my excitement and pace under control, I decided to stay close to the pace of the first 3 women. I had estimated that their finishing time is most likely going to be between 18-20 hours and I thought that it would be a good idea to use their pace as an indicator for me to adapt my strategy during the race.

Unfortunately, my control strategy did not work because about the 10th km, I found myself to be infront of all the women runners, despite me not running very fast. I was also feeling superb. At that point, I decided to run based on how I was feeling instead of using the ‘indicator’ and ‘comparison’ methods I had initially devised for myself. At the end of a long and steep first climb, I stopped to turn back and admire Tahoe with all the beautiful colours of dawn surrounding it. The jaw-dropping sight captured my heart and filled it with a sense of happiness and appreciation of how blessed I was to be in such a wonderful place to test my abilities and limits.

After the first climb, the trail was mostly downhill or flat, which allowed me to do some fast running. This was the part of the race where I could run fast before the steep climbs of canyons and accumulation of tiredness slowed me down. I was so excited that I failed to get annoyed even when my feet got wet by having to cross the few streams which ran through the trails. While I was approaching the aid station of Duncan Canyon (37th km), I heard the welcoming music from banjos and voices of volunteers, creating a party-like atmosphere. I realised then that I had completed almost one quarter of the race and I was still feeling perfectly fine.

I continued on and was faced with the task of having to climb a gentle slope to reach Robison Flat (46th km). All the uphill effort it has taken me to arrive there was quite forgotten by the most unexpected and amazing experience I had felt during the race. I found hundreds of people standing there, clapping and cheering me on, as if I was already the winner of the race!! As soon as I stopped at the station to get some supplies, I was immediately surrounded by 3 very helpful volunteers. One was filling my bottles with water, another was helping me with the choices of what to eat and yet another was checking my weight on the scale. This procedure of checking the weight of the runners in different aid stations and controlling their levels of dehydration was another first American experience for me. I learned from one of the briefings that the organisers hope to monitor the hydration condition of the runners through their weight. Should the runner’s weight fall below certain level from their original weight, it could give an indication of dehydration and the runners can be stopped from continuing the race until they have reached the safe level again. Thanks to this alarming rule, I drank as I have never before in any of my previous races!! So, at the end of the day, this was an ingenious rule and an efficient way to ensure that the runners are able to finish the race without any significant hydration problems.

From Robinson Flat, I started a long downhill track for more than 20km, without any technical difficulties in the terrain. For me, it was like running in Paradise on Earth, as I was running at a speed which was more than the usual pace which I would have expected to run in the intense heat and after the distance I had covered so far. In a very strange way, all this part of the race, up to the 70th km, was the most pleasant running experience for me. I have never felt anything like this before in any of my previous races. I was still feeling completely fine - the surrounding mountains and forest, the unique volunteer support at each aid station, all of which had a part in boosting my energy levels and making me feel like I have only ran 40km!! Despite my feel-good energy, I reminded myself of what some of the veteran runners had said in one of the pre-race briefings, “the true race starts only from the canyons’’. With this reminder ringing loud and clear in my head, I tried my very best to control my enthusiasm and my energy resources.

As expected, my pace slowed down tremendously and my heart rate exploded to the highest level once I started climbing the first steep and long climb of the canyon. I knew that I was going to suffer at this part of the terrain due to my total lack of training on mountains. I took my first long stop (5 minutes) at the Devil’s Thumb aid station (almost in the end of the first half of the race at 77th km). My weakness was starting to show and my period of over excitement and confidence was coming to the end. While I was climbing the second killer canyon, less steep but much longer than the first, I was overtaken by almost all the elite women runners (7 of them!!) and my pace was getting slower. I tried to stay in a positive mood and to think of the moment when I will be meeting Dave, my pacer, at Foresthill (100th km). At that moment, the thought was so welcoming and I was looking forward so much to have Dave to support me mentally and set the pace ahead of me.

When I have finally finished with the cruel climb of the canyons, I felt a minimal discomfort of tightness on my left ankle. I had felt it for the last 2 hours, but it was getting progressively worse and obviously painful by then. At first, I had thought that it could be caused by the new gaiters I had bought the previous day and never tested before (!!!). I was waiting for the moment when I would arrive at Foresthill for me to remove them.

At about 2km before arriving at the Foresthill aid station, which is one of the most important aid stations due to its easy access for cars and volunteers, I saw a very impatient Dave, who has been waiting for me in the hot sun for some time.  He was full of energy and excitement, ready to give me a last push up to the finish line. The moment I came up to him, he started ‘repairing’ my mental state, by praising me and telling me that I was doing very well so far, and then, he started pacing me until we reached the aid station.

Dave, me and one of the volunteers

Here, I encountered another strong, lasting memory from the race. Hundreds of people were lined up on both sides of the road, encouraging me and cheering me on. The announcer was calling out my name and telling the spectators that I was from Greece and with that, I heard a loud roar of encouragement from all these friendly Americans!! At long last, I got to see my wife after so many hours and as usual, she started giving my feedback from her photographic memory of how the race was going statistically (including how many women runners had overtaken me, to which she received a playful tick-off from Dave, who was then put in charge of my mental-being!!).

Always very concerned for me, she was trying to find out how I was feeling, how things went for me etc. Adina was waiting for us with picnic chairs thoughtfully set up under the shade of surrounding trees. I sat down and told them that besides feeling a little tired, which was normal after having run about 100 km, the increasing pain on my left ankle was starting to make me very anxious. After having removed the gaiters (which I thought was the cause of the pain), I still did not feel any release of the tension on my ankle. Different negative thoughts began to cross my mind. I was afraid that the pain could be due to irritation of tibialis anterioris (tendinitis). However, I tried to hide the pain from them and pretended that nothing serious which could compromise my run was happening. After reassuring my wife that I was alright, I tied my shoe laces and was all set to continue with my adventure. This time, thankfully, I have Dave by my side.

Me checking the cause of my pain

Dave’s presence was a great help for me. His enthusiasm and fresh pace shook me out from the mental tiredness and negative thoughts which I had been feeling before. I was trying to focus on his pace and to enjoy the scenery, while at the same time, pushing myself to achieve my next target to cross the river before darkness approaches. Generally, I hate getting wet when I am running. I hate it even more if I have to submerge myself in cold water at the end of a very tiring day! Luckily, the path leading to the river was very nice, with only a few short climbs. Dave and I had run part of this route as our training just 4 days before the race, when we had a UNIQUE & UNFORGETTABLE experience of a very rare encounter with a MOUNTAIN LION! The legendary Mountain Lion of Sierra Nevada was crossing the path just 10 metres in front of us, and we saw it for only a precious 5 seconds before it disappeared before our eyes!! Dave was so excited (even more than me) because he said he had always wanted to see one but has never had that luck despite having lived and ran in the area for many years. As I was running this part of the route again, my mind travelled back to the mountain lion which we had seen and it put a spring in my following steps.

Approaching the river was not a difficult achievement and time flew by so fast thanks to the company of Dave. We arrived at the river just before sunset and here again, I was impressed by how well organised the race was. We were greeted by many volunteers who stood waist deep in the river and close to one another, creating a ‘human chain’ to help the runners with the crossing and to ensure their safety to get to the other side. I was very grateful for this and could not thank the volunteers enough. Although the day was hot, the water was freezing and for them to have to stand there for such a long time…I cannot imagine how uncomfortable that can be!!

We came out from the river with our shoes totally soaked and I tried to speed up the pace along the short climb up the road. By then, I was also getting ready to use my torch. The temperature was still very pleasant and I felt almost perfectly fine, apart from the deterioration of my ankle pain. However, as we continued on, I began to feel not good as I felt the combined effects of my wet feet and the transition from day to night. The pain on my ankle has by now become unbearable. Every time I tried to bend my ankle, I felt a sharp pain and this has slowed down my pace tremendously. Despite having run almost three quarter of the race, I found myself in a state where I was actually worrying whether I could finish the race!!

Due to my slowing down, more runners started to overtake me again like when I was in the canyons. I was again losing precious positions in my final classification. My stops at the aid stations were getting longer too as I tried my best to rest my pain. To start running again after having paused was almost impossible for me. The pain was getting more unbearable. At the same time, my watch run out of battery (damned Garmin 310!) and I was not able to estimate the time between aid stations and the remaining distance to the finish. I must have irritated poor Dave so much during those times, by asking him continuously to provide me with information regarding the route: (“How many km to reach the next station?” “Is there any more climb ahead?”). He proved himself to have the patience of a saint to have to deal with a very grumpy me!!

As we approached the final 10km of the race, things began to get completely out of my control. I was not able to run anymore and I was trying to keep a decent pace by walking very briskly. I was also dying to find out why I was getting this pain, which has by then started on my right ankle, but at a much less level. Dave proved himself to be an invaluable companion at that time, he was so patient and was always in a positive mood, encouraging me and reassuring me that we were very close to the end of the race.

Indeed, after a long, steep climb, we arrived at the famous aid station at Robie Point. After that, it was only 2km of descent for us to reach the stadium of Placer High School and finish the race. Dave told me that I should finish in a ‘heroic and decent way’ and by that, he meant I should run and not walk to the finish line. I totally agreed with him and with all the remaining power I can muster in me, I gritted my teeth and tried to jog despite the severe pain. As we were approaching the stadium, I somehow miraculously forgot the pain and found the energy to fly my Greek Flag proudly for another unforgettable, memorable photograph of my very first completed 100 Miler!! Hannis, Adina, and Talore (Adina’s daughter) were there, cheering us on jubilantly after having waited patiently for us (God knows for how long!). I was, once again, raising the country’s flag and totally intoxicated by emotions and happiness!

Before crossing the finish line, I lifted my eyes to check my time (for after my Garmin ran out of battery, both of us had not a single clue about our time!!). My time was 21:32’:27’’……..

Before I started this race, I had set myself 3 targets to achieve. Out of these 3, I have achieved only 2, which was to complete my first 100 miler and to get a silver buckle for finishing below 24 hours. My third target was to finish the race below 20 hours, which, unfortunately, I failed to achieve. I was one hour and thirty two minutes late.

However, at the finish line, I did not think a lot about my time. My priority was to find what was wrong with my ankles. I was desperate to find out the reason but before I could take off my shoes, the medical team involved in one of the studies which I have volunteered, asked whether they could check my visual acuity. It was only about 5 minutes after I had run 160km, and I was asked to stand and read out alphabets and numbers from a certain distance! Not surprisingly, after a few seconds, my vision got blurred and I almost fainted and would have fallen down flat on my face had the medical member did not catch me on time and sit me down!

Hannis brought me a pizza (offered generously by the organisers) and I had some of it before I stood up again to complete my eyesight check. After that, I finally got the chance to check my feet/ankles. I already knew by then that I had some blisters on both metatarsal areas but I could never ever imagine that all the pain which I have been suffering on both my ankles was due to the famous and so widely advertised Drymax Socks!! I found out that the socks have been ‘strangulating’ my ankles for hours and this has caused deep cuts on the skin on both my ankles!!

Upon this discovery, I began to have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was very relieved that the pain was not caused by any serious injury which could compromise my performance when I start training again in August. On the other, I was so angry with the product and my silly decision to change from my reliable and tested Bridgdale socks to Drymax!

I felt for certain that I would be able to finish below 20 hours had I not suffered from so much pain and frustration, which in turn spoiled the entire second half of the race for me! Unfortunately, life is a continuous learning process, and for once again, I learnt something new. Lesson to self: do not fix whatever that is not broken! I should use products which has been tested and proven to be reliable at races and NOT use and test them for the first time at races. That was definitely a very expensive error on my part. Never again!!

While all these thoughts were boiling in my brain, I was still happy and very satisfied to have managed to finish the race. We went back to the lovely ‘nest’ of Dave and Adina, to try to catch some sleep before the awards ceremony on the following day.

Less than 7 hours later, we were back at the Placer High School’s stadium. Despite the extreme heat, hundreds of people were there to participate in the final stage of my adventure. It was such a wonderful feeling to see almost every runner (elite or not), limping to the centre ‘stage’ to get their precious buckles! My adventure ended with the receipt of my silver buckle, polished to perfection! Once again, the organisers proved how professional and perfect they were by pronouncing my long and complicated name correctly and perfectly!

My precious silver buckle

The end of my adventure...

I will end this long post of our amazing adventure with this photograph of Hannis and I. Both of us have worked very hard to make this dream come true. The final outcome was more than encouraging for me to further test my limits in yet another 100 miler.

I have many exciting ideas and plans for races in the coming year and am very tempted to return to run in the USA again after having fallen in love with her friendly people and beautiful outdoor nature.

My immediate next challenge will most likely be a race in my home country. I make it a point to do at least one race per year in Greece to enable me to meet up with old runner friends and to enjoy the camaraderie with them on the brutal Greek trails. For 2013, I have chosen to run the Rodopi Advendurun Ultra Trail 100 miles (ROUT 100) This is one of the toughest ultra trail events in Greece with 7,500m of accumulated ascent in 164km. It takes place in October every year when the change of tree foliage transforms the forest in the vast area of Rodopi Mountains National Park into a magical world of running in the wilderness. The race promotes the philosophy of self-sufficiency as participants are to run with minimal external assistance (there are only 6 aid stations!!) and many will be running in solitude during most parts of the race, struggling and accessing all obstacles which come their way alone.

I feel that I have totally recovered from WSER and am ready for another 100 miler!! Like my friend Leonidas Ahthanasopoulos (the winner of last year’s ROUT 100) has so correctly predicted (just after I have finished the WSER), “Once you have finished your first 100 miler, you will already be planning to do your next one!”

So, Greece….one of your sons is coming home soon!!

1 comment:

  1. Argy you are hooked to 100milers now! And this was a looong report! The Greek team will line up for ROUT this year and if the weather is kind to us we will rock and roll! Also keep in mind the 3 mountains in Athens...