On Sunday 25th April 2018 I had the privilege of running the “ROUTE OF TRUCE” which was a 50km (specifically 49.9km!) trail from Ancient Ilis to Ancient Olympia, sponsored by the FEDERATION OF OLYMPIA, NATO, OPAP, LEGEA, AUTOUNIT POULAKIS, THE HELLENIC ARMY………….. and the list goes on.
The history behind this “route” is that over 1623 years ago there was a “truce” so that the runners participating in the Olympic Games could make it to the Games crossing over “enemy territory” and this is the exact trail that they followed……… amazing ………so much history is involved in this race that makes it so touching!!
Starting from Ancient Ilis, the “Route of Truce” crosses 13 villages of the Ilia Prefecture and Municipalities, Ilis (Dafni, Keramidia, Dafniotissa, Peristeri), Pyrgos (Chimadio, Sopi, Karatoulas, Magoula, Latzoi), Ancient Olympia (Iraklia, Pournari, Pelopio, Platanos)…. ending up in Ancient Olympia.
The trek allowed you to enjoy countless of stretches of cultivated olive trees, vine yards, and the incredible, more rugged, natural scenery of the surrounding hillsides. It felt like an eternal stretch of uphills and after completing the event I learnt that the elevation within the 50kms was over 1100 mtrs, being the first time that I had experienced such an extented increase in altitude in a single race!!
Of course as you can understand, other than the countless uphills, the “natural scenery” we passed through had its many other surprises which made it all the more exciting – the occasional small snake – live and dead, but nothing to be alarmed about.
Now, going into the details of the specific race, I would like to say a “BIG BRAVO” to the all those involved in the Organization of the Event. I have run many races throughout Greece, and not only, however this one is one of the top ones on my list, maybe second only too the “Athens Classical Marathon”. Everything was so well planned and thought of….. buses taking you from the center of Athens to the hotels booked at Arkoudi, the pre-race celebrations at the Ancient Ilis Theatre, the post race celebrations at temple of Zeus at Olympia, the reception and hospitality of the people in the 13 different municipalities we crossed from the beginning to the end, reminding me of the people edging you on throughout the 42 kms of the Athens Classical, and the food and cool water offered to us by them………………. astounding!!!
Despite the very hot weather after 10:30-11:00, you always had an ample supply of cool and cold water at each stop, depending on which one you wanted, making you forget the heat and only having to think about conquering the uphills!! Thank you for this.
There was also a constant presence of Medical Assistance riding alongside us, together with other cars from the Organizers, taking photos throughout the route and/or just being there in case we required something……… anything.
It is a shame that some people had said they would participate and didn’t turn up in the end as there place could have been filled in by someone who WOULD COME!!! This is a real shame.
I can go on and on with praising this race ……………. because it deserves to be recommended …………………. I know I will definitely spread the word – last year the participants were 70 and this next year about 500!!! Why not 5000 next year when the same event takes place on Sunday May 5th 2019!!