Mattias Bramstång


by on sep.29, 2007, under Point to point, Ultra

After years dreaming about this great race I finally found myself at the start line among runners from all over the world. I think everyone of the participants affects the same desire; to repeat what Pheidippides once achieved. To run from Athens to Sparta and reach the finish the very next day before sunset.

The start is held just outside the theatre of Herodes Atticus on the south slope of the Acropolis of Athens. There, the history is present and it gives a great feeling and inner strength. Maybe this is a gift from the Gods, like a never-ending energy source that surrounds the runners during the race. Besides inner strength and a calm feeling, outer strength is what will move the body ahead. All of the runners at the start area appear to be fit and it will be a request because the course is very demanding. Among these prepared runners just a few gets through the 246-kilometre curse within the 36-hour limit.

I have heard a lot of the race and my greatest fear was to run alone in the dark. To challenge the mountain in darkness or to find my way. So it was a relief to have a friend along my side. Christian Ritella and I ran together the entire time. The night elapse and in the morning hours of the second day we pushed it for a few hours before the upcoming sun set us on fire. The power of the sun prevented us from running. We just walked hours by hours like zombies. The jokes were out, nobody had anything to say and we were tired. However it was just enough with one little glint of an eye and a smile to make us both laugh and appreciate the moment as it was.

With half an hour to spare we reached the finish and when I ran the last piece of the race I felt that life was more than enough. Finally I lay my hand on the foot of the statue of King Leonidas. Then I was served a sip of holy water from the river Evrotas and an olive wreath was placed upon my head. Tears of relief and happiness ran down my cheek as I walked away.

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