I am not sure if this is really a review but here are some thoughts on a brilliant trip to Athens for the marathon!
1. Being part of the Athens Authentic marathon is a great experience. It’s so unique because of its history and I particularly loved being out at Marathon at the start. If you enjoy a marathon, it should be on the list!
2. It was hot from early on and I am pleased that I was sensible and slowed right down. I knew my training had not really been good enough and when it was so warm so early, I decided to slow up immediately. Especially with it being abroad, there was no sense in taking risks and it was all about the medal.
3. It was hilly. I knew there were hills later on and those slopes certainly kept coming which were challenging. Until the last 10k that is, which was nice and downhill but even that was not easy on tired legs by that stage.
4. Although it is obviously brilliant to be following the original marathon route, it is not the most picturesque. I had visions of getting a great view of the city as we came over the hill but that did not happen. And the city of Athens itself would be a great place to run a marathon – there would be loads to see.
5. There wasn’t support all the way, but where there was, it was brilliant – lots of kids and lots of high-fives! Great energy from the crowds and it was much needed! And most wonderful of all – the townsfolk of Marathon were giving olive branches to runners to take with them on the run which was lovely.
6. Part of the route was devastated by wild fire earlier this year with 99 people losing their lives. All runners were given a green snood to wear during that section and the support from the locals was particularly loud there. It was a very poignant tribute during those miles after we passed through the green arch, and runners from the area are going to go back to help plant new trees there too.
7. It was great to meet people on the trip. I knew that Matt and Craig from runr were going to be there and it was fantastic to see them at the start and run a bit with them, but I also bumped into two Swedish runners Robban and Mikael while we were all looking for the expo together on the Friday. I mentioned that I was going to see Olympiakos play on the Sunday night too and they came along too – was a great end to the day and now they are urging me to go and run in Sweden!
8. What a finish!! It’s a spectacular end to the race in the wonderful Panathenaic Stadium. Definitely something to savour!
9. Great medal – I’m a big fan of this and it is suitably grand and fitting for an event of this stature.
10. I loved Athens – it’s a great city and a brilliant place to explore over a few days. So much to see and do, and I would like to go back again!
I was raising money for the CRUK Kids & Teens campaign – thanks to all who have supported to help find new, better and kinder treatments for children who are diagnosed