This year’s Spartathlon will feature a record number of participants. It will be the 27th running of the ultra-marathon race, which will take place on September 25-26. As it has for the last five years, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will provide the sole funding for the race. This is the final year of the Foundation’s six-year sponsorship of the Spartathlon.
Among the 380 athletes from 33 countries who have thus far registered, three runners in particular are notable for the special spirit that the Spartathlon athletes exemplify. The blind Japanese athlete Kioshi Hoshina, who is 62 years old, will attempt to finish the 246 klm race. He will be escorted by his fellow countryman Kenzi Okiyama, who placed second in the 1997-1998 races. Piotr Kurylo and Darius Strihalski will travel from Poland on foot, in memory of the 70th anniversary of the commencement of World War II. (The trip is a repeat for Piotr Kurylo, who made the same journey in 2007 and 2008 and placed second in the 2007 race).
The Spartathlon international organization has taken all necessary precautions for the athletes’ safety. There will be 75 check-points along the race route where supplies, information and medical help will be available. A medical team with fully equipped ambulances and a group of physiotherapists will be on site to assist the athletes.
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