(MENAFN- Famagusta Gazette) Greek runner Fotis Zisimopoulos finished first in the 41st Spartathlon, the ultra-marathon race from Athens to Sparta in southern Greece, on Sunday, shattering a course record set by another Greek runner in 1984.
Zisimopoulos, a 41-year-old police officer, completed the 245-kilometer race in 19 hours, 55 minutes, and 2 seconds. The previous record, held by Greek veteran Yiannis Kouros, was 20:25:00.
This marked the third consecutive Spartathlon win for Zisimopoulos. He reached the statue of ancient Spartan King Leonidas in Sparta in the early hours of Sunday to the applause of an enthusiastic crowd, as per an e-mailed press release from the International Association“SPARTATHLON,” the race's organizers.
The champion was honored with an olive wreath and took a sip of water from the nearby Evrotas River, a tradition for all finishers.
Holvik Simen of Norway was the second to cross the finish line, followed by Honkala Noora of Finland, who clinched the top spot in the women's category.
The Spartathlon commenced at the base of the Acropolis hill on Saturday morning, with 380 participants of diverse ages and professions from 50 countries and regions. Only about a third of the runners typically reach the finish line, according to the organizers. Participants must navigate the challenging course within 36 hours, emulating the journey of ancient Greek messenger Pheidippides. ■
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