This weekend we went to Litochoro. A mountain village at the foot of Mount Olympus. Because it is only 7 km from the sea, you have a great view on the sea and when you turn around you look straight up the mountains. On Sunday the race of Enipeas took place. A 23km race over the skirts of Mount Olympus. With a total elevation of 1.600m it is one of the hardest trail runs around. All the top athletes of Greece where there.
When we arrived Saturday in Litochoro to pick up Dimitris starting number, we found out there was also the Melindra trail run of only 5km. I had the correct shoes and clothes with me so I didn't had any excuse not to sign up. We stayed the night in Platamon in a nice apartment to be fresh and full of energy the following day. After Dimitris had started, I put the dog safely in the van and went to the finish line. It was perfect weather: blue sky and about 13 degrees. I didn't go to race, I just wanted to enjoy and see something more than only Litochoro. Immediately when we left the village, the road turned into a hike path. For 2km it was uphill, which I didn't run but kept a steady pace walking. In the meantime I could enjoy the view on the sea on my right and on my left the snow tops of Olympus. It was perfect. Halfway the route went back to the village, all downhill. Thank good lord I have trail running shoes from La Sportive. They are THE best for this. You can just run downhill without slipping or losing your grip. I am not a fast runner at all, but at this point I could pass many people that didn't had these type of shoes. It makes such a difference. Back into the village I had some energy's left to sprint to the finish line.
I loved doing this race. I am not a runner, I never manage to train steady for weeks and go for many kilometers. But these things I really enjoy. With only 125 people running through the nature and enjoying the beauty is just great fun. After finishing in 42 minutes I changed and got the dog with me. While waiting for the first one to arrive of the 23km race, I drunk my coffee in the sun and watched Greek kids performing a traditional dance. In just 2 hours the first runner finished. Of course Dimitrios Theodorakakos, he is the number one of Greece.
I like the Greek running competitions. They are very different to the ones I have been to in the Netherlands. Of course they are a lot smaller (650 runners compared to 15.000...) but the atmosphere is so friendly. Everybody always helps each other during the race. If someone falls, the next one will stop to help and won't use it to his advantage. They don't race against each other. They race together, against themselves.
In the end I guess that is a very important thing...