Greek runner Fotis Zisimopoulos has achieved a historic victory in the 41st Spartathlon, surpassing the record set by Yiannis Kouros in 1984.
The Spartathlon is a grueling 246 km (153-mile) race from Athens to Sparta, which organizers claim retraces the legendary journey of the ancient Greek messenger Pheidippides, famous for running from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of a victory over the Persians in 490 BC.
The 41-year-old police officer completed the race with a remarkable time of 19 hours, 55 minutes, and 2 seconds, breaking the previous record of 20 hours and 25 minutes.
This marks Zisimopoulos’ third consecutive Spartathlon win. He arrived at the statue of ancient Spartan King Leonidas in Sparta during the early hours of Sunday, greeted by an enthusiastic crowd.
In honor of his achievement, Zisimopoulos received an olive wreath and partook in the tradition of taking a sip of water from the nearby Evrotas River, a ritual for all finishers.
Simen Holvik from Norway secured the second position, followed by Noora Honkala from Finland, who claimed the top spot in the women’s category.
The Spartathlon commenced at the base of the Acropolis hill on Saturday morning, featuring 380 participants from 50 countries. Completion rates are rarely over 40 percent. [Combined reports]