A Brief Account of the 22nd Edition (2004) of Spartathlon

Από 06 Οκτ 2004
Jens Lukas at finish line, Sparta Jens Lukas at finish line, Sparta Jens Lukas at finish line, Sparta

Spartathlon, one of the most famous ultrarunning events around the world, was held this year for 22nd time on Friday, 1st October. Over 183 athletes from 30 countries and 6 continents were present at the start line, under the holy rock of Acropolis and Parthenon Temple in Athens –the city that hosted the 2004 Olympic Games. Their objective was to endure, suffer and finish one of the most grueling renown ultrarunning road races. Spartathlon revives the heroic deed of messenger Fidippides, who on behalf of the Athenians, he ran some 246km– the distance from Athens to Sparta– to ask for the Spartans’ help in the war against the Persians (490 B.C.).

Among this year’s participants, there were some of the race leaders of the previous Spartathlon editions, such as 2003 winner Markus Thalmann (AUT), the 1997 & 1998 winner Kostas Reppos (GRE), the 1999 winner Jens Lukas (GER) and 2003 female winner Akiko Sakamoto (JPN). The weather conditions were not in favor of the runners since excess heat and humidity gave them a hard time during the first kilometers. On top of this, due a serious traffic-police mistake led early the race leaders off-course, causing them a 10 minutes delay.

By the KM-25 Reppos took the lead in front of Thalmann, Wimmer and Nishimura following at close distance. Nothing changed till Km 80, where Reppos felt quite uncomfortable with the hot weather before he finally quit (KM-100). At this point, half of the eight race leading athletes were Japanese but soon Lukas showed up and gradually placed himself among them.

Half the race distance, the athletes ran past the Nemea archaeological site and then moved uphill on scenic country roads towards Arcadia. At KM-150, Thalmann checked first in 14:20, leaving Nishimura second. When the race came into its night phase, Lukas advanced to the third place. The next few kms found the athletes climbing a rough footpath in the dark, on the ridge of Mt. Lirkion towards the Arcadian plateau. At KM-180, Thalmann still kept a short lead from Lukas although the latter was slowly approaching. Behind them, Nishimura was struggling somewhere among the group of the first 8, giving now 3rd position to Juri (AUT) and 4th to Kankaasyrja (FIN).

At dawn, the first runners were running downhill towards the Sparta plain, on the last 30km of the race. Lukas proved to be the strongest and easily left Thalmann behind. He finished the 246 kms of the race first, in 25:49.56, exactly under the statue of the Spartan ancient warrior Leonidas, in the centre of Sparta. Thalmann finished in 2nd in 26:20.02. Further behind, a thrilling finale was in progress. While Juri was reaching the finish line exhausted and moments before he collapsed –600m before the finish line–, Kankaasyrja arrived looking fresh and strong! Instead of giving an end to his effort, he stopped to support Juri and help him finish the race!! Both crossed the finish line embraced, filling the stunned spectators with excitement and emotion. That was probably the most moving moment of the race. Later Kankaasyrja stated that “…I did nothing more than follow the lesson that my teacher Seppo Leinonen taught me”. Leinonen, who participated as well this year’s race, is a veteran athlete, who back in 1992 helped exactly the same way an American runner.

Kimie Noto was the female winner finishing in 12th place overall (29:57.40). Best among the Greek athletes was Giorgos Psailas who placed 8th (29.12.20). Only 73 out of the 183 participants crossed the finish line as ranked (cut-off time is 36 hours). More than 200 volunteers from several countries helped in Spartathlon this year and various media from around the world covered the event.

Spartathlon-2004 > Full Results
1) Jens Lukas (GER) 25:49.56
2) Markus Thalmann (AUT) 26:20.02
3) Martin Juri (AUT) 27:19.15
-) Janne Kankaansyrja (FIN) 27:19.15
5) Andras Low (HUN) 28:17.46
6) Peeter Venikas (EST) 28:44.42
7) Ichiro Hiyoshi (JPN) 28:55.11
8) Giorgos Psailas (GRE) 29.12.20
9) Wojciech Rismenko (POL) 29:19.57
10) Ralf Steisslinger (GER) 29:27.01
11) Zbigniew Malinowski (POL) 29:40.08
12) Kimie Noto (JPN) 29:57.40 (F)
13) Kim Rasmussen (DEN) 30:40.04
14) Kazuhiro Kawamura (JPN) 30:48.31
15) Karl Hubert (GER) 31:00.25
16) Hiroko Okiyama (JPN) 31:01.17 (F)
17) Georg Weiss (GER) 31:59.37
18) Patrick De Geyter (FRA) 32:01.24
19) Kazuyoshi Ikeda (JPN) 32:13.14
20) Mark Williams (GBR) 32:38.49
21) Marian Nowak (POL) 32:44.33
22) Hermann Bohm (GER) 32:45.54
23) Anke Drescher (GER) 32:55.26 (F)
24) Bernard Constant (FRA) 32:58.34
25) Eiolf Eivindsen (NOR) 33:05.38
- ) Kenny Wallstrom (SWE) 33:05.38
27) Jaques Martin (FRA) 33:36.00
28) Makoto Suzuki (JPN) 33:41.10
29) Kjell-Ove Skoklung (SWE) 33:47.57
30) Ari Mustala (FIN) 33:49.47
31) Hiroaki Onda (JPN) 33:52.42
32) Paul Engels (GER) 33:55.23
33) Lucio Bazzana (ITA) 34:06.37
34) Philip Verdonck (BEL) 34:16.22
35) Roland Roux (FRA) 34:17.04
36) Apollon Gogos (GRE) 34:20.22
37) Vito Antonio Recchia (ITA) 34:23.15
38) Takashi Nikaido (JPN) 34:25.02
39) Thomas-Mathias Kabuss (GER) 34:26.28
40) Akiko Sakamoto (JPN) 34:28.06 (F)
41) Maik Dieroff (GER) 34:28.56
42) Jim Rudig (USA) 34:37.51
43) Rene Heintz (FRA) 34:41.31
44) Furuyama Takako (JPN) 34:43.03 (F)
45) Stefan Mair (AUT) 34:50.08
46) Shigeharu Morimura (JPN) 34:50.49
47) In Suk Jo (KOR) 34:51.13
48) Nobuhiko Hagura (JPN) 34:57.28
49) Lars-Uffe Hansen (DMK) 34:58.20
50) Okabe Mayumi (JPN) 35:02.42
51) Hyeon Woo Kim (KOR) 35:04.05
52) Kazunari Sugiura (JPN) 35:04.33
53) Christophe Midelet (FRA) 35:14.55
54) Alexandre Falkov (RUS) 35:15.14
55) Marios Fournaris (GRE) 35:19.37
56) Glyn Marston (GBR) 35:24.04
57) Kazuya Inoue (JPN) 35:27.10
58) Ichiro Arima (JPN) 35:30.17
59) Constantinos Baxevanis (GRE) 35:31.26
60) Hideo Kuwano (JPN) 35:33.16
61) Jun Kitagawa (JPN) 35:40.21
- ) Toyohisa Nakasima (JPN) 35:40.21
- ) Yoshio Nishimura (JPN) 35:40.21
64) Gilles Pallaruelo (FRA) 35:42.03
65) Kanai Yasuo (JPN) 35:42.33
66) Thierry Foucaud (FRA) 35:43.16
67) Ito Norio (JPN) 35:44.58
68) Jean-Pierre Durmier (FRA) 35:49.05
69) Herman Krunen (NDL) 35:52.33 (F)
70) Timea Bontovitcs (HUN) 35:52.54 (F)
71) Riyoko Motoki (JPN) 35:53.27
72) Shigeru Mitsuhasi (JPN) 35:58.12
73) Seong Yul Choi (KOR) 35:59.33

Lap Times

 

[KM-30] >> 1) Reppos (GRE) 2.25 – 2) Thalmann (AUT) 2.30 – 3) Wimmer (GER) 2.30 – 4) Nishimura (JPN) 2.31 – 5) Dragatis (GRE) 2.32 – 6) Miyano (JPN) 2.33

[KM-50] >> 1) Reppos (GRE) 4.00 – 2) Thalmann (AUT) 4.06 – 3) Wimmer (GER) 4.07 – 4) Nishimura (JPN) 4.07 – 5) Dragatis 4.15 – 6) Rismenko (POL) 4.16

[KM-81] >> 1) Nishimura (JPN) 6.46 – 2) Thalmann (AUT) 6.46 – 3) Reppos (GRE) 6.52 – 4) Rismenko (POL) 7.07 – 5) Sakai (JPN) 7.10 – 6) Nakasima (JPN) 7.21

[ΚΜ-100] >> 1) Nishimura (JPN) 8:44 – 2) Thalmann (AUT) 8:45 – 3) Sakai (JPN) 9:17 – 4) Wimmer (GER) 9:19 – 5) Recchia (ITA) 9:24 – 6) Kankaansyrja (FIN) 9:25

[KM-130] >> 1) Thalmann (AUT) 11.55 – 2) Nishimura (JPN) 12.05 – 3) Kankaansyrja (FIN) 12.24 – 4) Lukas (GER) 12.35 – 5) Juri (AUT) 12.37 – 6) Nobumi (JPN) 12.48

[KM-151] >> 1) Thalmann (AUT) 14.26 – 2) Nishimura (JPN) 14.41 – 3) Lukas (GER) 14.58 – 4) Juri (AUT) 13.06 – 5) Kankaansyrja (FIN) 13.06 – 6) Hiyoshi (JPN) 13.27

[KM-164] >> 1) Thalmann (AUT) 16.24 – 2) Lukas (GER) 16.59 – 3) Juri (AUT) 17.13 – 4) Nishimura (JPN) 17.25 – 5) Kankaansyrja (FIN) 17.27 – 6) Nobumi (JPN) 17.44

[KM-190] >> 1) Thalmann (AUT) 19.15 – 2) Lukas (GER) 19.36 – 3) Juri (AUT) 20.00 – 4) Kankaansyrja (FIN) 20.25 – 5) Hiyoshi (JPN) 20.46 – 6) Low (HUN) 21.26

[KM-211] >> 1) Thalmann (AUT) 22.18 – 2) Lukas (GER) 22.27 – 3) Juri (AUT) 23.00 – 4) Kankaansyrja (FIN) 23.27 – 5) Hiyoshi (JPN) 24.39 – 6) Low (HUN) 24.47

[KM-246] >> 1) Lukas (GER) 25.49 – 2) Thalmann (AUT) 26.20 – 3) Juri (AUT) 27.19 – 4) Kankaansyrja (FIN) 27.19 – 5) Low (HUN) 28.17 – 6) Vennikas (EST) 28.44

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