Project 2009 - Ironman Frankfurt Germany

Back in 2009 only a dozen of Greeks had ever attempted a full Iron distance triathlon. The lack of awareness among athletes, amplified by the lack of any type of media (no magazine, no on-line resource or books in Greek language) or support and the absence of communication from the few athletes who had already competed... led to the extraordinary character of this adventure, gathering 22 inexperienced Greeks to go and race a full Ironman... 


1st of July 2009, a team of 22 Greeks started their journey to Ironman Frankfurt, loaded with bike-cases, anxiety and excitement. With months of disciplined training behind us we are still very uncertain what the race will hold for us.

In the few days leading to the event, we get busy together. Shopping at the expo, riding our bikes one last time before check-in, trying out the local beers and eating loads of pasta. Seems we are doing ok!

Last evening before the race, Markos’ intensified and constant singing betrays what we all feel like: we can’t wait, we want to be on the start-line, this is so exciting. We head up for our last diner at the Italian restaurant, light pasta and vegetables for the carbs, and the compusory beer & grappa for a good night’s sleep!

And at long last comes race-morning… Packed up in the bus at 5am heading up to the Lake. We’re nearly there… Pros start at 06h45, fireworks explode above the water… 15mn to go and we’re on our way… Before we know, the gun shot echoes above the lake and the washing machine starts turning. We’re all in, it’s all blue sky, hot temperatures, happy yet concentrated faces. A wonderful day ahead!

The results table below sums up the efforts and achievement of the team:

Greek Team Ironman Frankfurt Results


This race has been again a fantastic group experience… Preparing together, rehearsing some half-ironman or long rides as a group. Travelling together, racing side by side at times, being all together at the finish, and seeing the emotions first-hands, the tears of joy, the hugs, the unbelievable smiles on our faces… The pride of getting there together, from a country with so little awareness about triathlon, with no resource or media or any form of support behind the sport... Ironman might be well-spread in other parts of the world, but where we come from, we're pioneers - and what an adventure!

Project 2008 - Ironman 70.3 Austria, St Polten 

 2008 in Greece... triathlon for the masses is just about 1 year-old in Greece, the country has only ever held a few sprint distance triathlons open to everyone and the awareness of the sport is still at ground zero. No media (magazines, books or else) in Greek tackle the challenge of racing triathlons and going the distance... Having launched the Schiniathlon races in 2007, we quickly gathered a group of passionate athletes and commit to prepare & race together at a half-iroman in Europe... this was the first of the summer iron trips. 

Up till the day before the event, it was still unsure whether we would be racing under buckets of water or under the blazing sun. It seemed all the weather forecasts had decided to contradict each others all the way through : rain, sun, thunder storms, heat wave, whatever…

Last minute stops at the bike shops included rain-tyres, sun cream and waterproof cycling jackets !

Prepared as best as we could, we headed up to the event with excitement and great curiosity. Long distance multi-sports event was new to most of us. 
Naturally we spent the 2 days leading to the race filling up our stomachs with pretty much anything we found, trying to gauge the best way to carbo-load. 
Some of us pushed it a bit too far, embarking on a course of beer drinking in the afternoon sun, not mentioning the Chianti and Grapa to accompany our last pantagruelic pre-race austrian diner - surely we'll find a way to put these to good use on race day.

Race day finally arrived and off we went, to the lake, under a generous morning sun and bright blue sky.

The waves start mechanism meant the youngest had to set off first. Sarah, Alex and Markos were among the first wave, and well… anyone familiar with the Schiniathlon saga won’t be too surprised that Sarah posted the 50th swim time of the event, Pros included, in an international field of 1500 swimmers! Oh, and Alex posted 58th time, just 9 seconds behind Sarah… Not a bad start for the team!

Most of us were taken by surprise at the length and gradient of the bike hills, which appeared to be much worse than they looked on paper on the race course profile.

The run course was pretty nice and quite unusual, most of it being on flat trail, by the river of St Polten, with 2 passages only through spectators-populated places.

That’s were Markos decided that, having done a good swim and good bike, it was time to relax a bit and go for a walk. Similarly, Dimitris and Petros experienced substantial physical breakdown by the time they started the run, albeit for different reasons. While Dimitris suffered from lack of brick training in his preparation, Petros had the unpleasant surprise to meet again with an old knee injury and pain slowed him down badly at the second lap.

The team waited at the finish line for the veteran of the group, Harry to cross that line just clear of the cut-off. Nearly 8hrs of continuous effort and still smiling!

Now was time to go get more food and more drink - and set our eyes on our next challenge: a full ironman for sure!

We hope our “team” will grow bigger and that more of you will join us in this fantastic experience of getting there together… May you be inspired and join us for our next challenge!


Schiniathlon video

Short story of Schininathlon, the classic triathlon event at Schinias bay, Athens, Greece"

Video shot during Schiniathlon events of 2011 and produced by Transition Sports