Schiniathlon completed its 2nd season on a very positive note, having gathered no less than 160 athletes on the starting line.
68 athletes took part in the long-distance event
62 athletes took on the small-distance challenge
30 kids aged 4 to 16 competed over various distances
The weather conditions on the day were absolutely fine, perfect for such a race. Saturday’s rain and wind discouraged some athletes and 20% of the registered athletes did not show up at the race. They will know sooner or later what they missed!
At 8:45am not sharp (at all!) more like 8:55am, 30 kids opened the day by throwing themselves in the water, giving us a mass start show to watch! No fear for cold, no neoprene suit, and not even goggles on every faces – but the smiles were there. Accompanied by the parents, they caught up their bikes at the car park area, and completed loops on the free-road, then running, greeted by parents and athletes alike.
Now the adults could get ready! A bit of novelty welcomed the athletes as our brand new bike-racks were all lined up in a closed transition area, with little baskets at the side of each bike to place the race-gear. This 5th Edition of Schiniathlon definitely marked the end of the traditional mess of bikes and gear that was… our branded label since the beginning!
At 10am (still not sharp at all) the Long-Distance event started. More competitors than ever took on the challenge: 68 athletes competed over 1.5km of swim, 40km of cycling and 10km of running.
The swimmers opened the race, led by Giorgos Kanakis and Alex Antonopoulos in just above 22mn, in perfect sea conditions. They were the first ones to step on the carpet rolled out from the sea to the transition area, another novelty of this event.
The cyclist event was quite logically dominated by Ironman and cyclist champion Marios Kokolakis, who clocked a very fast time at 1:06, followed by an ultra-fit Markos Pachos in 1:09. And these times are outstandingly fast for the steep road that the athletes took on, with its 240m of ascent.
The run was the cherry on the cake of Christos Mavrikios, who completed the 10km in less than 42mn, taking his revenge on all the swimmers who passed him full speed at the start!
Marios Kokolakis finished well ahead of the pack, followed more than a minute later by Giannis Psarellis and Angelos Nikolinakos.
The level set by these athletes, on a quite challenging route, was of very high quality, by any standards. Schiniathlon being a race for all levels, with no cut-off times, the last one finished 1h33mn after the winner.
At 10:45am sharp (at last) the Small-Distance athletes followed in the water, where the last swimmers of the Long-Distance were still trying to finish! Panagiotis Lagopatis put on the fast gear and led the pack with a clear lead of nearly 1 minute. Stelios Andreadis was on his heels and set the pace of the cycling event, clocking the 20km in 40 minutes, a very good time considering the steep ascent of the coastal road.
The running was led by Apostolos Zorbas in just above 22mn.
Overall winner Stelios Andreadis dominated the whole race thanks to his great swimmer and cyclist talent. He crossed the finish line 5mn clear of his next opponents Kostis Valasis and Alexandros Margaritis.
After the event, athletes gathered at the Moraitis resort for a relaxing afternoon, enjoying a little buffet, the massages offered by Compex and a little Beach-Volley tournament later in the evening. The Expo did not provide the expected demonstration of tri gadgets and training advice that were announced, due to a very tight schedule of the Expo organisers being also… athletes of the race! Next time we commit to better planning in order to deliver the full Expo.
The Ceremony took place after all the athletes had made their way to the finish. The top athletes of each category for all the races received a Trophy. In addition, the Top-10 athletes of the 2008 season received a special award: a multi-sports Raidlight backpack. These gifts were of such quality thanks to our top sponsors, Wind / Multirama / Avra and Moraitis being so supportive and generous, allowing us to spend money on quality materials for the athletes.
This 5th Edition of the Schiniathlon definitely marks a turn. The ever-growing number of athletes taking part at the event is a strong and clear message: there is an unbelievable demand for multi-sport races in Greece. Schiniathlon is only one pillar of what we must develop in order to honour this demand and give a chance to all to compete and have fun together, top athletes and amateurs alike.
Organising a race for 200 athletes is a much tougher effort than when we started last year with 55 participants… It is taking more and more time out of us, and somehow, we must be more and more professional in the level of the organisation, material, information etc… that we provide to you.
We were assisted on race-day by 30 volunteers. This was an immense effort on both sides, to gather everyone and coordinate. The SAFANS running club of Nea Smyrnis provided most of the Marshals.
It was with great disappointment that the Traffic Police informed us, the week before the event, that they could not support us. It created a lot of last-minute changes and updates, and a lot of uncertainty and stress on our side, having no support at all from the Authorities.
Next time we will need to find a way to ensure that the biggest Triathlon Event of Greece is being given the support it deserves.
We would like to thank you all: athletes, marshals, sponsors! You have given us a great time, once again, you have given your best and it was our best reward for all the efforts we put to get this race together…
We see you again (and more!) at our next Schiniathlon, opening the 2009 season, on Sunday 25th January!
Keep up your training,
Marie – Leonidas – Dimitris
The Schiniathlon Organisation Committee