Equipped with phosphorescent bracelets and necklaces, dressed in their swimsuits, 80 athletes packed up on the beach-front of the Moraitis Resort at 8:30pm, waiting for darkness to set-in… Not a normal behaviour? Wait to see what was on the night menu!
750m of swim around a triangle of buoys set up in the sea and highlighted by phosphorescent sticks – followed by 6km of run on the sand, to the end of Schinias Bay and back – followed by… barbecue, live music and party under the full moon!
Despite the festive atmosphere that surrounded the event, it was a true and tough Aquathlon which was taking part at the beach. A sea-swim in the dark followed by a run on the sand is nothing easy in comparison with traditional aquathlons taking place at daytime and with the run part on tarmac.
Ioannis Orkopoulos’ phosphorescent gear was the first to pop-out of the water 11:50mn only after the start was given. He was closely followed by Giorgos Diamantidis who did the full swim right behind him. Alex Antonopoulos was 3rd out of the water and despite a very lengthy transition, went on to give his all out for the run.
The flow of athletes coming out from the sea started to grow bigger and bigger. It seems that the night-time conditions were a favourable factor for the athletes to swim in very tight packs, a phenomenon that is not always so obvious in day-time events.
The slowest athlete came out of the water in 32mn, followed by the safety kayak which provided assistance and guidance all along. Once the last athlete started his run, it was only a matter of minutes before the 1st athletes would cross the finish line.
Ioannis Orkopoulos managed to keep his lead throughout the run and still posted the 3rd run time of the night! He finished first in 39mn10sc. The second and third athletes followed very tightly, within the same minute. Alex Antonopoulos made up for a very slow transition with a very fast run, which took him to 2nd position overall in 39mn28sc. And Dimitris Bezas caught up his swim delay with an amazing run time of 26mn20sc, the 2nd fastest run time of the night! He finished in 39mn49sc and completes the men’s podium.
In the women’s field, the winners were more spread out. Tatiana Kyriakopoulou did an amazing race, especially considering her shoulder injury which grounded her for some time recently. She finished the race in 47mn50sc, 2 minutes clear of her next opponent. Elina Makridi followed in 49mn58sc at her first attempt of an event which included… more than simply running! Waiting to see how Elina would do at a full triathlon now. Natasha Giannousi followed Elina very closely, posting 51mn52sc for the whole event. Natasha also comes from a running background with a successful duathlon experience earlier on this year. No doubt that Elina and Natasha could be serious competitors to Tatiana, the so-experienced and un-defeated triathlete in Greece women’s field so far – interesting races to come ahead!
It took 1h30 for the slowest athlete to complete the race – and everybody joined in to celebrate at the Moraitis Resort for a full-moon party.
The barbecues were working non-stop, grilling sausages and pittas to feed everyone. Live music was being played by the coolest band in Athens “Lester and the Cool”. And this little triathlon / multi-sport community at last found an event and party to gather, meet, exchange, get to know each other a bit more… and no doubt talk about races and training!
The Schiniathlon Team was delighted to see such a demonstration of positive sporting behaviour, to witness the community of triathlon and multi-sports athletes bond together in good spirits.
A major THANK YOU goes to Dimitris Moraitis who once again offered his resort to us, multi-sports athletes, to tie bonds and consolidate our efforts.
Dimitris has been consistently supporting the development of triathlon with us since we began in May 2007.
Join us again in September, for a full triathlon week-end – details to follow later.
Keep up your training over the summer,
Marie & Leonidas
The Schiniathlon Team