206 Athletes for Winter Triathlon & Duathlon Schiniathlon!
On Saturday morning at 09:30am, 60 neoprene-dressed athletes lined up on the beach. Air temperature 4 degrees, water temperature 13 degrees! To boost everybody’s energy levels, the sky opened up all of a sudden, blue and crispy bright, and the sun blessed the start of the event.
The "10mn compulsory break" for T1 was appreciated by all the athletes, who used this time trying to regain brain-connections & limbs sensations. The bike ride was about riding as fast as you can in knee-high puddles: one quarter of the bike route, the road from Kato Souli down, was flooded. And as far as the run was concerned, most athletes regained feet sensitivity 5mn before the finish line!! But it seems everyone enjoyed the adventure?
George Alyfantis mastered the event with a very impressive swim & run. Psarelis & Andreadis started the chasing immediately after the swim and did the whole race side by side. But even their blasting fast bike time was not enough to catch up with George, who finished over 1 minute before the chasing pair.
On the women’s field, Marie Leautey won with a 13th place overall, having started the race with a good swim. Christina Bahnou and Kyriaki Mofori followed 18mn later to complete the podium. Not many women lined up on this 1st Edition of the Winter Schiniathlon!
The children’s event saw the lowest turn-up rate ever, not surprising given the freezing conditions. Anastasios & Evripidis, 11 years old, along with Zoe, 3 year-old completed their first duathlon, racing their heart out! Always a joy to see the kids enjoy the sport, keeping their helmet on throughout the race to save precious seconds at transitions!
Sunday saw 143 athletes turning up under a very heavy sky, air-temperature of 3 degrees and a freezing drizzle! No swim was involved but everyone quickly got drenched to the bone.
Due to the flooded roads and the extreme cold, the bike of the long distance was reduced from 60km down to 40km. It turned out to be a wise choice. Also worth noting, the running part inside the Rowing Centre was 1 km longer than the initial plan.
Christos Mavrikios once again did the show, thanks to his running talent. Stelios Montanaris challenged him on the bike, but Christos soon regained the advantage on the final 17km run.Athanasios Kouris & Kostas Kavvathascomplete the podium behind Christos, confirming the large advantage of the runners on this type of event. On the Women field, Loukia Loukopoulou manages a 6th place overall to take the 1st place in her category. She was followed 30mn later by Gabi Naegele then Mary Kanaki.
The short distance event was won easily by Jos Verest who posted a very good run and blasting fast bike time. Charalambos Paraskevopoulos closely followed him, then Alexandros Sakellariou 5mn behind to complete the podium. Adriani Domvrou wins the women field, followed 9mn by Karen Hill then Eva Vasilakopoulou.
The week before the race, as has largely been documented on various forums and websites, was a roller-coaster for the organisers and the athletes alike. The support provided by the Ministry of Culture & Sports was our master-key and it took several days to undo the mess created by the EoTri in their efforts to block our race.
Saturday’s race was supervised by a large crew of volunteers and the Police of Marathonas checked us out to ensure everything was rolling as planned.
On Sunday the road was supervised by the Traffic Police of Agia Paraskevi and they stayed throughout the whole race, waiting in the cold.
We appreciated the support we received, from the athletes and from the Authorities, to rescue the race at the last minute through exceptional measures. We are equally aware that this was a one-off action, and we need to sort the situation as soon as possible.
The 2010 calendar has been announced and our next event is to take place in May. This leaves us 3 full months to normalize the situation.
A lot of athletes have signed the petition, which was calling for:
1- the official normalization of Schiniathlon,
2- the free choice of athletes to go to whichever race they want,
3- the possibility for athletes to take part at triathlons without having to subscribe for club membership.
The petition will be sent to the Ministry of Culture, the General Secretary of Sports and the EoTri – we will keep you informed on the developments of the situation.
We would like to thank the following:
1- The athletes: thanks for having massively turned-up, despite the freezing cold, for sending us messages of support and for being with us in the hard times.
2- The volunteers: thanks for giving up the peace & quiet of a S/K to come and supervise the event in these conditions.
3- The Samaritain: for their presence in the sea and on the road, to protect the athletes and bring such level of safety to our event.
4- The Police of Agia Paraskevi and Marathonas: thanks for ensuring the safety on the roads – and most of all for securing the event, rather than block it.
5- Our sponsors: thanks for helping us being self-sufficient and making our event financially autonomous.
6- The Ministry of Culture & Sports: thanks for rescuing the event at the last minute. We hope we can work together on letting this situation happen again.
Rendez-vous in May for our Sprint «swim-bike-run» event! Until then, enjoy a safe and happy training.