Under dark sky, light rain and strong winds, 201 athletes gathered for the last Schiniathlon of the 2011 season. 144 individuals and 57 team-members. The Olympic distance saw another participation record being broken this year.
The start was given and the usual washing machine scene took place. Panagiotis Christodoulopoulos quickly set the tempo ahead of the pack, closely followed by Manolakenas and Gotsias. By the time they exited the water, Christodoulopoulos had created a 30sc gap over his pursuers, managing a remarkable 20:58.
On the bike Christodoulopoulos kept his advantage, scoring the 2nd best bike time of the day in 1:06:38, 23 seconds behind Kokolakis who gets best bike time in 1:06:15. Spyros Nikolouzos nearly equaled Christodoulopoulos posting an amazing 1:06:39 bike.
By the time he racked his bike in T2, Christodoulopoulos was now ahead of his pursuers, Papanikolaou & Psarelis, by just 5 minutes. The game was all his but it was not enough for Panagiotis who went on to a punishing hard run on the forest sand and crushed his competitors with the best run time of the day in 36:45.
Panagiotis crosses the finish line in 2:08:19 and spectators had to wait 7mn30 to see the duet of pursuers cross the line after a sprint finish, Papanikolaou followed 5sc later by Psarelis.
The women's race was interesting from the start, with Aggeliki Thoma and Irini Christaki exiting the water ahead of Maria Kamizaki. But the bike was all Maria's as she completed the ride in nearly 10mn faster than Aggeliki. The two women then completed the run in similar times below 48mn, and Maria got 1st place overall in 2:40mn, 6 minutes ahead of Aggeliki herself 26mn ahead of 3rd women Georgia Drosou.
The Team-Relay was a big success with 19 teams lined up at the start and 4 of them in the Top 5, between Christodoulopoulos and Papanikolaou-Psarelis! Panagiotis Skylodimos shone on the bike, posting an absolutely brilliant 58:12 for the 40km, something never achieved at Schiniathlon for the distance. And Elefterios Paraskevas once again exited the water first, ahead of the 1st individual Panagiotis Christodolopoulos. On the run however, no one managed to break the time of the overall winner.
It was unfortunate that some 10 athletes lost count of their loops in the Rowing Centre and fell short of completing the 8 loops. It is mind-bogging to count loops while focusing on the race, butr this was part of the game this time.
We would like to thank very warmly the 25 volunteers who have given their free time and energy to help secure and supervise the event despite the cold and rainy weather. They are the soul of the event and no race of this scale can take place without their benevolent involvement. Thanks also to Alex for the music he graciously played after the race to accompany the athletes relaxing after their efforts. Thanks also to the Red Cross Samaritans who gave their best, supporting in the sea, on the road, with their experienced men and materials. Thanks also to our series sponsors Pharmshop and Multirama, our biggest supporters of the season. Our Expo partners: Pulse100, BikeMe.gr, who also provided tremendous bike technical service to all the athletes. And GU GELS for the energy support of all the athletes. Moraitis resort has once again been a great host of the event.
Top 10 Athletes 2011:
As Schinathlon closes the 2011 season it is time to honor the 10 best athletes of the season:
Konstantinos Papanikolaou, Marios Kokolakis, Markos Pachos, Spyros Nikolouzos, Dimitris Manolakenas, Alexandros Sakellariou, Alex Antonopoulos, Dionysis Alevizakis, Vasilis Babanikas and Alexis Athanasopoulos.
These athletes will be rewarded with a special Schiniathlon Gift on a further ceremony.
And within these Top 10 athletes, let's mention 2 athletes who stand out, Markos Pachos and Alex Antonopoulos. They are the only athletes who have participated at all 20 Schiniathlon between 2007-2011. They have been part on all Schiniathlon related projects: 2008 ½ IM Austria, 2009 IM Frankfurt, 2011 IM Challenge Roth… They have gone all the steps and have been at the core of Schiniathlon since the start. Thank you for your loyalty and commitment to the sport.