My family and I flew into Athens on Thursday November 8th. Miraculously the flight was without incident or calamity. Our departure, not so much. Our main sewer line was blocked, blocking all of our drainage. Thankfully it occurred just as we were leaving. All that meant was that we couldn’t take a shower on our return trip. This will become important in the last part of the Marathon.
On November 15th we went to the Zappeion Megaro.
Here’s me and Nick standing in front of the building:
The folks managing the Athens Classic Marathon (known by the cool kids in Greece as “To Klassiko”) did an excellent job managing the thousands of runners. There were 26000 registrants across the marathon, 10k and 5k and approximately 18000 folks who actually finished all races and at no point did you think that this was country that couldn’t manage it’s finances.
So we get there, within 10 minutes of our arrival collect our bib and information packet. The cool Klassiko marathon jersey was at the end of an Expo we had to schlep through.
After picking everything up, we found a nice cafe right next to the Zappeion Megaro. There I opened the packet and saw the route for the first time.
Let me observe that I have spent many many years in Athens. Let me also observe that I had run at that point 20 miles in my training runs. So I wasn’t expecting to be surprised by anything.
But for the first time I realized the enormity of the challenge in front of me.
As a pre-teen my grandfather Charalambos (my mom’s dad) would take me to Rafina to go swimming. Rafina in my mind was far far away. It was, in my mind, at the other end of the universe. And then I noticed that Marathon, the starting line was 15km away from Rafina.
Here’s my genuine reaction when I figured that out:
It was at that moment that the enormity of the task dawned on me.