The 5th anniversary ROUT 100miler was celebrated
in the best possible way, since the race left the best impressions on the
athletes that had the chance to compete in the beautiful forests of Rodopi. A
long, although short in time journey of five years, reached this year’s
organization of Rodopi Advendurun, the beloved ROUT of the ultra-endurance and
adventure Greek athletes. Year after year, since 2009, ROUT leads its athletes
through a route of emotions, guided by the limits of their physical and mental
endurance. In addition to the journey, above all a difficult 100 miles race of
human endurance, which requires devotion and hard preparation.
In the end the 5th Rodopi Advendurun (ROUT) had all the elements that determined it as a successful athletic event of adventure and endurance. It is perhaps the only athletic event in Greece that emphasizes so much in the combination of these two structural components of the absolute experience in the open nature to such a degree. This year, the 5th organization was celebrated with two numerical facts that stand out. Firstly there were 115 athletes at the starting line, a number that was larger than all the previous numbers as well as a 75% finishing rate of the participants,proving the quality improvement of the athletes and the organization.
THIS YEAR’S RACE: The atmosphere of this year’s race was particularly cheery and family oriented as always, with old and new friends meeting in Erymanthos Forest Village in Haidou, and enjoying the beauty of this unique location during the days before the race.
On Friday at 6 in the morning, 115 athletes started the race in an enthusiastic atmosphere and under seemingly ideal weather conditions. From the beginning, two-three athletes were leading the race: Vasilache, Sidiropoulos, Tsantos and Prokopenko. Until Zarkadia (K-41) Marius Vasilache was leading the race with a small difference from Nikos Sidiropoulos and a bigger one from the rest. For the next 30 kilometers (Krousovo K-68) the situation remained the same, with Tsantos being temporarily out of the race because of a strain and Mavrogiannis, Bakas, Rallis and Petropoulos, following steadily behind at a short distance. At K-90 (Gioumourlou), as the night fell, the Romanian athlete had increased dramatically his difference from his opponents, passing this station over half an hour earlier than the rest, while in the women Russian Tatiana Maslova passed Lora Repsenko for the first time. The darkness welcomed the athletes spread on an imaginary line longer than 50 kilometers, a line that started from Krousovo and spread until Mega Rema, with Vasilache being ahead half an hour from Sidiropoulos and a battle being in full progress a bit behind: Mavrogiannis, Bakas, Rallis, Petropoulos and also a combatative Tsantos, who with an overexertion after his damage in Krpousovo and his temporary abandonment there, found himself again among the challengers of the race! A bit before midnight, in an absolutely quiet and unusually warm night, Nikos Sidiropoulos, who in the meanwhile had just passed ahead of the Romanian athlete arrived at Zarkadia first after 123 kilometers, while Vasilache arrived a little later and stated that he will abandon the race. Further behind, Mavrogiannis in the 3rd position, decreased his difference from the first athletes. Quite behind, Maslova arrived as the first woman, having a safety difference from Repsenko, more than an hour. Zarkadia stays awake along with the athletes of the race, that arrive one after another, with the big volume arriving there after 2 o’clock at night and until the sun rises at the next morning. At the last section of 40 kilometers until Haidou, 86 of the 115 athletes continued, under ideal weather conditions. At night now, after Zarkadia, a beautiful single combat evolved between Sidiropoulos and Mavrogiannis, which lasted almost 5 hours until the uphill at Kapetan-Theologos, 150 kilometers from the start and only 14 before the finish.
Pavlos Mavrogiannis finally passed ahead and increased the difference in the end, finishing at dawn at Erymanthos Forest Village, with the second best time ever recorded,24:31:14. Totally unexpected was the arrival of the second and third winner, who arrived with a difference of a few seconds between them at the finish line! So, Nikos Sidiropoulos finished a bit before the barrier of the 25 hours (24:59:22) and Stratos Rallis a little after (25:00:15). The two athletes that complete the five arrived relatively close, the experienced but also tired from this year’s UTMB, Vagelis Bakas(25:22:58) and Nikos Petropoulos (25:50:13). It is worth mentioning Kostas Tsantos who finished at the 6th position (28:59:42), who ran the last 120 kilometers with a serious strain!
In women, where all four that started the race finished, the winner was Russian Tatiana Maslova with 30:59:17 while in the 2nd position was Lora Repsenko (33:11:51) and 3rd Jo Manta (33:30:21). In total, 86 athletes finished, all within the time limit of 40 hours, with a spontaneous festival taking place upon the arrival of the last athletes and the “Broom”, a little before 10 at night!
THE STATISTICS: The statistics of this year’s race are interesting once again, since with this race we have completed five organizations with the same route, so any statistic analysis has a serious background.
The main element of course for 2014 is the steady increase of the participations, as this year went up by 30% compared to 2013, reaching 115, number that makes a new record. For the record, the number of athletes that participated in the first ROUT 100 Miles in 2010, was just 50. The correspondence between men and women remains overwhelming (97/3), proving the fact that ROUT repels with the same intensity that it attracts!
In this year’s race 8 countries were represented, with 10% of the athletes that started the race having come from abroad.
The improvement of the level of the athletes and their determination was apparent this year from the percentage of those who finished, being helped by the excellent weather conditions, which reached 75%, a percentage probably higher than that of the previous years (65% n 2013).
After 5 races (2010-2014), the number of athletes that have finished ROUT one or more times has reached 163, 11 out of which being women while 20 athletescome from abroad. The youngest athlete that finished the race this year was 24 years old (Panagiotis Panaritis) and the organization is especially happy that young athletes have begun their career with a 100 miles race in the mountains, a fact that shows a change of mentality in regards to the sport in Greece.
The average performance this year was 34:45, worse in relation to 34:27 of 2013 but with the best performances being the best in the history of the organization! So the performance of this year’s winner Pavlos Mavrogiannis features as the second best of the race, while the same happened with the performances of the next three athletes in this year’s classification (Sidiropoulos, Rallis, Bakas), as a result 4 out of 5 best performances in the history of ROUT have happened this year, indicating the improvement of the level and the prospects of further improvement in the future! Also remarkable in the chart of the race records, is the improvement of the performance of this year’s winner, who improved his time by almost 9 hours, the same applies for the other three athletes that were mentioned above, with a total of 22 athletes of 2014 having improved their previous performance. Only 20 athletes had a performance under 30 hours in the 5 years of the race, one of which is a woman (Rannelle McCoy 29:50:56).
A special mention of the two athletes that have finished all five races (5) and these areDimitris Kazouris and Christos Tsilikidis, to whom the organization wishes the best for the future.
Anyway, 55% of the finishers are athletes that finished for the first time while one out of four that took part in the race was new in ROUT. In regards to the “ideal performance” of this year’s ROUT which is captured in the total of the four fastest partial performances in the relative quarters of the route, this was at 23:34 (at 22:54 for 2013) and consists of the following times: a) Haidou-Zarkadia 4:28 (Vasilache new record), b) Zarkadia-Pyramida 6:22 (Vasilache), c) Pyramida-Zarkadia 5:27 (Sidiropoulos), d) Zarkadia-HAidou (7:17). In the total performances, 12% finished in less than 30 hours, 35% between 30 and 35 hours and the rest 53% between 35 and 40 hours. The improvement here is obvious since last year 65% of the athletes finished in more than 35 hours.
THE VOLUNTEERS: A special mention belongs rightfully to the people who supported the event for one more year. We mean of course the volunteers of ROUT, who year after year enrich their knowledge and their experience and offer valuable services, staying awake at the stations under all circumstances. In this year’s race, the very good weather helped their effort and so they managed to maximize their support. The stations were organized mainly by them, and were autonomous in matters of food and first aides. A characteristic circumstance in this year’s race was the web-page at check point at Tsataki at K117 of the route, which presented live results and photos!
VOLUNTEER GROUPS: Greek Rescuers, Rescue Team of Kavala, Educational Center of Life Support, Greek Red Cross , Greek Scouts (Xanthi Division), Club of Radio-Amateurs Radio-operators of Xanthi, Drama Forestry, Municipality of Xanthi, Club of Xanthi Hunters.
SPONSORS: Methexis Foundation, Meto-News.gr, Haidou Restaurant, Copy Sevice, Grigoris Small Meals, “Something Else”, The North Face Hellas, V15.gr, Pharmaceutical Club of Xanthi, Horizon Show, Management Body of Rodopi Mountain Range, Cosmote, 55 Peaks, Nutrixxion Malamidis, Vlachos Tools, Afrotex, FDOR, Tropos Branding PCo.
COVERAGE: Xinhua News Agency (Team of the Representatives of the National News Agency of China, came from Athens to cover the race), Horizon Show.
GOOD CAUSE: Six athletes ran for a good cause, five athletes for “Floga” and one athlete for the “Smile of the Child”
LESSONS LEARNED: Of course, as years go by and our experience get richer, the organization and the people who serve it become wiser. So, after five organizations the organization has come to the conclusion that in the ultras there are never “normal circumstances” and this is one more factor that differentiates ultra-endurance mountain races from the other smaller distance races. The objective but as well as the subjective conditions, at least at ROUT, will always be very serious parameters which make the race more difficult, teaching us at the same time to respect nature and its superiority to human strength. Therefore, in the future, the organization will take under consideration this factor for each thought and decision, so it can keep a high quality level of the event and also be conservative with its expectations for its development in the future.
COMING SOON: For 2015, as each year, the 6th organization of ROUT will take place during the third 3-day weekend of October, which is during October 16-17-18, with the registrations opening in May. The Organizing Committee understanding the responsibilities we all have for a safer race, beyond the improvement that it will make in the organizing sector, decided to make the qualifications for the race a little stricter, reducing the years of the qualifying races from three to two, as well as having time limits for the qualifying races. Also, we announce that the other ultra race of the organization (Rodopi Challenge 50Μ) will take place on the 25th of April and of course will be a qualifying race for ROUT.
Closing, the organization wants to thank heartily all the athletes that honored for one more year this unique race, which rewards its athletes with indelible emotions. Have a nice winter everyone, in good health, and continue to enjoy your races.
The Organizing Committee
Orestini, Xanthi, 13 November 2014