Description Sfakia Sky Marathon – Sea to Summit

 

 The Arkalos mountain athletes’ association, under the auspices of Region of Crete and the Municipality of Sfakia, organizes the Sfakia Sky Marathon – Sea to Summit (43Km+3000) mountain running race at the last Saturday of October.

 

This is a special race, unique for the Greek trail running scene. As its name implies, initially, it consists of a continuous uphill which starts from sea level and specifically from Loutro Sfakion, and passes through the highests peaks of the White Mountains Pachnes (2.454 m) after 20 kilometers and 2.600 meters of positive altitude! and also from the peak named ‘Mavros Gourgouthas’ (2.435m)

 

From there, athletes have the opportunity to admire more than 60 peaks above 2.000 altitude, a unique phenomenon for the Greek mountains!

 

Then the route moves to the heart of «Madara» – a name used by the locals for the White Mountains – and reaches the most isolated plateau of the island, at the location Katsiveli at 2.000 meters in the mitata (small houses made of stone) of which the breeders are making cheese still today.

 

From there, the athletes will return and finish in Anopoli Sfakion, traveling a total of 43 kilometers with 3.000 meters of positive and 2.462 meters of negative altitude difference.

 

The race, is a journey from the past to the present as it mostly moves on the paths that for centuries were used by the shepherds of the area to lift, during the summer months, their herds on the mountain to find food. With the arrival of winter, they descended from the same paths to lower altitudes to spend the winter. At the same time it is a trip from summer to winter, since the temperatures at that time at the starting point (sea level) are summery but at the top (at 2.454 meters) it is often close to 5 degrees Celsius or even lower.

 

Athletes participating in the race will have the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful places in the White Mountains, to experience the unique mountainous desert landscape and from the top to admire the unobstructed view of the Libyan Sea to the south and the “sea of peaks” to the north.

 

The gathering of the athletes will take place in the port of Chora Sfakion. There they will receive their numbers from the secretariat of the race and will board with the ferryboat that will transport them to the picturesque port of Loutro Sfakion in 15 minutes, where the race will start from the ferryboat!           

 

Due to the specificity of the race, for the safety of the athletes but also the protection of the natural environment from the human footprint, a maximum limit of 100 people is set.