Full Description Sfakia Sky Run

The gathering of the athletes will take place on Saturday, October 26, 2019, at the port of Sfakia. The athletes should be in the harbor at 6:45 in the morning, from where they will receive their numbers from the race secretariat until 8:00.

Athletes are required to deliver in a closed bag some mandatory equipment consisting of a towel, underwear, socks, trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, a windbreaker and a cap (plus whatever else they want). This bag will be given after their finish at the point where the cars of the event will be waiting for them (rousies point) to pick them up and take them to Anopoli. Beyond that they can, if they wish ,to hand over a bag with whatever other clothes they think are needed ,and find them on their return to Anopoli.

The closure of the secretariat will be followed by the technical briefing of the athletes, who will board the boats at 8:15 and will go to Loutro Sfakion, where the race will start at 9:00. The time limit for finishing is set at 5 hours and there will be two cut off points-gates, one in the village of Anopoli (4,5 km 680 d +) where athletes will have to pass under 70 minutes and one at “Mavros Charakas” (17,3 km 2.100 d +) from where athletes will have to pass under 4 hours.

In the first part of the race the athletes will cross the Loutro beach front and ascend the rocky path leading to Anopoli of Sfakia. In this part of the race they will climb to a distance of 3.5 kilometers, 680 meters of vertical gain and after passing the chapel of Agia Aikaterini ,they will take the downhill road-trail for 800 meters leading to Anopolis square. After crossing the square they have to turn left and at only 100 meters they will meet the first refueling station. This station is also a cut-off point for athletes as they will have to go through it
70 minutes after the start. Here the athletes should be adequately supplied with food and water and continue their journey by taking the asphalt that will lead them to the path that leads to the heart of the White Mountains (according to the signs and volunteers showing).

Entering the second part of the route, the athletes will run alternately on asphalt and dirt roads without special slopes for about 2.5km, turn right at the junction following the signaling and after 800 meters they will enter the path. From here, the steep and forested canyon called Porolagos will begin , sometimes moving on the trail of an old stone-made path and sometimes moving outside of it. After 4.5 km they will find the gorge exit at an altitude of 1,608 meters, where they will meet the second refueling station. So far, athletes will have gone 12 kilometers and have gained 1,800 meters of positive altitude.

Entering the third and final part of the route, the athletes will alternate on a dirt road and path for 5.3 kilometers, and will reach “Mavros Charakas”, where there will be the third and final refueling station. At this point, the athletes should be well hydrated and carry water for the next few kilometers until they finish at the top (Pachines). They must return back (walking) to that point to find again available water. “Mavros Charakas” Station is also the second checkpoint where athletes will have to pass no later than 4 hours after the start.

From this point on, athletes will move at an altitude of over 2,000 meters, only on a path of loose rock crossing and admiring the famous mountainous desert, a unique geological phenomenon which happens only in Crete for Europe. In fact, this is a stony area of many square kilometers with sparse herbaceous or bushy vegetation. Here, depending on the weather, the wind is very strong and frozen and the athletes will need to use the windscreen they are required to carry with them.

Crossing the mountain desert for 1.5 km and following the signing will turn left. From here they will have a visual contact with the finish point, the highest peak of the White Mountains in Pachnes, at an altitude of 2,454 meters. The athletes should then turn left to ascend the path which will take them to the top and the finish point in just 2 kilometers.
From the top, if the weather allows, athletes will be able to admire the unobstructed views of the Libyan Sea in the South and the interior of the White Mountains to the North. There they will admire what the locals call “the pelagos of peaks”. In fact, there are over 50 or more peaks over 2,000 meters in the mountain range of the White Mountains, which together with the hundreds of smaller ones give you the feeling that you are in the middle of a sea of mountains, peaks and gorges.

The athletes who finish , will receive the isothermal blanket offered by the organization and after enjoying the view of the top they will have to walk for 3 kilometers backwards (taking up the path that brought them at the top) and specifically towards “Mavros Charakas” where they met the third refueling station of the race. There they will be waiting for the vehicles of the event to take them back to Anopolis.

In Anopoli, athletes will have lunch with traditional Cretan dishes and at 17:00 there will be the awards ceremony .The first 3 men and the first 3 women of general category will be awarded. At 18:00, a coach will depart to return the athletes to the port of Sfakia to pick up their vehicles.