More than 2.500 athletes from 35 countries & 5 continents at Zagori Mountain Running 2023

Photo: Runners crossing the impressive Drakolimni (photo by Zagori Mountain Running)

For the 12th year, the Region of Epirus and the Municipality of Zagori hosted the biggest mountain running race in Greece and one of the top in Europe, which is an initiative of My Adventure, on July 21-23, 2023. Stone-built villages, traditional bridges, unique sights such as the imposing Vikos Gorge, Skala Vradetou, the Voidomatis River, the protected area of the natural wealth of the Vikos-Aoos National Park as well as the region’s rich biodiversity, created the ideal setting for this year’s Zagori Mountain Running. Participants had to encounter the high temperatures of the three days and the new challenges of the modified, for this purpose, routes and starting times.

More than 2,500 young and old athletes and more than 10,000 visitors found themselves in Zagori. They lived this unique celebration of mountain sports tourism, shared unprecedented experiences, and created memories for a lifetime in the place beyond the mountain. The athletes who took part were from 35 countries and 5 continents, such as U.S.A., Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Morocco, Djibouti, Pakistan, Lebanon, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, Austria, Malta, Serbia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Israel, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Cyprus, North Macedonia, and Greece.

Photo from the start of the Marathon+ 44km race (photo by Zagori Mountain Running)

New TeRA 60km race & the ultimate 44+km marathon

On Saturday, 22 July, the first race started at 04:30 in the morning from the manorial village of Tsepelovo, with the modified, due to the high temperatures, TeRA 60km race offering countless joys and thrills to the participants. In the men’s category, Fifth Element athlete Alexandros Tzoumakas finished first with a time of 6:34’:43’’, Evangelos Noulas was second with 6:37’:43’ and Charalambos Kalaboukas finished third with 6:45’:16’’.

In the women’s category, the Austrian Sophia Schnabl finished first with a time of 8:08’:07’’, Niki Zioga was second with 8:16’:51’’ and Nikoleta Tzavara of The North Face was third with 8:42’:43’’.

See all TeRA results here.

The top mountain running event of the summer continued with the Marathon+ 44km taking place at Voidomatis Springs, Megalo Papigo, and Astrakas Refuge. In the men’s category, Dimitrios Eleftheriou finished first with a time of 4:43’:36’’, Vassilis Balamotis was second with 4:46’:29’’ and Konstantinos Giannopoulos was third with 4:53’:36’’.

In the women’s category, the Olympic rowing bronze medalist Christina Giazitzidou finished first with a time of 5:21’:52’’, Georgia Kanouta was second with 6:34’:25’’, and Irini Gioti finished third with 6:49’:54’’.

See all Marathon+ 44km results here.

Runners crossing the impressive three-arched bridge (photo by Zagori Mountain Running)

Thousands of participants in the 21km & 10km at the “place beyond the mountain”

On Sunday, July 23, the competitive and more massive mountain routes were held. The Half Marathon 21km started from Tsepelovo, with the athletes running to the Tymfi mountain complex and passing from the Kipoi village, the three-arched bridge, the Kokkoros bridge, and Koukouli village. In the men’s category, Emmanuel Pourikas finished first with a time of 1:49’:02’’, which was also an event record, Nikos Ponireas was second with 1:52’:14’ and the French Laurent Vicente finished third with 1:55’:49’’.

In the women’s category, Lemonia Panagiotou finished first with a time of 2:23’:49’’, Chrysanthi Sfakianaki was second with 2:42’:28’’ and the Serbian Tijana Panic was third with 2:44′:17”.

See all Half Marathon 21km results here.

The Entry Race 10km took place afterward, with participants swarming about the route, facing the unique view of the Vikos Gorge and passing through the Skala Tsepelovo. In the men’s category, George Kalapodis finished first with a time of 0:44’:22’, George Dimoulas of The North Face was second with 0:44’:42’’ and Stavros Ginis finished third with 0:44’:57’’.

In the women’s category, Stavroula Papadopoulou finished first with a time of 1:00’:48’’, Evangelia Gialamatzi was second with 1:01’:08’’ and Thalia Zoi finished third with 1:01’:12’’.

See all Entry Race 10km results here.

Award ceremony to the winners of the TeRA 60km race by Mr. Vassilis Tzoumakas (photo by Zagori Mountain Running)

Hundreds of children in the ZAGORAKI race

On Saturday afternoon, Tsepelovo was filled with smiles, children’s voices, and families who introduced their children to sports. The children’s ZAGORAKI Race by ZAGORI Natural Mineral Water brought together more than 300 children, 3 to 12 years old, who ran the 1km distance with their favorite water as their ally in hydration! The children were warmed up by the fitness trainer Emmi Siouzou with a pleasant dynamic exercise program with music. At the end of the ZAGORAKI Race, 3 gifts for outdoor activities were raffled off to 3 lucky little runners while all the children enjoyed non-carbonated GREEN orangeades. As part of the children’s race, 3 children’s books “Trechontas o Teri egine xefteri” by Leftheris Plakidas, and 1 book, “Swimming beyond the limits” by the ultra-swimmer Spyros Chrysikopoulos, were also raffled.

ZAGORI Natural Mineral Water is the absolute hydration sponsor for athletes and visitors

ZAGORI Natural Mineral Water supports sports and fair play as an ally and helper of Greece’s biggest mountain running race, the Zagori Mountain Running. The event’s Grand Sponsor offered all athletes the necessary hydration and rejuvenation. Throughout these challenging races, runners drank the ZAGORI Athletic Natural Mineral Water, while at the finish, they had the opportunity to enjoy GREEN COLA and GREEN orangeade. Of course, all the visitors enjoyed this celebration of sports with cool ZAGORI Natural Mineral Water and delicious iced GREEN COLA and GREEN orangeade.

ZAGORI Mountain Running race is an integral part of the society and culture of Zagorochoria. Of the “place beyond the mountain”, that offers the ZAGORI Natural Mineral Water. Because in this place, we call water ZAGORI!

Photo from the start of the ZAGORAKI Race for children (photo by Zagori Mountain Running)

Innovative products and activities from The North Face

The top outdoor clothing & gear company, The North Face, participated for another year as a Grand Sponsor. As a premium outdoor brand, The North Face offered a unique experience to all athletes who encountered the challenges of the races. More specifically, the athletes who completed the TeRA and Marathon+ 44km races received unique gifts from the company, which reminded them of the incredible adventure they faced and completed. The North Face, which has supported the event since its beginning, is known for the quality and credibility of its outdoor products. People had the opportunity to visit The North Face’s iconic 2-Meter Dome tent while the company’s booth showcased its pinnacle Summit Series trail running collection, both in clothing and footwear. In collaboration with the brand ambassador George Dimoulas, trail runner and mural artist, he created live a big mural on the theme of The North Face’s motto “NEVER STOP EXPLORING” and the preservation of the wealth of nature as a legacy for the next generation. Finally, the company allowed the little explorers to test their capabilities for one more year and have fun safely on its climbing wall.

Race support from Fifth Element’s flagship store

Since the event’s first year, Fifth Element, the fully specialized store of sports activities, has been the race’s Grand Sponsor. This year, Fifth Element gave away a -10% off coupon valid on all their new products with every race registration. The company actively contributes to the protection of nature, concerning the environment, strengthening the work of the Vikos – Aoos National Park and allocating part of its income for this purpose. At the same time, this year’s collectible Buff®, with its unique design, was dedicated to the rich and rare flora of Zagori and was available for purchase from Fifth Element’s online and physical store.

Little explorers had fun safely on The North Face’s climbing wall (photo by Zagori Mountain Running)

In the context of this year’s Zagori Mountain Running, the owner of My Adventure and Fifth Element and race’s organizer, Mr. Vassilis Tzoumakas, stated: “I feel proud of this great event that we had despite the adverse conditions and high temperatures we faced, as we adapted immediately with the safety of our athletes in mind. We saw thousands of participants and visitors full of smiles, which is our biggest reward. I would like to thank the Region of Epirus, the Municipality of Zagori, all the sponsors who stood by us from the very beginning, as well as all our partners and above all our hundreds of volunteers. We continue even stronger for the 13th year of Zagori Mountain Running on July 19-21, 2024”.

The event supported Make-A-Wish Greece

The organization of Zagori Mountain Running supported Make-A-Wish this year to fulfill the wishes of children with serious illnesses. In particular, the event’s collective wristband was offered for purchase to participants and visitors, and all proceeds were allocated for the active support of the vital work of Make-A-Wish Greece.

Unique Prizes for the Nature of Zagori

This year, the prizes for the Zagori Mountain Running 2023 winners were handmade clay sculptures, crafted with love and artistry by the artist Renevi Polonyfi, of the School of Fine Arts of the University of Ioannina. These unique works of art were truly special and represented the natural beauty of the Zagori region. The theme chosen by the sculptor for the prizes was the “birth of the flower,” which perfectly aligns with the race’s philosophy and the prevailing atmosphere of this year’s event.

Tsepelovo was filled with children smiles at the ZAGORAKI Race (photo by Zagori Mountain Running)

Full Support by the Sponsors

ZAGORI Natural Mineral Water, The North Face, and Fifth Element were the event’s Grand Sponsors.

JEEP AUTOLINEA Ioannina was the Sponsor.

NOMAD Premium Greek Honey, Melissa, Costa Coffee, Neversecond, Tailwind, Ready, Anthrax, Dole, Green Cola, Myelements, Dodoni, Ifantis, Igloo, Comodo, Ostracon, Astrakas Mountain Refuge were the Official Supporters.

Zagori Mountain Running was organized by My Adventure with Co-organizers the Region of Epirus and the Municipality of Zagori.

Institutional Supporters were the Northern Pindos National Park and the Vikos-Aoos Geopark.

The event was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism.

Critical was the support offered by the Volunteers Samaritans Corp of the Regional Department of Hellenic Red Cross of Ioannina, the Cultural Association of Tsepelovo “Anastasios Tsouflis,” and all the volunteers who helped during the races on the routes, at the aid stations and the finish.

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