Zagori Mountain Running: 2.600 athletes from 27 countries
Zagori Mountain Running: 2.600 athletes from 27 countries on the beautiful background scenery of Zagori
The 10th anniversary race, Zagori Mountain Running, was completed in the best possible way. Zagori’s 46 unique villages, perched on steep slopes, with their impressive stone mansions, the cobbled streets, the arched bridges and the Northern Pindos National Park, composed the race’s extraordinary landscape.
More than 2,600 professional and amateur athletes from 27 countries, visited Epirus, on July 23-25, 2021, for the biggest mountain running race, Zagori Mountain Running. Races were held in utmost safety with a strict health protocol, in the presence of the Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection Issues, Mr. Giorgos Amyras. The event highlighted the sports, tourism, and cultural aspect of the region, attracting more than 12,500 visitors, with the hotels’ occupancy in Zagorochoria reaching 100% during the races.
Passion at the “place beyond the mountain”
Races’ action started in Tsepelovo, on Saturday, July 24, at 04:30 in the morning, with the TeRA 80km mountain running race. In the men’s milestone-race in the history of mountain ultras, the top Spanish athlete, Miguel Angel Heras Hernandez was the winner. Fotis Zisimopoulos followed in 2nd place and Apostolos Tzoumakas finished very close to him in the 3rd place. The Spanish athlete highlighted right after his finish: “The truth is that I did not expect to meet such a beautiful race. I saw an excellent event, with an amazingly well-signed route, with exceptional natural landscapes that anyone can visit and admire”.
In the women’s race, Nikoleta Tzavara finished 1st, followed by Styliani Leonidaki in the 2nd place and Martha Xirofotou in the 3rd place.
At 06:00 in the morning, the Marathon 44+ was held. In the fulfilling 44km race, Thanasis Pagounadis was the winner in men, Alexandros Tzoumakas finished 2nd and Georgios Dimoulas was 3rd. Respectively, in the women’s category, the bronze Olympic medalist Christina Giazitzidou finished 1st, Dimitra Tsalokosta was 2nd and Maria Malai took the 3rd place.
On Sunday, July 25, the two brand new routes of the Half Marathon 21km and Entry Race 10km followed. In the men’s 21km route, Aggelos Fragkoulis was the winner, followed by Bill Balamotis in the 2nd place, and Lampros Basiadimas in the 3rd place. In women, Dimitra Chairopoulou was the winner, Anastasia Tzarou finished 2nd and Maria Loufeki 3rd.
Finally, in men’s 10km, Georgios Dimoulas was the winner of the race, Athanasios Barbagiannis was 2nd and Ioannis Stalikas was 3rd. In women, Panagiota Toka finished 1st, Elena Klapanara 2nd and Despina Floka 3rd.
You may check here the races’ full results.
In the context of the 10th anniversary Zagori Mountain Running, the representative of My Adventure, Mr. Vasilis Tzoumakas stated: “With great pleasure we welcomed again visitors from 27 different countries in Zagori, in an effort from all of us to return to normality, while showcasing the region’s mountain sports tourism. With an even stricter health protocol, we laid the foundations from the beginning, for a safe event and met again with beloved familiar faces and new people. I would like to thank all the sponsors, partners and of course the volunteers who stood by us and supported this effort from the first moment. We are now renewing our appointment with the biggest mountain running race for 2022”.
An event with environmental awareness
The Natural Mineral Water ZAGORI, the event’s grand sponsor, offered the necessary hydration and revitalization to all athletes, in the new 100% recyclable, ZAGORI GO GREEN bottles made with 30% recycled plastic. With the message “we do not need rules to make the right move, our conscience is enough”, ZAGORI GO GREEN in collaboration with the National Collective Alternative Management and Recycling System of Packaging “REWARDING RECYCLING”, invited the public to recycle their plastic, glass or metal packaging that they used, at the Mobile Integrated Recycling Center with photovoltaic panels, which was located at the event’s venue. Moreover, on Saturday afternoon at the end of the races, in the context of environmental responsibility and familiarization with the concept of recycling, a draw was held, rewarding with gifts the participants and visitors who recycled their packaging.
Athletes ran with VECTIV technology
During the races, all participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the VECTIV series pioneering technology that the leading outdoor clothing and equipment company The North Face presented. Vectiv turned energy into momentum and propelled all new athletes forward with the motto “Power Further”. As part of this year’s activities, new explorers were able to discover and connect with nature in the designated “Camping by The North Face” venue, the young explorers attempted the unique climbing wall, while the outdoor explorer Christina Flampouri shared her experiences with the public, while presented and signed her new book “At the 7 summits”.
Contribution to the protection of the Vikos-Aoos Geopark
Fifth Element, as a sponsor of the event, being the most specialized sports activity store that represents the leading outdoor companies, is always on the side of renowned athletes, while supporting sports events that promote culture and contribute to the tourism development of Epirus. This year, Fifth Element, offered exclusively for purchase the collectible BUFF of Zagori Mountain Running 2021. This way, the company contributed towards the work for the protection and conservation of the Vikos-Aoos Geopark’s unique biodiversity.
The collectible bracelet was available for a good cause
With the “Respect the Mountains” ecological message, the event contributed once again to society as a whole. Zagori Mountain Running participants were able to purchase the collectible bracelet and contribute to the society as a whole, as all the proceeds from its sales will be given to support the work of the Association of Parents of Children with Neoplastic Disease “Floga” of Ioannina.
Research on the financial footprint of mountain sports tourism in Greece
Zagori Mountain Running innovated, as in collaboration with the leading private educational institution in the country, Deree – The American College of Greece and the companies Fifth Element and ActiveMedia Group invested in the research and collection of important information about the financial footprint of mountain sports tourism in Greece. During the races, a survey was conducted on participating athletes and visitors of the region, the results of which will be presented in the coming months.
Races with utmost safety
The event was conducted based on the strict health protocol designed by the organizing committee with the approval of the Health Scientific Committee of the General Secretariat of Sports. All participants entered the event’s venue either by presenting the EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate, or by providing the negative result of a rapid test or molecular PCR test conducted within 48 hours before the start of their race. At the same time, for the public’s best service, the event ensured there was a Mobile Health Team unit available of the Hellenic National Public Health Organization from Ioannina, conducting free rapid tests for participants and citizens. Finally, the athletes on all routes started gradually, in order to avoid overcrowding at the starting point.
Natural Mineral Water ZAGORI, The North Face and Fifth Element were the event’s Grand Sponsors.
Hyundai Gartzonikas was a Sponsor.
Nomad Premium Greek Honey, Mouzaki V. & SIA EE, Melissa, Dodoni, Dole, Alpin Outdoor Activities, Buff, Ostracon and Astraka Mountain Hut were the event’s Official Supporters.
Zagori Mountain Running was organized by My Adventure.
The event was co-organized by the Region of Epirus and the Municipality of Zagori.
Northern Pindos National Park and the Vikos-Aoos Geopark were the event’s Institutional Supporters.