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6ish Miles. 600ish Baklava. An Oral History of the Athens Marathon 10k.

Hear all about running a 10k through the streets of Athens from two people who went out and did it.

Man smiling and standing in front of a vineyard giving a peace sign.

Tom Corbett
Associate Creative Director, Copywriter
February 29, 2024

Full disclosure, I did not run the Athens Marathon 10k last year. As far as this blog is concerned, I’m just the words guy. But guess what? Two EF Ultimate Break staff members did run the 6-and-change-mile race last November, and I was lucky enough to chat with them a bit about their experience.

(A quick aside for my boss and my boss only. If you are not my boss, please keep scrolling. Hey, if you send me to Greece, I’ll run any distance you want. Deal?)

Before I dive in, you could probably use some context. Run Athens is a one-of-its-kind trip to the Greek capital—a week-long adventure on which travelers have the option to run the full marathon or its 5k and 10k races. Last year was the inaugural departure of the trip (not the marathon, that happened in 490 BC), and Lea Peltier, Director of Production, and Thandi Kopolo, Senior Production Specialist, hopped into the fray. When they got back, I had so many questions.

Handwritten sign that says "EF Ultimate Break Athens Marathon 2023"

Tom: So…HOW WAS IT?!

Thandi: The trip was an incredible experience. I met wonderful people and created so many amazing new memories… Everyone had come on the trip for different reasons and with different goals in mind and it was such a special moment to celebrate everyone’s achievements together after all the races were finished.

Lea: This trip was so much fun! We had a perfect balance between organized activities, leisure moments to wander through Athens and prepare for the race, and an entire day dedicated to running and cheering on fellow group members.

Tom: Amaaazing. Now, were you both big runners when you took on the challenge of Run Athens?

Lea: I run 5k to 10k almost every week, but I am not very disciplined and don’t follow a running plan. I had only done one official 10k race before.

Thandi: This was the first 10k I ran! It has motivated me to sign up for more races.

A large stadium lit up at night and filled with runners and spectators with the Olympic rings in the background.

Tom: First, I have to say congrats on your accomplishments! Thandi, do you have any advice for other first-time 10k runners?

Thandi: Try and find a good training schedule before your race, including some uphill and downhill training. Pick a running outfit that will keep you comfortable for the entire race. Learn about what works for you in terms of pacing, using gels or not, playlists, and read about the route that you are going to run. You are about to go and run a race in the original location where the marathon began—that’s amazing—so have fun with it!

Tom: Love it. I have to ask—what were your FAVORITE parts of the Run Athens trip?

Lea: I loved the fact that, even though we had only met three days prior to the race, there was this shared enthusiasm and mutual support during the various races. It created such a nice atmosphere where we were all eager to uplift and encourage one another!

Thandi: One of the highlights of the trip for me was when the people who had finished their races (either the 5k or 10k) gathered at the end of the Marathon race and we all made our own posters to cheer on the people finishing the Marathon. Everyone felt genuine excitement each time we spotted someone from the group, and we were cheering as loud as we could which put a huge smile on their faces and gave them one final boost of motivation. Our cheering and posters were very popular with the rest of the crowd which was fun!

Someone running down a tree-lined street and high-fiving a spectator while other spectators cheer them on.

Tom: The group camaraderie seems like it’s what really makes this trip special.

Thandi: Another amazing moment was finishing the 10k in the Panathenaic Stadium. It is such an impressive structure, and the atmosphere was so lively which just added to the excitement of finishing the race.

Tom: YES! Home of the first Olympic games. Such a cool finish line moment for the group. Thanks for filling us in on your experiences. Any last words for the people at home?

Lea: You will not regret booking this tour! You will explore Athens, make new friends, savor Greek cuisine, and run a 5k, 10k or full marathon in the city associated with the marathon’s origin! You will laugh, cry, feel proud, encourage others, have fun, learn new things… so many emotions and good energy in one tour. It is an adventure you won’t forget!

Runners in plastic ponchos and spectators milling around a running track on a cloudy day with a hill and trees in the background.

There you have it, a peek at what it’s really like to run the 10k on EF Ultimate Break’s Run Athens trip. And I have to say, it sounds pretty incredible. You eat all the Greek food, visit incredible ancient sites, dabble in Athenian nightlife, and even get to head home feeling like a Greek god or goddess—with a medal around your neck.

About the Author

Tom Corbett is an Associate Creative Director, Copywriter at EF Ultimate Break. Tom’s been to 20 countries and counting, including Spain, Italy, Japan, and France. His favorite Greek food is a gyro and his go-to running fuel is salted watermelon GU. He does run, but not as much as he should and not as well as Lea and Thandi.

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