If you’re a runner or a swimmer, you’ll know that there is nothing better than taking part in an open and friendly competition, pushing yourself to new heights against amateur and professional athletes alike.
Actually there is: doing all of that on the magical island of Santorini.
For the third year running, Greece’s most famous island will be hosting the Santorini Experience, a three-day event with running and open water swimming races set against some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful landscapes the planet has to offer.
The races are to take place between October 6-8 when both the intense summer heat and high-season crowds will have dissipated, allowing participants the opportunity to enjoy the island at its finest.
Swimmers will compete in a one-of-a-kind route extending 2.4km (1.5 miles) from the volcano in the center of Santorini’s caldera to the old port of Fira.
Amateur athletes of all ages will compete alongside professional athletes from Greece and abroad. Among those taking part is Greek open water swimming world champion, Kelly Araouzou who said of the event, “Santorini Experience is, to me, a unique experience, as the feeling of competing in one of the most famous places in the world is incredible! I strongly advise everyone to come and live this unique experience, on an island which is a tourist destination for the entire world all year long.”
For runners, the schedule includes three different routes, on Sunday October 8th, which have as background the unique views of the volcano, overlooking the caldera as well as the settlements of Imerovigli, Firostefani and Oia. Specifically, participants can choose from a 5 km running and dynamic walking route, a 10 km route for long-distance runners and 15 km race for those who love stamina, technique and strength. All routes start at the desalination plant in Oia, feature stretches of dirt track and end again in Oia.
Registration for the event is now open – click here for more information.
Santorini Experience to Honor Aristides Alafouzos
Meanwhile, following the death of Aristides Alafouzos in May, Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos announced that the Santorini Experience would pay special tribute to the legendary ship and newspaper owner who was born on the island in 1924.
“This year, which is very emotional for us, the 5 km route will be named Aristides Alafouzos. The route, begins from the desalination factory of Oia, which was donated to the island’s inhabitants by this great man. This action, as a minimum tribute to the late Aristides Alafouzos, while in the future there will be also other acts of expressing our gratitude”.
Collaborations with Ryanair and Fox News
The 3rd Santorini Experience promises to be the biggest yet, thanks to glowing reviews from previous years (last year the organization was awarded at the Ermis Awards with a Golden Award for the best sports event production in Greece) and the cooperation of major sponsors. For one, Ryanair as official airline partner of “Santorini Experience” connects Santorini to 13 cities abroad via Athens. Last year athletes from 28 countries took part in the event, according to organizers. So far this year 80% of those registered are from Russia, Austria Italy and Germany.
The event will also receive worldwide coverage via Fox Sports which also covered the Santorini Experience in 2016. The global network will be broadcasting a highlight reel from that event on June 19 throughout Europe.
“Santorini Experience” will take place under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization and the Hellenic Swimming Federation with the Municipality of Santorini, DAPPOS and Active Media Group as co-organizers.