Italy’s Cudin makes most of early lead to win Spartathlon

Italy’s Ivan Cudin won the 245.3-kilometer ultra-marathon Spartathlon race Saturday in 23 hours 3 minutes 6 seconds. The 35-year-old mechanical engineer advanced to the front early in the race and kept up a healthy lead over Jan Albert Lantink of the Netherlands, who finished second at 23:31.22. Germany’s Jan Prochaska was third at 24:55.58, with another three German runners finishing in the top 10. Cudin was seventh last year in the race clocking 26:20.45 and in May this year was third in the IAU 24 Hour World Championships held in Brive, France. Great Britain’s Emily Gelder was the first female to cross the finish line at 30:17.03, a time that saw her place 14th overall. The Spartathlon, which traces the classical route of Athenian messenger Pheidippides 2,500 years ago, started at the Acropolis in Athens on Friday and ended in the Peloponnesean town of Sparta. A total of 351 male and female runners from around the world participated in this year’s Spartathlon with more than half failing to finish. The Spartathlon is described as the world’s most grueling race, and is run over rough tracks and muddy paths, crossing vineyards and olive groves, climbing steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, takes the runners on the 1,200-meter ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night. (AFP)

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