Day 204 – EU – Greece [Limani Litochorou to Nea Agathoupoli]

13th September 2020
Run: 43km

A tranquil start marred by directional challenges and meeting with Georgia for the final 20km to the Gulf of Thermaikos

Today’s run started easily but quickly turned into a directional challenge thanks to Google Maps again! It’s ironic that the last company I served prior to starting the world run was Google… and I keep encountering issues with their rather irrational walking suggestions!

Maybe I’ll come back from this journey with an interesting array of suggestions for improvement:) Anyhow, about 15km into the run, I was quite surprised to be running on a trail that ended in the middle of wild fields with not a marked path in sight. I owe my quick exit and return to safe roads to the discovery of a narrow and low tunnel (I had to bend!) found in the midst of wild overgrown bushes.

I am usually not worried about changes of routes and distances as I go along – but today was different. Georgia had contacted me on FB and was keen to run with me. I had informed her of my planned route and I was worried that we would not be able to meet each other. After a lot of changes, and thanks to Live Location sharing services, we were able to meet at km24. Relief! On we went, whilst her friend, Georgios, was driving the car ahead of us.

I did not know Georgia, so the discussion started around our respective running backgrounds. As we kept on chatting… I discovered she is in fact an amazing runner! She’s the first person I meet who has run the Badwater Ultra Marathon, and not only that – her achievemnts includes the Ultra Trail of Mont Blanc, Grand Raid des Pyrennees, Spartathlon and so much more. Next week, she is about to embark on the Delfi to Old Olympia race (250km if you please) – I was gobsmacked.

Needless to say running by her side was easy, she is very familiar with the pace of long distance running and knew how to keep it conversational and easy. We ran on a country road that was going up and down the valley, surrounded by fields of cotton and… (surprise) kiwis! The agricultural landscape then gave way to the sea and the West end of the Thermaikos Gulf (which goes all the way to Thessaloniki on the East). We ended the run in Nea Agathoupoli… in front of the statue of Filippos, father of Alexander the Great! 

As we finished the run, Georgia and Georgios accompanied me for a swim, the last one of my journey in the Aegean sea. I won’t have another opportunity to swim in this sea through the course of the world run. And seeing as I am heading north to continental Europe, this is the last sea swim I can enjoy. I may return to the sea tonight for one last dip in the warm sea!

I then had lunch sitting at a taverna by the Gulf of Thermaikos, where all three main rivers of Greece converge. Greek folk music playing, under the platanos tree, animated discussions and loud laughter from the party of Greeks, cats waiting at the end of the tables for their piece of your meal, the sound of the engine of the fishing boat returning to the shore. Summer is officially over, people are wearing jeans and those on the beach now seek cover from the breeze and not from the sun anymore.

Check my daily run GPS data on Garmin or Strava (icons top right of your screen) – here is the map of today’s run: