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NIEUWS van Februari 2003

The day after: a proud Flight Lieutenant John Scholtens, Wing Commander John Foden and Flight Sergeant John McCarthy (from left to right) before the statue of Leonidas in Sparta on 10 October 1982, after the successful completion of their trial run of the Spartathlon the day before.

This publication is a nice follow-up of the contact with John Foden on the ‘reprint’ of his article ‘The Changing Spartathlon’, in which he compared the conditions of 1982 compared to the present way the race is organised. John found in the belongings of his late wife two photographs back of their expedition in 1982, when he and four RAF companions tried to establish whether the old route of Pheidippides could be repeated two and a half thousand years later.

The five RAF people that went on their (quite unknown) way on 8 October 1982 were:
John Foden from Australia/England, John Scholtens from England (with a Dutch mother), John McCarthy from the Irish Republic, Ted Marsh from England and Norman Niblock from England.

The latter two did not complete the trial run to Sparta. Norman Niblock quit after 83 km, and Ted Marsh had to stop after about 120 km. But the other three successfully managed to reach Sparta on 9 October. John Scholtens in 34.5 hours, John Foden in 36 hours, and John McCarthy just two minutes under 40 hours.

John Foden underway in October 1982

In our email correspondence John Foden acknowledged that these photographic relicts of their trial run might be nice to publish. But he stressed that his article on the time ‘wasted’ on the refreshment points in the present Spartathlon race should be much more worthwhile to publish on UltraNed. ‘All supporters should be briefed to encourage their runners to get back on the course as quickly as possible. Tell them they are looking great for someone who has already run so far. Tell them the runner in front is almost crawling – its probably true of all the competitors after half way.’ So in the accompanying article we fulfil his wish. Like for 2002, and many previous race editions, John is planning to attend the 2003 edition again as a spectator himself.
The start of this year’s Spartathlon will happen on Friday-morning 26 September, see the official website for details:

Martien Baars

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