I met a youthful woman from Greece at the Triathlon Business International conference a couple of months ago. Greece? Great beaches. Great islands. Great history.
But the economy has had its struggles. There are bigger fish to fry than triathlon. There couldn't possibly be a thriving triathlon scene in Greece. Could there?
I asked Danae Moraiti, the woman I met, about the company she owns. Many or most of the events she produces take place at a family-owned water sports resort called Moraitis Beach, situated adjacent to Marathon. You can probably guess how many miles it is from there to Athens.
In addition to the five races Transition Sports (Danae's company) produces, there is an Xterra race on the west side of the peninsula that is Attica. Moraitis Beach, Shinias Beach, this is on the east side about an hour away from where the Xterra is held. If you want to know what Shinias Beach looks like, here is the page of images that comes up on a Google search.
There's an Ironman 70.3 in Croatia, and one in Turkey, but not yet in Greece.
Just looking at the photos of these events, this community of athletes does not look unprepared for the sport of triathlon. I see a lot of Cervelos, and a lot of everything that you expect to see racing in North America.
I'm sure not everyone racing in Greece looks like an underwear model, but there seems to be a lot of folks with a similar morphology racing in this country.
Transition areas are pretty universal. I'm assuming my race number and rack spot is written in alpha-numeric. I finished in κζ place when I raced in Kona in 1981.
Here's another universal truth: you'd better be ready for the scrum when the gun goes off.
Greece is green, well-forested right down to the beaches. The eastern Mediterranean, from Croatia to Turkey, might be multisport's new hotspot (consider images from the Swim-Run in Hvar, Croatia.)
Looks like a nicely marked course. I used to own some of those pyramid buoys when I was a race organizer back in the 1990s. These are "sailing marks", visible enough to be seen by yachtsmen in sailing races.
Their events take place both with ocean swims and lake swims.
Here's a shot of a lone swimmer getting ready for a lake swim. This appeals to me. Looks like swim-run territory.
The swim is eventually over and it's time to ride the bike.
They seem to have a very vibrant kids tri scene in Greece.
In a true Greek Tragedy Spyros Gianniotis from Greece crossed the line first in the Rio Games 10km open water swim, but touched the finish arch second, thus winning only the silver medal. This race organizer produces open water races, and here are finishers touching the arch.
On either side of the summer the weather turns a little chillier. A big pot of legume soup simmers, waiting for race finishers.
It looks like the post-race party was a success!
Here is the race schedule for Transition Sports:
• April 9, 2017: Schinias-Marathon (sprint distance triathlon)
• June 10, 2017: Schinias-Marathon (Full moon aquathlon: 750m swim plus 5.5km run plus a kids distance)
• July 8, 2017: Lake Doksa (sprint distance triathlon)
• October 1, 2017 Schinias open water swim: 5000 meters, 2,500 meters, 1000 meters, plus kids distance)
• October 21-22, 2017 Crazy Tri Weekend Schinias (that's what it's called). Sprint and Olympic distance races.