Race based on an historical feat is one of the toughest challenges on earth
The Spartathlon is known as one of the toughest footraces known to man. Ariel had already completed it twice when he signed up for this year’s event, which threw fresh challenges his way.
The 153 mile, 246 km event typically deals with daytime heat, rapidly falling temperatures and mountainous terrain. It includes a climb of the 1200 metre (3900 ft) Sangas mountain pass.
“Out of the 3 Spartathlons that I've completed this was my slowest time and lowest rank, although this is the one that I'm most proud of” Ariel told Great Vegan Athletes.
The region is known for difficult running conditions with some high temperatures, although this year cyclone Zorbas brought something new.
“After ten hours of running in light rain, we've got extreme weather conditions – heavy rain, very strong winds – during most of the race. Zorbas that was near us exactly on race days.
“I needed to change plans during the race in order not to get hypothermia (like others did) so I've changed my clothing and walked much more than originally planned in order not to put more stress on my body.
“I was very well prepared for the race which helped me to build a nice buffer over the cut-off times for the first half of the race, when the weather was still good.”
381 runners started the race, 238 finished, and Ariel finished 105th in 33 hours 29 minutes.
Ariel turned vegan in 2012. It was a small transition as he gave up meat in 2011 and had already dropped cow’s milk. The changes were influenced by the ethical arguments highlighted by Gary Yourofsky.
For the Spartathlon, he’s continued to eat his normal diet. “I’ve been eating the same as I'm doing in the last years, focusing on a variety of fruits and vegetables. The rest is nuts, seeds, legumes and cereals.”