Polish runner Andrzej Radzikowski won the 245.3km historic Spartathlon race on Saturday for the first time, clocking 23 hours, 1 minute and 13 seconds.

Radzikowski, 35, was 18th last year and two years ago finished third.

Finishing second was Italy’s 39-year-old Marco Bonfiglio in 23:35.14 while 42-year-old Radek Brunner of the Czech Republic was third in 24:06.39.

The first woman across the line and fourth overall for the second year in a row was 37-year-old American Katalyn Nagy in 25:22.26.

The race traces the classical route of Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek help against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.

The Spartathlon is one of the world’s most difficult races, run over rough tracks, crossing vineyards and olive groves, steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, the 1,200m ascent and descent of Mount Parthenion in the dead of night.

The 34th edition of the race started at the Acropolis in Athens on Friday with 392 runners from 37 countries, and ended in the southern Greek town of Sparta. – Agence France-Presse

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