OLYMPUS MARATHON Route Description.

The race starts at the Archaeological site of Dion town, at 3m altitude above the sea level. At the beginning the athletes run on the asphalt road crossing the settlement of Dion town. Just outside the town, the route moves on a asphalt country-road towards the mountain in a slight ascending incline. At 5K, the track reaches Olympus foothills, (alt.150m). After some road twists, the athletes leave the road at 6K to enter the trail that will be followed for the next 36km.

The trail starts moving in the Orlias Canyon with dense bush vegetation, which soon becomes a forest with broad-leafed trees. The athletes run on a moderate trail with many twists but the field is clear without many rocks. For quite some time, the runners can hear the sound of the stream running in the canyon below forming several distinctive falls. Later, the trail moves away from the canyon and the athletes dive into a wonderful pine tree forest!

After K-9, the route crosses a dirt track twice, then once more and follows it for about 500m and reaches 1st Station "Koromilia Refuge" (alt 1020m, K-10.5). Further on, it enters the pine forest trail again and climbs up. At this point, the path is wide and clear and after gaining some altitude, it reaches a forested slope at K=13 Check Point "Bara". Then the trail emerges to a ridge and the view is wide open and one can distinguish the peaks of the southern part of the mountain. The trail here is not clearly defined but the marking is frequent so that there are no doubts about the right direction.

At 15K the athletes reach the 2d Station "Petrostrouga Refuge" (alt. 1940m, K-15.3). The vegetation at this point includes exclusively the ‘robolo’, a kind of high-altitude pine tree. The runners now follow the main trail to the highest part of the mountain. The field is fine without any loose rocks. At K-17 the vegetation becomes bushier and then it is gradually eliminated near the alpine zone as the athletes climb above the tree level at 2200m.

After the Check Point "Skourta" at K-18 the runners can view the main complex of the Mount Olympus highest peaks for the first time. The ‘Throne of Zeus’ is there with its prominent shape dominating beyond the ‘Muses Plateau’. To reach that point, athletes follow the ridge that leads to the ‘Muses Plateau’- the place with a fascinating view at any direction. After an arduous short uphill on the rough field full of sharp loose rocks, the trail finally leads to the ‘Muses Plateau’. This is a high-altitude meadow (alt.2500+), which lays at the highest part of the mountain with the ‘Throne of Zeus’ peak (2911m) above it at its western end. Runners now head towards this direction. Soon, they reach the 3d Station "Oropedio" (Muses Plateau) next to the ‘Kakalos’ Refuge (alt 2650m, K-20.8)

The trail climbs further up to pass below the ‘Throne of Zeus’ and reaches the highest point of the route (alt.2780m). Then, it follows an endless downhill, which is the second distinctive part of the race. A mild downhill, at first, traverses eastward to a steep slope called ‘Zonaria’, where the main trail reaches a deviation point to the highest peak of the mount Olympus called ‘Mytikas’ (2918 m). Here, the trail is rough so the athletes must be very cautious of this most exposed part of the entire route. After about 2km the trail turns eastward and runners have a clear view of the sea in the distance as they go down through a wide ridge on many trail twists. Running a little further down brings them into the forest again, below the tree line. Then they reach the Check Point "Refuge A" K-25 at the altitude 2060m. Countless twists lead to a gradual downhill, through robolo and pine forest till the slope becomes much smoother. The trail enters a dense beech forest with thick tree shade that offers freshness and relief to the athletes’ knees.

About 2km later, the trail reaches a site called ‘Prionia’ and meets the road to Litochoro. The 4th Station "Prionia" (atl.1050m, K-31).2 is situated here. The athletes enter the last part of the race, following the main trail, which goes through Enipeas Canyon. This river with the same name Enipeas has its sources at Prionia. The trail passes the old Monastery of Agios Dionisios and the Check Point "Monastery" at K-34.

Now we leave the E4 path and head straight and NOT to the right on the wooden bridge and for 1Km we move very close to the banks of the river on our right on soft ground. Arriving at ¨sara¨ the path goes up to the left next to the rocks for about 200m. Immediately after this uphill we meet an intersection; we turn left and go uphill for 4km until we reach the place "Handolia".

The route in this part is on soft terrain with ups and downs with characteristic clearings and wonderful views at the bends. Then after about 1Km downhill we reach the forest location "Zilnia" where there is the 5th Station "Zilnia" (alt. 710m, K-41).

After "Zilnia" the path continues downhill. After 300m, at the fork we take the left path that is before the "Huta horafi" location. The gentle descent continues with several openings, where the athlete sees the magnificent view towards Litochoro, the Gulf of Thermaikos and of course Mount Olympus. Then we proceed to a clearing with flat, gray-white slabs, we continue through the already dense maquis vegetation, pass by the "Samuel estate" and enter the "Kouvari" area. The gentle descent continues on soft terrain and soon leads us to a small metal footbridge, we cross across. We have now done 43km.

At the exit of the bridge, we take the left (eastern) leg of the path, which you move smoothly on a dirt road and then we meet the first houses of Litochoro. Entering the asphalt section, we can see a "Green bridge". There we were now in Litochoro. We head left and UP the bridge on a very slight uphill call. The last kilometer is inside the settlement of Litochoro. After about 400 meters we pass the square "Horostasouli", the historic 1st Primary School and the church of Agios Dimitrios, to descend towards the Central square with the fountain and after 300 meters we reach the Municipal park of Litochoro town and the Finish of the race.


Update : January 2024