Big smiles and a genuine triathlon experience at Astros!
Astroman 2012 on Sunday 13th of May, started with a clear blue sky and a matching calm blue sea, for almost 160 participants. This is a record number of participations, even if we count only the solo triathletes (129 at the starting line). Given the circumstances in Greece, this was a huge success, presenting an increase of 10% for the individuals and more than 35% for total number of athletes (including teams).
On Saturday morning, before the race day, the kids event took place with another 30 kids trying their first steps in a swim and run event. It was the most anxiously anticipated sports event in the Astros region. Big smiles
On race day, the swim started with a spectacular beach start, which upset the calm sea water. The 1.9km of swimming in the open sea was in two laps and the first ones to come out of the water, were: Charalampopoulos, Giannis Fanakis and Lefteris Paraskevas with times starting from 27 minutes and within a few secs of difference. Out of these three, only one would cross the finish line at the end of the event!
With T1 just 60m from the sea, the transition area started emptying from bikes, as athletes were getting their legs to work for the 90km opf cycling on the tough bike course which has almost 1.200m of accumulated ascent. The bike route is an out 'n back format in two laps as well. The athletes are able to see the rest of the field and estimate their position. At the conclusion of the first lap, things were starting to change at the front, with Kostas Papanikolaou and Moschos Kantis starting to climb up in the ranking. At the front of the race were: Charalampopoulos, Lefteris Paraskevas, Iordanis Papadopoulos. At the end of the bike part, things have changed even more: Charalampopoulos was followed closely by Iordanis Papadopoulos and just a couple of minutes behind them were Lefteris Paraskevas, Moschos Kantis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Kostas Kavvathas. The later two, were the ones who finished #2 and #3 in Astroman 2011. Kantis posted the fastest bike time ever on this course with 2:32:56, improving by more than a minute the record posted last year by the Dutch Huib Dekker!
Moschos Kantis was in the zone! Within the first 7kilometers of the running course, he was leasding the race. He managed to cover his handicap from the swim part. So at the 7th kilometer, Moschos Kantis and Kostas Papanikolaou passed side by side, going at a fast pace. Lefteris Paraskevas had to call it a day due to backpain. Kostas Kavvathas was in 3rd place some minutes behind them, having passed Iordanis Papdopoulos and Charalampopoulos who were the first to exit T2! The competition was fierce. At the 14th km the two leading were still running side by side. Papanikolaou attemted a break but Kantis did not let it go. So at the last kilometer of the race he proved to be stronger and managed to create a lead of 7secs (20meters) over Papanikolaou. Moschos Kantis was the winner with a 4:45:16 time. He owns the new bike course record as well. Kostas Papanikolaou right behind him with 7secs more, improved his time by almost 10miuntes since 2011. Podium was completed with Kostas Kavvathas. So in the end the big surprise this year was Moschos Kantis while Papanikolaou and Kavvathas occupied the same places as last year.
In the women field, which this year had a record 9 starters, things were more orderly. Loukia Loukopoulou led the race from start to finish, posting the fastest times in all three sports and finishing at 5:10:56 and 12th in the general classification and improving her time since her 2010 appearence!!! Followed by Maria Kamisaki who managed also to improve by a huge margin her achievement compared to previous years. Maria finished in 5:44:44, ahead of 3rd, Maria Tzini by 45 minutes. Tzini appeared for the first time in Astroman and looks like she will be a strong competitor in the future. It is worth mentioning the newbies in the women field: Eirini Christaki and Donna Etiebet finished with just a few secs of difference, Marinetta Katsoupa, Vretoula Plouidou and Charoula Strati did finish with big smiles their first half Iron distance triathlon. None of the women gave up this race!
The field this year was way more competitive compared to 2010 and 2011. 5 athletes finished in less than 5 hours. The average times of the whole field where much faster. Of course the weather was more favorable this year, with no wind for the bike part and cooler temperature, at least till the running part.
The local community is supporting this event and the area is really ideal for triathlon. We are already starting to plan for 2013!
The organization did not encounter any unexpected incidents and all athletes were happy and safe at the finish line. The organization involved 40 volunteers (including Red Cross personnel), a lot of infrustructure, more than 1000lt of water, isotonic and refreshments and about 300kgr of food! Pharmshop which is the main sponsor of the event, provided 400 bike bottles for the athletes! Pharmshop.gr is supporting Astroman for the 2nd year in a row and is a mjor help for the organization.
Thank you to:
- All the super volunteers who came all the way to Astros to help the event! Without you this event is impossible.
- Astros Municipal Authorities
- Red Cross Samaritans (8 hours on the road keeping everyone healthy)
- Traffic Police for supervising the bike route
- Port Authority for supervising the swim part
- Heliatoras agency and Eleni Axiotopoulou for helping us with all the details of the race
- GU Gels, BikeMe bike shop (bike service and tech supervision), Pulse 100 sports shop, Pearl Izumi for sponsoring and actively supporting this event.
Keep up your training (after some well deserved rest!) and see you next year at the 4th edition of Astroman! Stay tuned for dates and details.