• Tom Crossland

Route Part 1 - Athens to Albania

As promised in my last post here is the first instalment of my planned route along with the link for the route on Strava. I have planned this with the aim of getting some easy kms completed and taking what looks like, from the map, to be a straightforward route. With this in mind, I decided to stay on roads for this section of the run and to try and avoid much elevation gain.

I will begin running from the Eleanos Refugee Camp, which is located near to the centre of Athens. Eleonas is a government-run camp, supervised by the Greek Migration Ministry, it was the first camp to open on mainland Greece in August 2015. The accommodation units are metallic containers which are generally considered to provide a better level of housing compared to other camps in Greece and elsewhere. The population currently stands at about 2300 people of various nationalities.

I will then head out of North West out of Athens towards the Skaramangas Camp. The Skaramangas camp near the port of Piraeus is currently housing approximately 2500 refugees and migrants from 28 countries. This will get me close to the coast, which I'm planning on following all the way up to Plo, via Corinth. During this stage of the run, I'll have to cross the Corinth Canal, which looks pretty stunning.

From Plo, I'm expecting to head almost straight North to Agrinio, then on to Arta. Until this point the route is almost flat, once I get to Arta this will all change as I head into more the more hilly areas of Northen Greece. I'm then planning on climbing slowing to Ioannina, before losing some height and climbing again towards a ridge which takes me all the way to the border with Albania at Kakavia.

If this is the final route through Greece the headline figures are 530km and a relatively small 5300 metres elevation gain, with the majority of this climbing coming in the last 130km. I am planning to 10 days to get to Albania. This means running about 50km day.

I have never visited Greece before and so I have and plotted this route using google maps. I have tried to stay on smaller roads to avoid the busy traffic. If you know Greece and have any suggestions or advice about this route or any accommodation recommendations, however, please do let me know by leaving a comment or by sending me an email. I would love to hear from you.

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