Greek Doctor and Super Athlete to Participate in Sahara ‘Marathon des Sables’


    Next stop: The Sahara desert. This is the next big challenge for the Greek doctor and super athlete Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos, who will participate in the infamous “Marathon des Sables” — known as the sand marathon — which will take place in Morocco and is praised by the Discovery Channel “as the toughest race on earth.”

    In an interview with the Greek ANA-MPA news agency, he found out about this challenge in 2004, when he was on Everest and began preparing for it immediately after swimming across the Aegean Sea, in October 2011. The “Marathon des Sables” is a 250 kilometer race, lasting six days, during which the participants are self-supportive as they have to carry all their equipment and food from the beginning until the end, without external support. The organization provides only the required daily water and this in a certain quantity for each athlete.

    With his participation in the Sharan project, Mr. Tsianos is actively supporting the British project “ICE WATER FIRE” as well as the internationally recognized environmental organization for the conservation of biodiversity, “Opwall Trust.”

    Who is the Greek super athlete?

    Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos was born in Athens, Greece. He began his education in Greece and completed his high-school studies in Florida, USA. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, after which he earned a Master’s degree in Human Physiology under Extreme Environments at King’s College London. He then went on to pursue a Doctorate degree at the University of Glasgow, researching and specializing in Human Medical Physiology in the Cold and at High Altitude. He has completed research projects and field studies in the Scottish Highlands, the European Alps and the Himalayas. Following the successful completion of his PhD, he returned to Greece to study Medicine. In his early medical years he gained significant experience at hospitals in South Africa, the USA, and Greece, and then moved to the UK to train in hospitals in Scotland and England.

    Mr. Tsianos’ involvement in sports started in the arena of competitive swimming. The landmark of his marathon swimming career was the successful swim crossing of the English Channel in the year 2000; he completed the 24-mile distance from England to France in 9 hours and 20 minutes, the world’s fastest time for the year 2000. In 2004, he participated in the Greek national mountaineering expedition “Hellas Everest 2004,” as the expedition’s scientific adviser, high altitude climbing medic, and climbing member. He successfully ascended to the summit of Mount Everest, 8848m, becoming the first Greek climber ever to do so from the hazardous northern route in the Tibetan Himalayas. In October 2011, he swam non-stop from the edge of the Peloponnese in mainland Greece to the shores of Chania in Crete, a distance of 101km, in 28 hours and 16 minutes, becoming the first person in history to ever attempt and successfully complete an open water swim crossing in the treacherous waters of the Aegean Sea. Through his swim, he raised national awareness for one of Crete’s local philanthropic organizations, “Orizodas” whose members’ voluntary work and fundraising efforts support children and adults battling cancer.