Long-distance runner Marios Giannakou is preparing for the race of his life as he is to climb Mount Olympus carrying on his back the disabled Eleftheria.
The athlete from Drama who has crossed 270 kilometers (168 miles) in the hot Al Marmoum Desert and came first in the 150 kilometers (93 miles) race in freezing Antarctica is now ready to climb Greece’s highest mountain with his fellow Eleftheria.
“With Eleftheria we will try to climb next week (early October) to the highest peak in Greece, carrying her on my back with a specially modified backpack,” Giannakou explains to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency. “For me, all international races, the medals and the distinctions so far mean little compared to that goal.”
Eleftheria Tosiou is 22 years old and is studying biology in Thessaloniki. The two met only last week and the young student expressed to Giannakou her desire to climb to the highest peak of Olympus, a route the athlete has already completed 50 times successfully. But the 51st, as he says, will be the most special for him.
“We met through a mutual friend of ours, Theodora, and Eleftheria told me that she wants to climb Mount Olympus at some point. I told her: “Not at some point, but immediately! “, said the young athlete from Drama with obvious enthusiasm in his voice. So he checked his schedule, studied the meteorological forecasts, organized the appropriate support team for the project and everything is ready so that on Monday, October 5, he can take Eleftheria all the way up to Mytikas, the highest peak of the mountain.
“Eleftheria will be tied to a specially modified backpack and I will have it on my back throughout the climb, while a team will have taken care to tie me and secure me on the rocks. We will climb Mytikas, one step at a time, to the top of Olympus,” Giannakou says about the procedure.
The whole effort is expected to last 10-12 hours and all safety measures have been taken. “Nothing happens by accident, especially when we are talking about a mountain, namely Mount Olympus, which is very demanding,” the athlete notes.
“Eleftheria is not anxious at all, I am more anxious,” he says. “She is eagerly waiting for next Monday to try our ascent. I am more ready than ever for such a thing” and thanks Eleftheria for the opportunity “to become a better person and to remind me of what we all often forget: that we must live life without fear.”