The Cyclades Trail Cup 2017 is about to begin and everyone is invited! Runners will have the chance to experience unique and enjoyable trail running races in amazing sceneries and breathtaking views!
This year’s Cyclades Trail Cup begins on April 30 and consists of six races in six different Aegean islands: Naxos, Amorgos, Syros, Andros, Donousa and Tinos.
Robert Karalis, the man behind the idea, talked to us about the Cup and this year’s program.
How did you come up with the idea of a Trail Cup in Cyclades?
At the beginning, there was only one race. I created my first race in 2014, on Tinos island right next to my holiday home, in order to promote my village, the footpaths of Tinos and the island’s hospitable people. The race was successful but organizing the event took almost 10 months of preparation. Until that moment there were only a handful of races in the Aegean islands and I would guess that every organizer had to go through the same procedure in order to create a race.
we decided to join the islands, the people and the sponsors and create a solid experience for athletes through a series of events
In 2016 I decided to re-create the race on Tinos, my friend Simos wanted to do the same in his island, Syros, and at the same moment, my friend Arianna from Andros wanted a race too. Instead of creating three races on three islands, we decided it would be best to join the islands, the people and the sponsors and create a solid experience for athletes through a series of events with a common goal: to promote the Cycladic islands, their footpaths, their culture, their gastronomy, their hospitable people, while bringing the running community to remote parts of the Aegean Sea.
How do you choose the trails every year?
Our races are all about the people organizing them. Sometimes a single person but usually a team of people with lots of love for their island want to create something that has never been done before. They want to show the alternative face of tourism off the beaten track, and share their experience with visitors from all over! If we identity this kind of attitude in the organizers, we will do our absolute best to help them. The Cyclades Trail Cup is always open to new races!
What do runners experience racing on the Cycladic islands?
Every time you visit an island for the race you will experience so much more than just the athletic event!
Racing on the mainland has its own virtues, high elevations, forests, lakes and rivers. Running on a Cycladic island is something completely different! Every time you climb to the top of a hill you will see the endless Aegean Sea. Every time you run through a traditional village you will be greeted by enthusiastic locals, and you will taste their products at the refreshment stations. Every time you run on an ancient paved footpath you will be running on ancient Greek history, and sometimes you will follow the course through unique ancient monuments. Every time you finish a race you will be a few meters away from a beach and a refreshing swim. Every time you visit an island for the race you will experience so much more than just the athletic event!
Who can participate in the races? Are there specific preconditions?
Every Cyclades Trail Cup event has two races to pick from. The main event is for runners who have some experience in trail running and are categorized as “stamina runners”. The secondary event is for amateur runners and first-timers, but also for “sprint runners”. Of course every participant is required to undergo medical examinations in advance, and sign a special release form for the organizers.
How can one apply to the Cup?
Every race included in the Cyclades Trail Cup has its own website and participation form. The main website of CTC will soon be translated into English and Italian and a registration form for non-Greek athletes will be available. Please visit www.cycladestrailcup.gr.
We also had the chance to talk to Antonis Roussos, co-organiser of the Trail Challenge in Amorgos, one of the islands where the Cup will be held this year.
What will participants of the race experience in Amorgos?
The participants of the race will enjoy a unique experience in one of the few untouched islands of the Cyclades. Amorgos is still genuine because it’s unharmed by mass tourism. The athletes and everyone involved in the race will have the opportunity to discover an island of unique beauty, of great history – coming straight from the history and myths of ancient Greece – and a friendly atmosphere. People of Amorgos are famous for the hospitality and friendship they offer to all visitors.
Is the island a good destination for runners and hikers in general?
There are paths for every destination on the island, most of them made by stone steps, of great architecture, history and beauty.
Amorgos is a great destination for hikers because it’s full of paths in great condition that run through the island towards every destination. As said before, it’s still a “virgin” island. All its roads were made during the last 30 years. This means that the paths were being used until recently. In fact, they are still being used today by local farmers. There are paths for every destination on the island, most of them made by stone steps, of great architecture, history and beauty. Many of them lead to places that could leave their visitors speechless by the beauty of the landscape. It is worth the effort to hike and discover each one of them!
Which is the best season for runners and hikers to visit the island?
The best time for hikers to visit Amorgos is the season of Easter and the months following until late June or the beginning of July. The high season begins in the middle of July, when the island is too crowded to enjoy its real beauty. Easter is a great season because visitors can also enjoy the customs and traditions and participate to the celebrations and rituals along with the local people. September and the following months until December are also good months for hiking because the weather is ideal.
Like Amorgos Trail Challenge on Facebook for more information.