RUN THE GORGE Information Document (doc)

Presentation of Samaria Gorge

Samaria gorge is the largest in Europe, of 18 km total length and the width ranges from 150 to 3 meters at its narrowest point, the “Doors”. It was proclaimed a national park in 1962 to protect its rare flora and fauna. In 1980, it awarded by the Council of Europe as one of the most beautiful areas in Europe. Thanks to the wild and precipitous form, it is the only place that still lives the “beast”, as the locals call the Cretan chamois. There are additionally many rare species of birds and along the gorge grow many rare herbs and wild flowers.

The Xiloskalo, the entrance of the gorge, is at an altitude of 1250 m, is a narrow path with wooden handrail for convenience and protection of those who descend into the gorge. Going down the path the visitor is surrounded by towering mountains.

After 30 minute walk, a small change in the landscape. We meet the church of St. Nicholas, surrounded by huge cypresses. Here is the deepest point of the gorge and surrounding mountains rise up to 2,000 meters. Then the route changes and becomes smoother. Other smaller canyons are united with Samaria. The valley begins to become wider and the water suddenly disappears into the earth.

In the middle of the gorge is the village of Samaria, now uninhabited, as the woodcutters and shepherds who used live here, moved elsewhere when it became a National Park in 1962.

In the Byzantine church of the 14th century located in the village, there exist many icons and frescos. It is dedicated to Maria the Egyptian, whose name was “Sia Maria”, which became “Samaria” and finally gave its name to the entire region. In the spring, the village is the ideal place for a rest and a snack.

Further on, the landscape changes again. The narrow canyon walls and towering rocks come closer. Just before the “doors”, there is a plateau and a creek running to stand and quench the thirst of the visitors.

The race

The race of 17,6 kilometers
Passes the first half of the Samaria Gorge.
Starting at the site of “Mahi” (altitude 1200m., rural road junction to shelter Kallergi).) we run on a smooth uphill asphalt road of 1.5km and reach Xyloskalo (altitude 1250m. Entrance of the canyon Samaria). Here is the first point of supply.

From there we enter the path of the Samaria Gorge. The first 500 steps of the path are quite steep, but then it continues gently downhill.

At 3.150 m of the race we find the water source “Neroutsos (altitude 1000m.) and at 3.930 m  the water source of “Fig Tree Root (elevation 810m).
Then the race continues to a gently sloping path, always the key path of the Samaria Gorge to reach 4.750 m. point where the guardhouse of St. Nicholas church is (altitude 660m). This is the lowest elevation point on the route. Here is the second point of supply.

Rules Samaria Run

Athletes are obliged to respect fully the rules described below. They are also obliged to obey the instructions of the judges of the race. Penalties will incur in case of failure to comply with regulations or instructions. The judges of the race when they see violations of the regulations, the will record then and inform the offenders.
Any other person authorized by the organization may also record any breach of the rules by the athletes and can submit it for review to the Race Committee.

All people over 18 years of age on the day of the race.

The organization announced that the 2014 will host 200 athletes (men and women). Once the above number is reached no other entries will be accepted. Entries will be accepted no later than May 09, 2014.

When registering, you need to provide: Surname, name, date of birth, home address, phone number, email address, size T-shirt.