A STUNNING ROUTE THAT CONNECTS THE AEGEAN WITH THE RUGGED SUMMIT OF THE ‘HOME OF THE GODS’ – MOUNT OLYMPUS.
Whilst this is ‘only’ 1.5 days of activity, it’s a huge day. 3500m of vertical, over 27km, with a start at oh my god o’clock in the morning.
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*price per month, depending on departure date when you sign up in March, click here for more info on pricing
1 - 4 SEPTEMBER / 2023
17 MILES (27 KM) ON FOOT
MOUNT OLYMPUS, GREECE
3 DAYS /
DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?
This adventure is for anyone with a good base level of hiking fitness.
3 nights accommodation / hotel and mountain refuge.
All meals included as standard.
Flexible transfer policy.
GUIDES AND SUPPORT
Professional mountain safety, medical and welfare staf.
Professional local and UK safety staff, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.
High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.
RAISE £2500 AND GET YOUR ENTRY REFUNDED
SET UP YOUR JUST GIVING PAGE HERE OR FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR CHARITY PARTNERSHIP HERE
The distance is not the issue here; it is the pace of ascent and the gradient, which after the 20km mark pretty much is a 1:4 gradient all the way to the summit. It is literally a 27km climb from sea level to the high point of Greece. A spectacular undertaking, but not one to be taken lightly. Conditioning for distance and for mountain hiking or running is essential.
Ascend from sea level to the summit of Greece’s highest mount (2909m) on a route that takes you from the sea, through a dry river bed and then on beautiful trails up a stunning gorge to reach the slopes of Olympus herself, passing the evocative and serene ruins of the Monastery of Dionysus en route. Make your summit bid before descending to our cosy refugio for food, rest and big beers! The end day you will hike out and finish your adventure, before being whisked to the coast for a well-earned night’s R and R on the azure beaches of the Aegean Sea.
Whilst this is ‘only’ 1.5 days of activity, it’s a huge day. 3500m of vertical, over 27km, with a start at oh my God o’clock in the morning. The distance is not the issue here; it is the pace of ascent and the gradient, which after the 20km mark pretty much is a 1:4 gradient all the way to the summit. It is literally a 27km climb from sea level to the high point of greece. A spectacular undertaking, but not one to be taken lightly. Conditioning for distance and for mountain hiking or running is essential.
Ascend from sea level to the summit of Greece’s highest mount (2909m) on a route that takes you from the sea, through a dry river bed and then on beautiful trails up a stunning gorge to reach the slopes of Olympus herself, passing the evocative and serene ruins of the Monastery of Dionysus en route. Make your summit bid before descending to our cosy refugio for food, rest and big beers! The ent day you will hike out and finish your adventure, before being whisked to the coast for a well-earned night’s R and R on the azure beaches of the Aegean Sea.
DAY ONE: 1ST SEPTEMBER 2023
Arrive Thessaloniki International airport to RV with our transport at 13:30. We will transfer to the lovely mountain town of Litochoro and settle into our hotel in the hills. A traditional Greek meal will be served and Registration will be completed alongside briefings that will be held. We will aim to get as early a night as possible as tomorrow, well, it’s an early one!
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel with twin rooms
DAY TWO: 2ND SEPTEMBER 2023
You will set alarms for a time when most folk on a Friday night are coming home from town. We will have breakfast available and then we will saddle up the transport and head for the short journey to the coast, where we will commence from Plaka Litochoro in the dark under the light of your headtorches at or around 0200. You will then ascend via a dry river bed and quiet roads back towards Litochoro. From there, we are on the mountain proper and will continue towards the refuge by the gorge of Dionysus and onwards to Prionia. After that, the ascent steepens until we reach the refuge. At the refuge you can take on supplies and more water before the summiut bit to top out on Stefani at 2909m. After high-fives on the summit, you will descend back to the refuge for food, rest and beers.
ACCOMMODATION: Mountain refuge
MEALS: Breakfast, Pit Stop support on the route, Dinner at the refuge
DAY THREE: 3RD SEPTEMBER 2023
We will descend on foot back to Prionia, where our transport will whisk you out to our coastal hotel. Cue sun, sand and ultimate relaxation on the shores of the Aegean Sea.
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel with twin rooms
MEALS: Breakfast at the Refuge, packed lunch, dinner
DAY FOUR: 4TH SEPTEMBER 2023
On departure day, our transfer will arrive at Thessaloniki International airport at 1000, for those who wish. Or if you wish to remain in the Olympus area we can arrange extra nights’ accommodation at the beach hotel, or back in Litochoro.
We will use a selection of good hotels, hostels, B and Bs and one stunning campsite location. In all locations, your accommodation is inclusive within your entry fee. Hotel and B and B accommodation is usually offered on a double or twin room basis. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with another participant of the same sex in a twin room where applicable.
Brekky will vary with our location day-to-day. When we are stating early (which comes part and parcel of such an epic journey!) then we will provide ‘grab n’ go’ materials – pastries, fruit, porridge pots, yoghurts and other simple items that you can either eat before the off, or take with you on the initial portion of the route that day. When we are staying in hotels and guesthouses, we will endeavour to provide cooked options.
Each night we will eat together at a restaurant or pub, or when camping we will provide catering on-site. At all times, Rat Race will provide a hearty main course. If you wish to augment with other selections in the pubs and restaurants, you may do so. You will settle the bill for your own drinks.
During the challenge you will have access to our Pit Stops multiple times throughout the ascent. These will have a minimum of the following available:
Water – Ensure you leave with water bottles and bladders filled so you have enough to get you to the next Pit Stop.
Sports Ration Pit Stop Bars – Yummy flapjacks.
Sports Rations Isotonic Energy Drink.
Salty snacks – such as crisps and peanuts.
Savoury treats – We will feature sandwiches, savoury pastries and other goodies at selected pit stops, around lunchtime
A fruit option – Either oranges or bananas.
Sweets – such as Haribo and Skittles.
A variety of sandwiches, pastries and cakes.
Hot drinks will be provided at selected Pit Stops subject to forecast weather conditions.
Our Pit Stops are there to help supplement any personal sports nutrition plan you may have – if you use gels and other such products – you should plan to bring these with you. If you have any special dietary requirements then please also plan for this and pack your kit accordingly. Rat Race aim to offer Pit Stop snacks that are tasty and functional, catering to as broad a mix of needs and diets as possible. We have options available that are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets and availability of this will depend on demand. If peanuts are served these will be in individual portioned bags to reduce the chance of contamination but Rat Race cannot guarantee that the food does not contain contamination from allergens such as nuts or gluten in its preparation or serving.
Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire.
The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, our route is likely to remain largely intact, regardless of any on-the-ground changes.
Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.
Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.
Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.
The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.
Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.
Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.
We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.
Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.
To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.
To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry.
Yes. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you back to the closest city for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights, we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last-minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.
Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent.
Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.
If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.
Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard.
We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.
Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your tshirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.
The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is very difficult for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis. All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers! You are welcome to arrange your own accommodation if you wish but this will not result in a reduction in the event fee from us, you will also then be responsible for ensuring you are at our meeting points at the arranged time and we will not be able to transport you to and from your own accommodation, you will need to be able to do this independently.
No problem. Where we use hotels, rooms are offered on a twin / shared basis. If you wish to share with a fellow participant, you will be asked to add this information to your event participation from which we will issue you with approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event.
Unfortunately for this style of event, we cannot accommodate any supporters.
We have designed this challenge so that you may travel at your own pace. See below for our notes on route-finding and guidance. There will also be some cut-offs, but in the true Rat Race tradition these will be generous and we will always look to help you to achieve your goals in finishing this challenge, vs having to pull out. Of course, we are giving you a VERY early start to allow the very best possible window for route completion. But, if you need us and if you need to abandon the route for whatever reason, we are there for you. The absolute key is that you enjoy this amazing journey from sea level to the very roof of Greece at your own pace and within your own limits.
We want you to concentrate on the views and the hard work of putting one foot (or pedal) in front of the other. So we don’t want you to be staring at maps or navigational aids any more than you have to. The route will be way-marked, with some assistance from our staff and some signage in the trickier sections, and in the early morning dark sections).
We will also be asking you to download a route file that you will be able to download onto your smartphone. You will follow this ‘line’ when on foot and can use this as a back-up at all times. Don’t worry – you won’t get lost. But if you do – support is never far away.
We will use a mixture of guides, waymarking, pit stops and support vehicles (lower down the mountain) to support you at intervals by our mobile ‘pit stop’ team. Once you get higher, we will use set points to support, such as the refuge. We will also have our local guiding and safety team on the mountain. We will have multiple vehicles at our disposal, plus multiple staff members, snacks and drinks to distribute. So, if it does get too much, if you overheat, get too cold, need sustenance, motivational support or otherwise, we should be able to assist. You are in good hands.
It starts in a dry riverbed which is dusty, rough in places and fairly hard packed in others. You will then transition to local tracks and minor roads before hitting ‘the trail’ which takes you up the spectacular Gorge of Dionysus. On the upper reaches of the mountain, the going is good on firm and well-defined trails. It is rocky in places of course – it is a mountain after all!
This kit list is from our 2022 event - you will be notified of any changes to this list ahead of the event you have signed up for.
General advice on heat
The heat of the day at lower altitudes can be fierce, so a wide-brimmed sunhat, sun-cream and lightweight and breathable fabrics (ideally with SPF protection) are to be used. Of course it will be dark for a good portion of the lower sections, but it likely still to be warm. As the sun comes up, sunglasses with at least Cat 3 protection are required. As we ascend, the cover will become less so we will be exposed to the relentless sun, especially as we rise above the treeline high up on the mountain. Temperatures can drop as we climb higher and we will find ourselves in a high mountain environment where layers, full leg cover and hats and gloves could be required. It is a fairly unique beast in that respect! Hot, cold, wind, dust, lots of varying conditions. All in one day.
The beauty of the support afforded by the vehicles in the lower stage of the trip means you can take what you need and then change into other gear/ footwear/ socks as we make our way onto the mountain proper beyond Prionia. We will offer the opportunity for a kit change at this location from lighter-weight gear inti ‘high-mountain’ attire. You can also change out of sweaty clothes into fresh ones, so don’t be afraid of bringing some extra stuff if you do tend to be the sort of person who gets drenched in sweat just by stepping outside in such conditions!
Do not underestimate how much the heat will take out of you. Even if you think you ae going well lower down, as soon as that sun comes up, it’ll start sapping energy. You really do want to ensure you have mas sun protection and keep taking on fluids and salts.
You WILL need trekking poles. You WILL need a fairly large daypack (up to 30l advised – NB this is for the mountain. You can get away with a much smaller ultra vest or similar for the run stage earlier on – so bring both). You WILL NOT need a sleeping bag as we will overnight at the refuge where bedding is provided, but you WILL need something like a sleeping liner, (or a very lightweight sleeping bag will suffice) for hygiene in the refuge. With early starts both days you will need some extra insulation layers as well.
For your feet, we would advise trail running footwear for the first portion and then for the high mountain, a boot would do for this, but breathability and mobility are also bonuses. Our advice (in an ideal world) would be high-topped trail running footwear/ lightweight boots with ankle support, for the mountain. Wear these OR a separate pair of trail trainers earlier in the day. You will get a chance to switch footwear, clothing and of course backpacks before we set out on the high-mountain trekking stage.
THE KIT LIST
RUNNING OR LIGHTWEIGHT TREKKING BELOW PRIONIA
Trail running footwear
Ultra vest or small daypack
Bladder or bottles/ soft flasks
Hat – cap or wide brimmed are fine
Ankle gaiters (optional)
Scooby snacks of choice
GPS handheld device capable of following (phone with viewranger App recommended – see below)
GPS watch is optional
Headtorch, waterproof to IPX7 standard, minimum 150 lumens + spare batteries or second headtorch.
Salt tablets and dissolvable electrolytes for water are mandatory. Please bring salt tablets and some electrolyte mix for drinks. You will 100% need these on this trip
TREKKING/ MOUNTAIN STAGE ABOVE PRIONIA
Trail running/walking footwear or lightweight boots – ideally with ankle support
Spare evening footwear, such as Crocs (if you want – not essential – footwear for the refuge is issued to you at the refuge for indoor use)
Trail running/walking apparel – lightweight trekking trousers, technical wicking tee/ base layer, long-sleeved wicking layer, mid-layer (e.g. microfleece)
Waterproof upper body and leg cover (yes, waterproofs, however unlikely it may be that we use them)
Buff or similar neck gaiter, and sun hat/cap
Spare base and mid layers
Blister care kit
First Aid kit (small personal kit with a triangular bandage, steri strips and an adhesive dressing as a minimum) BUY HERE
Water bottle, and/or cup OR Hydration system for rucksack
Headtorch, waterproof to IPX7 standard, minimum 150 lumens + spare batteries or second headtorch.
A rucksack that is sized to hold this kit + camping + food. We are suggesting 30l but ultimately it’s up to you. If the gear fits, the bag is OK!