Sofia Kasimi: I run for a purpose and that gives me strength…
On September 27, the long-distance runner, Sofia Kasimi, will start from Athens with two goals: To be able to finish the next day at the Spartathlon, the historic 250 km road race, which starts from the Acropolis and ends at the statue of Leonidas in Sparta and to support with its effort the project of 5 public benefit institutions in each of the prefectures that it will cross on its route (Attica, Corinth, Arcadia, Argolis and Laconia).
The fight of the 42-year-old athlete is supported by Wind, which created a donation collection mechanism described on www.doitlikekassimi.gr , committed to triple the amount that will be collected from users’ donations.
Shortly before the match, Sofia Kasimi talks to us about the Spartathlon and the challenges she is called to face.
What is running for you?
Running is a matter of existence for me. When I run, I think, I exist.
What differentiates a super-marathon runner from a long distance runner?
The obvious thing is that the main difference is in the kilometres! This means more hours of dedication to training and more mental and physical strength.
You have participated in the Spartathlon again. What does this race mean to you?
This is my fourth participation, but in the first two in 2009 and 2010 I left the race. But I finished for the first time in 2011 and I was one of the first two Greek women to do it. And when I finished then I said I would never do it again. But it was WIND’s proposal and initiative to make this action for the social contribution that I could not refuse. The values of the race are many. The constant effort is rewarded. You need to stay focused on your goal and not be afraid anywhere.
The Spartathlon is considered one of the most difficult matches in the world.
It is the only race with 75 points of time exclusion, which means that if an athlete loses the rhythm required even for a while, he/she risks being out of the race.
What characteristics should an athlete have to take part in such a race?
Mental and physical strength.
What are the difficulties or dangers faced by an athlete running in the Spartathlon?
Physical risks such as hypoglycemia, dehydration, hyponatraemia or hypernatremia, electrolyte disturbances in general, muscle injuries and psychological stress are enormous, so huge reserves of both mental and physical strength are required.
You run continuously for over 20 hours. What are the thoughts or feelings you have all this time?
The statue of Leonidas in Sparta. His legs and right now I’m waiting for this like nothing else. It is the most shocking event I have experienced after the birth of my daughter. During the race I do not think of anything else, because I want to be focused on my goal. I listen to my body and feel my footsteps.
This time you are running with a double goal. To end the race and inspire fundraising efforts for charities. Which of the two goals do you find most difficult?
Running to raise money for charities gives me the strength to finish the race.
Are you anxious due to the responsibility and the visibility you receive through the energy of WIND?
No, in no case does it cause me stress because I am focused on my goal which is to finish at the statue of Leonidas.
You are 42 years old and a mother. What inspires you to keep running?
Running completes me as a person, sports for my family is a way of life.
DO IT LIKE KASSIMI
The bodies supported by the energy DO IT LIKE KASSIMI in the context of SPARTATHLON, belong to each of the 5 prefectures that cross the route of the race and are: Prefecture of Attica: ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH NEOPLASMIC DISEASE – “I FLOGA”, Prefecture of Corinth: “THEOPROSFORA” ACTION, Prefecture of Argolida: Special High School of Nafplio, Prefecture of Arcadia: Vossiniotis Foundation – Nursery School, Prefecture of Sparta: Aniaton Foundation of Sparta “O Agios Panteleimon”.
Enter the website www.doitlikekassimi.gr where you can make your own donation, either via PayPal or by simple deposit, offering €10 for each half km of the route. There is no limit to the kilometres that one can “grant”, while each part of the route can be covered with multiple sponsorships.