ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Competitors in an ultra-marathon in Greece have been forced to contend with a storm buffeting Greece since before dawn on Saturday.

The Spartathlon winner, Yoshihiko Ishikawa of Japan, finished the 245-kilometer (152-mile) race in under 23 hours. He was more than 42 minutes ahead of Radek Brunner of the Czech Republic.

Zsuzsanna Maraz won the women's race, and was 17th overall, in 27 hours. Another Czech, Katerina Kasparova, was second.

Ishikawa set off from under the Acropolis at 7 a.m. local time on Friday, and finished just before 6 a.m. on Saturday amid heavy rain, which started shortly after 3 a.m.


Conditions have worsened, according to race spokesman Pantelis Tzertzevelis.

At the cutoff time of 36 hours, 237 out of 387 runners made it.

"Most of the course is flooded and their feet are at all times in the water. Following them with the race car, one marvels at how these people refuse to quit," Tzertzevelis said.

The Spartathlon is staged to commemorate the runner Pheidippides, who ran from Athens to Sparta in 490 BC to ask Spartans for help against the invading Persians. Unlike Peidippides, they do not have to make the return trip.


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