Saturday 3 August 2013

Elounda, Crete, Leper Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 7 km (4.35 miles), terrain: flat

By John Griffith, Exotic Runs Editor. Thanks John! Visit his running blog, The Briars, here!

For more running routes, see the Route List

I wanted to give this little route a dramatic name because I'm sorry to say the run itself was not the most entertaining even if the stories of the region are.

I stayed at Elounda Village on the North coast of Crete for a week and escaped the barbed wire and machine gun nests (not really) that keep the tourists in to go for short jog down to the local town. 
Seafront Tavernas all sell the same meals
Elounda is a fishing port-cum-tourist departure point.  Not much happens there during the peak summer months and nothing at all happens there during the winter. 

That said, it's a pretty seafront with multiple obligatory Tavernas ("The Ferryman" is regarded as the best although how much they paid the Thomson rep to say that I don't know). And you can gaze out across azure waters at the Venetian-built fortress town on the island of Spinalonga which served as a leper colony until as late as 1959.
The Venetians knew how to build a fortress!
The run was down the country lane that links the tourist resorts to the village.  It's one track and big enough for a donkey and olive cart yet somehow its used by massive Thomson coaches and death-defying taxi drivers who will have a runner's elbow off as soon as look at you. 

Sadly the sea and the view are not a part of this route until you get to the village when you can join the seafront and run round to the port and beyond if you choose.  I did about 7k out-and-back and yes, it was darn hot!

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