Gary Elbert from Roscrea (right) finished the 246km Sparathon race in Greece as did his friend seen here, Fozzy Forristal from Kerry.

Roscrea man finishes gruelling race

A Roscrea athlete has completed one of the most gruelling ultra-distance runs in the world, becoming the first man from Tipperary to do so.

Gary Elbert is one of only 15 Irishmen to have ever completed the Spartathlon in Greece, a 246km race held in really hot temperatures of up 35 degrees celcius.

Gary was one of three Irishmen who managed to complete the event held last September. He was one of 400 of the best ultra-runners in the world who started beneath the Acropolis.

Less than half of those who started managed to finish. But the Roscrea man was among the 182 hardy souls who sucessfully completed the long run before the strictly enforced 36 hour cut off. Gary (41) finished the event in 35 hours.

The race started beneath the Acropolis on September 30, and like the other competitors, the Roscrea man was given the challenge of finishing in 36 hours at the statue of King Leonidas in the town of Sparta.

The Spartathlon is a truly international event with competitors coming from Asia, South America, USA, and everywhere else to take part.

As part of his preparation for the event Gary ran a 100 mile race in Connemara last August, finishing in a time of 15 hours 54 minutes.