Olympus Marathon is a race that for years now has crossed the borders of mountain running of our country, attracting many runners from abroad. Some are stable participants and make sure they have their ticket to the starting line in front of the archaeological site of Dion at the end of June. However, due to the difficulty of the route and the terrain, the myth that is behind the mountain that hosts the highest peak of Greece, along with the glamour it has acquired throughout the years, many elite athletes visit us each year, all with high expectations. A high position on the podium, and why not even a course record! We all remember strong names from the past such as Sebastien Chaigneau, Dawa Dachhiri Sherpa, Cristophe Jacquerod, Jessed Hernandez, Tony Vencelj, Michel Rabat, Juan Antonio Allegre, Didier Mussard, Ricky Lightfoot, Zhanna Vokueva, Helene Diamantides, Corinne Favre, Cecilia Mora και Hristina Kozareva. Names that have written their own stories in the mythical paths of Olympus.
The new season that Olympus Marathon has entered, with the cooperation of the athletic store Runner Store, has already started auspicious with the attraction and arrival of important names from the international trail running society. An omen to this year’s race will be made by the American athlete of Salomon USA, Stevie Kremer.
Stevie, born in Germany but raised in USA, discovered mountain running a couple of years ago. She is not a professional athlete, since she works as a 3rd grade teacher, but her performances and finishing positions all seam professional!
For three continuous years (2013, 2014, 2015) she was proclaimed Mountain and Trail Runner of the Year from the American Federation USATF. Indicative of her participations are the below list of wins:
1st in Jungfrau Marathon of Switzerland (International Championship of Ultra Trail Running)
1st Limone-Extreme Sky Race (course record), Italy
1st Goldenleaf Half Marathon (course record) Aspen, USA
1st Breck Crest Marathon (course record) Breckenridge, USA
1st Pikes Peak Marathon (US Trail Marathon Championship) Colorado Springs, USA
2st Sierre Zinal, Switzerland
1st Hout Bay Challenge, (course record), South Africa
1st Mont Blanc Marathon (course record), France
3st Zegama Marathon, Spain
1st Hermannslauf (course record), Germany
In 2014 she finished 1st at the great and extremely popular Zegama-Aizzkori, with a time of 4:46:43. The same year, she won the Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race, along with the Matterhorn Ultraks, and won 2nd place at the difficult with huge competition Limones Extreme of Italy.
In 2015 she participated in races mainly in America. She won the Denver Rock and Roll Half Marathon και Crystal Mountain Sky Marathon, finished 2nd at the Moab Trail Marathon and Whiteface Skymarathon and finished 1st at the Buffalo Stampede in Australia.
During the winter she enjoys mountaineering ski, where she also has outstanding accomplishments.
She teaches 3rd grade at the elementary school of Crested Butte in Colorado. “The teacher” is what Salomon has named her in the episode which was dedicated to Stevie. We have enriched this title calling her “the winged teacher”. This winged teacher is expected to be at the starting line in this year’s 13th Olympus Marathon and why not chase the course record from Corine Favre which holds from 2008 (5:29:57). Fully conscious of her age and her abilities as she mentions in Salomon’s episode, she compares the trails with teaching… “Every day you learn something new”.
“Winged” Stevie dedicated some of her valuable time and answered Advendure’s interview, shortly before her arrival in Greece and her attempt to “run with the Gods”.
[Advendure]: Olympus Marathon! A demanding mountain running race which is a dream to hundreds of Greek runners once they get into mountain running, and also a goal for many foreign runners as well. On your Facebook page you expressed your excitement about running the Olympus Marathon this month. What was it that attracted you to participate in the race and to “run with the Gods”?
[Stevie Kremer]: Ever since I saw my first pictures of Greece, I've always had an attraction to the country. I have ties in Germany, but never managed to get over to Greece. When I started racing and traveling for running, I was determined to find a place in Greece to run. That's when I met my fellow teammate Dimitris who introduced me to some amazing races in Greece, so it was my goal to get there this year!
[Advendure]: The course record in held by Corine Favre in 2008, at a time of 5:29:57. Are you chasing records when running a race? Are you going to attempt to break the Olympus Marathon women course record?
[Stevie Kremer]: I always try to run my best… Whether that is getting on the podium, breaking the record, or simply finishing, my best is all I can do. Since I don't know the course at all, it's difficult to predict how long it will take me. But I also heard there are some strong female runners racing, so it won't be easy!
[Advendure]: On your Facebook page you mention that you love exploring the world via trail running. What are some of your future dream places to compete in?
[Stevie Kremer]: I've accomplished many of my traveling dreams, getting to Greece was definitely one of them. I would love to race again in Africa and maybe Antarctica and be able to say I've raced in every continent.
[Advendure]: You train without a coach, you are a teacher and an elite trail runner. What influenced your decision to train by yourself? Have you had coaching proposals? In the future, do you think you will ever be interested in sharing your experiences and assisting other runners by coaching them?
[Stevie Kremer]: Because I have a full time job, I squeeze in runs and skis when possible. I enjoy running so much that I think if someone told me what to do, I wouldn't enjoy it anymore. I would love have share experiences and tips (that work for me) with others. I love getting people motivated and excited for running, just like I am!
[Advendure]: Mountain running vs. Ski Mountaineering. Tell us a few words about what they both mean to you… any chance that one of the two wins your heart more?
[Stevie Kremer]: They are my summer and my winter and I honestly can't say which one I like more. They both have aspects that make them fun and unique, and they both compliment the other. They both make you push on the uphill, but I have to say the downhill is way more fun on skis!
[Advendure]: We know from previous interviews that you are not yet interested in ultra-trail races. Since USA holds some of the most popular ultra distance races (i.e. Western States & Hardrock 100milers), do you think there is any chance that you will attempt an 100 miler in the future?
[Stevie Kremer]: I honestly do not see a 100 miler ANYWHERES in my future… Maybe some 50kms but not much more… Too many other fun things I'd like to do.
[Advendure]: What exactly attracts you to races of a marathon distance?
[Stevie Kremer]: It's a 4-6 hour hard push, with little to no walking. When you are done, you are still able to drink a beer and enjoy the rest of your day without being too sore or tired. (Don't get me wrong, some marathons make me very tired, but you can always enjoy a cold beer :-)
[Advendure]: Female runners have gained ground in the demanding trail running community, with outstanding performances and course records. What message would you like to send to women who are new to mountain running?
[Stevie Kremer]: Nothing it too far of a reach to accomplish. If you have a race goal in mind, go for it! You will succeed and it will be one of the proudest moments you will cherish forever!
[Advendure]: You are a 2nd grade school teacher. Child obesity has been a worldwide problem the past years. Do you think as an educator with significant athletic achievements you can inspire students at such a young age to adopt a healthy lifestyle which will include some form of physical activity? Do your students and their parents ask about your races?
[Stevie Kremer]: Actually I switched to 3rd grade this year:-) I do make my kids move around a lot, we dance in the classroom and sometimes go outside and run around for a bit, but where I live is already so active and healthy, it's not something I have to push. The kids and parents are already on it! The parents are outstanding support for me! They are always cheering me on and wishing me the best. I'm very lucky! The kids just want to know if I won… If I do, great! If not, they just change the subject :-)
[Advendure]: What are you plans for the second half of 2016?
[Stevie Kremer]: I believe I will be going to Tokyo in July, then Switzerland for Sierre Zinal in August. There are a few fall races I'll be looking into, but not 100% sure yet. First things first: Olympus Marathon and I can't wait!
Photo ©: Ian Corless, Stevie's Kremer Facabook Page, Fabio Menino