Marios Giannakou had already climbed to the top of Mt. Olympus 50 times, but he says his 51st trip is his most memorable and meaningful. That's because he spent more than 10 hours ascending the mountain with a woman, Eleftheria Tosiou, on his back.
Eleftheria is 22 years old and has always dreamed of seeing the peak of Mt. Olympus but she's been unable to make the hike by herself due to a disability that affects her mobility. So, when she shared this dream with Marios, he stepped up to help her make her dreams come true.
Marios didn't need to train for the hike, because he has an incredible athletic record. From running a 93-mile race in Antarctica (which he won!) to hiking more than 160 miles in the Al Marmoum Desert, he was already in shape and ready for the new challenge. About a month after the two met and began planning their adventure, they were off!
Eleftheria rode on Marios' back in a special carrier that is designed specifically for long hikes. The pair were joined by eight guides and they all stopped to make camp and rest about halfway through before finishing up the more than 10-hour hike to the highest peak, which is more than 9,000 feet up.
Eleftheria was obviously thrilled to be able to live out her dream, but Marios seems to have been equally affected by the adventure. He said, "For me, all international races, the medals and the distinctions so far, mean little compared to that goal."
The pair, and their guides, successfully made their descent back down Mt. Olympus, and have an incredible story to tell. After it was all over, Marios said of the accomplishment, "There is nothing more real than the dream." Hopefully, this means that this hike was just the first of many adventures they will go on together.
Remember to share Eleftheria and Marios' story with your friends!
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