By Bejay Browne
THE NINTH Cyprus International Four Day Challenge got underway in Paphos yesterday with hundreds of European competitors taking part.
Not for the faint hearted, the event kicked off with a 6km time trial on asphalt with entrants running against the clock.
This will be followed by a multi-terrain half marathon, an 11km mountain trail run and a 10km city run.
The challenge is being organised by Arena Sports Cyprus and ‘2:09 Events’, owned by Mike Gratton, a previous London marathon winner and running holiday specialist. Organisers say they aim to offer participants “an adventurous and challenging running event”.
Each runner’s time from each of the four events is added up to give a total time and work out winners. Much of the challenge takes place in the Akamas nature reserve park where participants will race through some of the most scenic routes in Cyprus.
Today, competitors will complete a mountain trail run taking in steep ascents and descents over a distance of 11km. The race will get underway close to the Akamas ‘white river’ and will finish at Pano Arodes village square.
On Saturday, competitors will run the half marathon, which in previous years was described by participants as the highlight of the challenge. It combines a ‘soft’ mountain run and a tough, steep descent finishing at Toxeftra Beach.
On the last day, runners head for the city of Paphos, where they will compete in the fairly flat 10km Paphos city run; this starts and finishes at the castle.