By Alix Norman
If your idea of a good time is dressing to the nines and sipping champagne, turn the page. Because this week we’re all about getting down and – really! – dirty. There’s going to be barbed wire. And trenches. And fields upon fields of mud. You’ll shed tears, sweat buckets, and bloody your knees. And you’ll be spending the day in the company of several thousand other madcaps who enjoy pushing themselves to their limits in what’s billed as the ultimate endurance test. The Legion Run is back…
Started in Cyprus last year, the Legion Run is effectively a massive obstacle course for grownups. Billed as a “top-five day in your life”, this five-kilometre run owes much of its design to military training courses, aiming to push participants’ physical and mental boundaries to breaking point while fostering the ultimate in team spirit. Because if you’re going to make it over the six-metre high walls, or up the massive quarter pipe, or even through the freezing tanks of iced water, then you’re definitely going to need a helping hand.
“Legion means ‘many’ and the Legion Run is a ‘we’ thing!” says Antonis Alexopoulos, Communications Director of the organising team. “It’s not a competition against others, and it’s not a race: people are there to be with each other, to overcome their personal challenges while being part of a team. And, to a greater extent, a part of all the people running the course.” Apparently, “everyone who participates finishes the course a changed person”… there’s the pride of completing something seemingly impossible, the proof that limits are merely a state of mind, and even the joyful intensity that comes with the creation of bonds through adversity.
Now, while the Legion Run is a non-competitive, team run, there are a few who choose to run as individuals. “We understand that a certain percentage of our runners have a competitive desire, either against themselves or against another team,” says Antonis. “Hence, we provide only one competitive wave, the very first one, for people who want to compete against their watch or a team. The wave is not reserved exclusively for those who want to compete, so other teams can certainly join in,” he says, adding that nobody will be timed, and no winners will be announced.
However, most runners will inevitably need to help and be helped – both by their own team-mates and those from other teams. And in the Legion Run, help can be “both physical and mental,” says Antonis, “since overcoming challenges and fears takes on both dimensions.”
Speaking of dimensions, anyone who ran last year will notice that while there are some fairly familiar obstacles on the course, many new elements have been added. “We still have obstacles like the Colossus (the famous quarter pipe that few can climb alone) and Gladius (the iced water-filled tanks), but we’ve added obstacles such as Laminis (incline walls) and Funis (ropes and bars hand walk) and Lutum (a really muddy one).” Even the older obstacles have often undergone modification, apparently, organisers constantly seeking to upgrade and improve in all they do – including their comprehensive safety measures.
“We are extremely conscious and sensitive when it comes to safety,” says Antonis, noting that entrants must be 18 or over, and thus able to accept personal responsibility for their participation. “This is a very fun event, but our obstacles are the real thing too, so there is always a risk of injury. Like last year, we will have medical personnel on site, as well as ambulances and rescuers.” Good to know, then, that everything is in order, even if you’re merely there for the fun-filled festivities and the general excitements.
“Last year, the Legion Run Cyprus was a huge success in all aspects,” says Antonis, adding that all their foreign tours (from Sofia to Thessalonika, Budapest to Athens) were extremely well received. “The buzz lasted for months afterwards: over 4,200 people participated, and several thousand more came just to watch and have fun at the festival. It was probably one of the biggest events on the island in the last decade and the area around the event was full of people, which created an amazing energy. And,” he concludes, in verbal capitals “this year, we believe that
Legion Run Cyprus 2015 will be Bigger and Better, not to mention Wetter and Different!”
You have been warned! Recruit your team and book your ticket now! Because Cyprus is about to go Legion!
The Legion Run
Sponsored by Carlsberg Beer and Shark Energy Drink, Saturday, April 4 in Latouros Quarries, Dali from 8am until sunset. Participation costs€54 for teams of 4 to 9 people, and €49 for teams of 9 people and above. Tickets currently cost between €44 and €49, depending on the size of the team; the price will increase as the event nears. Spectators’ tickets cost €5, children under 12 go free. For further information visit www.legionrun.com or contact Antonis Alexopoulos on 99 524645