By Bejay Browne
THIS year’s Paphos marathon is dedicated to the memory of legendary marathon runner Stelios Kyriakides, and the overall winners will be presented with gilded olive wreaths by his son.
On Sunday, March 9, a record breaking 650 runners will take part in the 17th annual Paphos marathon, which consists of the Paphos Marathon/half Marathon and 10k races. This year the event is being sponsored by Logicom Public Ltd. and has been renamed the Logicom Cyprus Marathon.
Race director Stavros Kakourides told the Sunday Mail that the first male and female overall winners will be honoured with a wreath made from olive leaves straight from the marathon in Athens, which would be immersed in gold, silver and bronze. “They are the same as those presented to the winners of the Cape Town Marathon and the Boston Marathon,” he said.
He added that the presentation would be carried out by Dimitris Kyriakides, son of the legendary Paphos-born 1946 Boston Marathon winner, Stelios Kyriakides, and by Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos.
More than half the runners are from overseas with entrants from 20-25 countries. Α huge number will come from the UK.
The event traditionally attracts amateur runners from all over the world. All are welcome, said Kakourides – from club to occasional runners.
Kakourides said last year’s winner Romanian Raphael Igrisianu was hoping to make this year a hat trick and aims to beat his last year’s finishing time of 2:48:20. The previous year he also took top place, with a time of 2:44:50.
The marathon is run over an almost flat course; starting out at Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock) and finishing up in front of Paphos castle.
The Cyprus Half Marathon and 10K races will start and finish at Paphos castle. Groups of volunteer marshals will assist in guiding runners throughout the course.
The race director says that the most popular event this year is the 10K race, with the greatest number of entrants.
“Logicom alone have got a team of 100 runners taking part in this event. Some people enter because they love running, others to beat a personal best and some also do so to raise funds and awareness for local charities.”
The Marathon starts from Aphrodite’s Rock at 7.30 am and finishes at Paphos Castle at the harbour. The other two distances will have a staggered start at around 8.30 am and finish at the castle. Entrants for the Marathon must be 18 years and over on the race day, the half marathon 16 years on race day and the10km road race 15 years on race day.
The race organiser said that a five-hour time limit would be observed on the Marathon and a three-hour limit for the Cyprus Half-Marathon. The event will be conducted in accordance with the Cyprus Amateur Athletics Federation (KOEAS), and the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) rules.
The Cyprus Association of Sports Medicine will offer full medical support throughout the event. Post-race physiotherapy care/advise will also be offered for any athletes needing treatment
All runners will be given a race T-shirt and a goody bag containing items such as energy gel and refillable water bottles. Everyone crossing the finish line in any of the races each receives a medal.
Kakourides said that organisers are hoping the public will turn up to support the runners and also enjoy an entertainment programme which will take place in front of the castle in Kato Paphos.
From 11 am- 12 noon there will be traditional music and dancing. The trophy presentation will take place at 12.30pm.
As well as fruit stations dotted along the race course, refreshments are also provided at the finish line.
“There will be plenty of beer for everyone as well as juice, water and seasonal fruit. The social aspect of this event is also important to us,” he said.
Organisers are still looking for volunteers to help as course marshals and fluid station assistants.
The Logicom Cyprus Marathon 2015 will be held on Sunday March 8.
For race information contact Stavros Kakourides 22370396, +357 99436826, +357 99788929 or [email protected]
A great running talent
Stylianos (Stelios) Kyriakides was born in the mountain village of Statos, near Paphos on January 15, 1910.
The youngest of five children, he left home to find work and help his poor farming family. Following a variety of jobs he ended up as a ‘house-boy’ for Dr Cheverton, a British medical officer. An athlete himself, Cheverton encouraged the now 22-year old Kyriakides to start running, gave him his first running gear, coaching advice and taught him to speak English.
At his first Pan-Cyprian games in 1932, Kyriakides won both the 1,500 and 10,000 metres on Friday, followed by both the 5,000 and 20,000 metres on Sunday. Hailed as a great talent, he was asked to run in the national championships in Greece, where he came first in the Marathon.
In 1938 he went to the US to run the Boston Marathon but was forced to drop out of the race because of blisters.
Between 1942 and 1944, Kyriakides was part of the Greek resistance.
In 1946, he decided to run the Boston Marathon again. In order to get there, he had to sell his furniture, enabling him to buy a single ticket. In Boston he ran to raise funds for civil war battered Greece. Crossing the finish line in first place, he shouted “For Greece!” He begged America for its help – and they responded. When he returned to Greece, he arrived with 25,000 tons of supplies in American aid, including $250,000 in cash. Over one million Greeks from all over the country lined the streets of Athens to greet him.
He died in Athens in 1987.