By Bejay Browne
FOR the first time runners from an organised running club in China will participate in this year’s Cyprus marathon, a move organisers are hoping will strengthen ties between the two countries.
The announcement came following a meeting between Race Director Stavros Kakourides, Chrysanthos Savvides, the head Paphos municipality Youth and Sports Commission and Dimitris Kyriakides, son of legendary marathon runner, Stelios Kyriakides.
Last year 786 runners participated in the annual event and this year, numbers are expected to swell to around 1,200. The event traditionally attracts amateur runners from all over the world, including club and occasional runners.
Kakourides told the Sunday Mail that Dimitris Kyriakides, son of the legendary Paphos-born 1946 Boston Marathon winner, Stelios Kyriakides, currently lives in China, and his wife is a marathon runner. They have an organised running group in China called Pegasus running club.
“Until now they have been promoting the Athens Marathon, and this year they will send a group of around 700 runners to participate there. We will now be one of their destinations for the first time, and they will send a small group of around 30 to 40 runners to give us a test.”
On Sunday March 6, 2016, the runners will take part in the 18th annual Paphos marathon, which consists of the Paphos Marathon/half Marathon and 10k races. As with this year, the coming event is being sponsored by Logicom Public Ltd. and has been renamed the Logicom Cyprus Marathon.
A six-hour time limit will be imposed on the Cyprus Marathon event and a three-hour limit for the Cyprus Half-Marathon. The event will be run over an almost flat course, the starting point will be from Petra tou Romiou, finishing with a long section of road along the Paphos seafront to the square in front of Paphos castle.
The Cyprus Half Marathon and 10 KM races will be an out and back course starting and finishing at Paphos castle.
“I believe that the prospect for the future are good as they (Pegasus) are managing to send a group of 700 runners to Athens; there are great possibilities for Cyprus,” Kakouridi noted.
He said that the event will also be covered for Chinese TV and other media outlets.
“Two people will come from China to cover the event for a TV documentary and a press woman will also be here to write articles about the event and Paphos as a tourist destination.”
The race director noted that although China is a considerable distance from Cyprus, this is not an issue as a huge chunk of the massive population are interested in running, and flight connections between the countries look set to improve.
“There are many Chinese interested in running and their races have around 40,000- 50,000 runners taking part. I also believe that in the near future… direct flights connecting China and Cyprus will get underway.”
The Logicom Cyprus Marathon 2016 will be held on Sunday March 6.
For race information contact Stavros Kakourides 22370396, +357 99436826, +357 99788929 or [email protected]