FOR the first time, the annual Paphos marathon will feature the iconic marathon flame from Athens.
The symbol will be carried into Paphos by the runners of the ‘Stelios Kyriakides’ Running Club after it arrives from Athens on March 4, ahead of the marathon itself on March 6.
The historic flame will be brought to Cyprus from Athens under the watchful eye of the official flame carriers, the Hellenic Athletics Federation, said George Kakourides one of the organisers of the Logicom Cyprus marathon which is now in its 18th year.
“This is very exciting for us and the first time that the flame has been featured in the Paphos marathon,” he said.
“This helps to make the event have far more of a cultural impact, people can come and see the historic flame, marathons are not just about running, it’s a community now.”
The flame will arrive on Friday night and be stored at Paphos municipality. It will then be taken to Kouklia medieval manor house in Paphos, where, at 9.30 am on March 6, a choreographed ceremony will take place, he said.
Twenty or so runners from the Stelios Kyriakides running club will then carry the flame, in relays of around 1km, to arrive at Yeroskipou Square where the mayor, Michalis Pavlides will welcome the flame and deliver a short ceremony of honours.
The runners will then again take the flame and deliver it to Paphos castle where a ceremony to light the marathon flame will take place.
Race director, Stavros Kakourides, said that interest in the event has increased over the last two years and has ‘exploded’, this year with 32 countries taking part.
The marathon is expected to attract more than 1,300 runners.
“We don’t want the marathon to be just about the running, we want to make it a cultural event as well,” he said.
Kakourides said that of the 32 countries taking part, the UK holds the top spot for the most entries, with 300 runners already registered. He said that six or seven well-organised UK running clubs would join the marathon.
“Also, for the first time runners from an organised running club in China will participate and we have entries from so many countries including, Germany, France, Greece, Russia, Hungary, Sweden, USA, Italy , Malta, Canada, Switzerland and more.”
Many of the numerous local runners taking part are raising money for charity.
Paphos-based Thanos Hotels will be entering a team of 42 people this year, made up of staff from the five star Almyra, Annabelle and Anassa hotels. They are running in aid of the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends (PASYKAF) Paphos.
The event includes a 42.2 km marathon run, a half marathon of 21.1 km, a 10km and a 5km fun run.
The marathon will set off from Petra tou Romiou, (Aphrodite`s Rock) finishing at Paphos castle at the harbour in Kato Paphos. The half marathon and the 10km race will start at the castle.
The Logicom Cyprus marathon is dedicated to the late Stelios Kyriakides, who was born in Paphos in 1910, participated in two Olympic Games (Berlin 1936, London 1948), and is known for winning the Boston Marathon in 1946.