THE historic marathon flame arrived in Paphos harbour on Saturday, despite the windy weather, brought in by a 64-year-old Paphos runner, who was overcome with emotion and described performing the last leg of the run as an honour.
The symbol was carried into Paphos in relay by the runners of the ‘Stelios Kyriakides’ Running Club after it arrived from Athens on Friday, ahead of the marathon on Sunday March 6.
This is the first time the iconic flame is being featured in the Paphos Logicom Marathon, which is now in its 18th year.
Following the celebration to welcome the flame, a tearful Yiannakis Tsausis, 64, told the Sunday Mail he had been chosen carry it for the last stage of its journey, as he is the oldest member of his running club.
“I’m nearly 65 and running means everything to me. I have run in a number of other marathons around the world so far, and I have been running for about 50 years. This experience has been amazing and I feel very emotional,” he said.
The flame was brought to Cyprus inside a lantern which runners then lit the relay torch from. During an ancient ceremonial choreographed dance piece, Tsausis was crowned with a wreath of olive branches.
Officials, marathon entrants and members of the public welcomed all of the flame runners as they entered the castle square at the harbour. Mayor of Paphos Phedonas Phedonos, Rogiros Anastasi, a representative from board of the European Capital of Culture – Pafos2017, along with Spyros Zagaris, former Mayor of Marathon and the Ambassador of Marathon Municipality, all made speeches.
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.
His son, Demitris Kyriakides, is in the town for the event and was in the audience.
The flame started its journey at the Temple of Aphrodite in Kouklia, passing through Yeroskipou Square and arriving in Paphos just after midday for the official ceremony .
Dancers dressed in the style of ancient Greece performed a short, moving piece, which included spoken ancient Greek and movement. The piece was choreographed by Paola Hadjilambri, and the speeches were presented by Karolina Kyprianou.
George Kakourides, one of the organisers of the event, confirmed that 1,350 runners had registered to take part in the event, the largest number ever.
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.