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Get spring in your step

Basically, we live on a two-season island. There’s that quick, mild winter and then the endless, scorching summer – and in between we get a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it autumn and a wait-was-that-spring? And with the meteorological service predicting yet another long, hot summer, consider this your early warning: now is the time to take advantage of the last few pleasant days to get out and about, see a bit of the island and stretch those legs. You could even enjoy the balmy weather while doing your bit for charity this weekend, and join the Anogyra fund-raising run in aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity…

“It’s the right time of year for this type of event,” says Peter Hogg, Cyprus Chairman of the charity and an avid runner himself. “The weather is fantastic, and the running conditions ideal: there’s no humidity and there’s no dust in the air. Plus you’re running through wonderful countryside – the village of Anogyra is well above sea level with fantastic views off the mountain down to the enticing Mediterranean Sea; you’re starting and ending in a pretty village, running past the carob trees and through shady olive groves.” Sounds ideal. And should you prefer to take things at a more leisurely pace, you can still join in the fun because the event has been divided into three sections: the 10km run, the 10km walk and the 5km ramble.

“Some people like to run the full distance, some prefer to walk,” Hogg says, explaining that both 10km iterations follow the same route. “There’s a complete spectrum of terrain, tarmac through to farm tracks, and we’re expecting a number of serious runners from Paphos, Episkopi, Limassol and Nicosia to take part, along with walkers from groups such as the Paphos Wanderers.” As well as individuals, both the run and the walk allow for team participation: “You can participate as a team of four, if you wish,” says Peter; “we fully expect there to be half a dozen teams from Episkopi, at least three from Paphos. And prizes will be awarded to both the top three runners – of both sexes – and the top three teams in each event.”

Meanwhile, the 5km ramble will follow a slightly different trail: “It’s only three miles, so it’s not an arduous walk; the ramble is the perfect category for families with young children, or people who are perhaps a little more infirm, and it takes place entirely on farm tracks.”

All three events start and finish within the village itself, next to the well-known Nicholas’ Swimming Pool Taverna, which will be open to those in need of a little sustenance – coffee and biscuits will be available beforehand, and lunch after it’s all over. Races will start from 10am onwards, with the registration desk open from 9am; competitors pay €10 to participate in their chosen event, of which the entire amount will go to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

“The Charity is run entirely by volunteers,” says Peter, adding that the Cyprus chapter is part of the worldwide organisation which has been supporting soldiers, former soldiers and families of the British Army who are in need since 1944. With a huge number of annual fund-raising events all over the world (everything from The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch to the Norfolk Heirlooms Car Boot Sale and Picnic, Wheels on the Western Front to parachute jumping with the Red Devils), the volunteers of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity work tirelessly from all four corners of the globe.

“Here in Cyprus, we try to host an event nigh on monthly, and run a number of events annually, predominantly military band concerts,” Peter explains, adding that the military concert in the Pissouri Amphitheatre last November raised over €5,000. “We also organise 10km walks and runs, and several social events: car treasure hunts and the like. In general terms we’ve raised €50,000 each year, and with this event we hope to raise another €2,000 at least.”
So, if you fancy doing your bit for a very worthwhile charity, head on over to Anogyra this weekend to join in the fun run. Or Walk. Or Ramble. And make the most of the spring weather while you can!

The ABF The Soldiers’ Charity 10km Run, 10km Walk and 5km Ramble
Anogyra on April 23. The event starts outside Nicholas’ Swimming Pool Taverna. Registration and cash desk opens at 9am. The 10km Walk starts at 10am, the 10km Run at 11am and the 5km Ramble at 11.05am. The prize giving will take place at 1pm. Entrance costs €10 for adults, €5 for under-15s, and children under 10 go free. For more details, email Peter Hogg on [email protected]

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