President Nicos Anastasiades kicked off the 11th Opap Limassol-GSO marathon on Saturday, which he said is one of the most renowned and successful marathons in the world.
The island’s single largest athletics event, the marathon for the first time spans two days.
Addressing the runners and spectators, Anastasiades said that “in a spirit of sportsmanship, in a spirit particularly characterised by the sun, the sea, and the environment of our Limassol, I salute the start of the 11th Opap Limassol-GSO Marathon, which today, I was pleased to learn, boasts 8,000 runners, with 7,000 more tomorrow, having set a new record with 15,000 participants.
“I congratulate the organisers, as well as the 500 volunteers, I congratulate you on your initiatives for the races, and I wish you all the best,” he said.
“The presence of 2,000 foreigners taking part in this event, from America to Japan and Singapore, promotes not just Limassol but Cyprus abroad, making the marathon one of the most renowned and successful in the world.”
Event director Spyros Spyrou said the marathon aims to support the Karaiskakio foundation, which “fights for a leukaemia-free Cyprus”.
“We feel proud of the support we give Karaiskakio and call on people to support it, too,” he said.
“It is very simple – they give some saliva, no blood, no pain, in order to enrich the foundation’s DNA bank.”
Managing director of Opap Cyprus Demetris Aletraris said Opap supports the marathon for the second consecutive year “with the foremost goal to support the Karaiskakio foundation, as we support Cypriot society”.
“Which is why I will ask all the runners – it will take one minute of our lives – to give a saliva sample, to enrich this bank that leads the world per capita,” Aletraris said.
In addition to the Primetel Corporate 5-kilometre race, the Andrey & Julia Dashin Foundation 1-kilometre Children’s Run was also held on Saturday morning, while the Petrolina Energy Run was due to be held in the afternoon, as was the Pasta Party.
At 7am Sunday, the marathon, half-marathon, the Petrolina 10-kilometre Energy Run, and the Individual 5-kilometre Run will kick off.
The event will conclude with an ‘after party’ at Guaba beach bar.