RUNNERS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE UNITE IN GREECE FOR 39TH ATHENS MARATHON
In the runup to the event, Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) President Sofia Sakorafa inaugurated the country’s largest sport show at the OPAP Marathon Expo marking the official start of the Athens Marathon four-day celebrations. Sakorafa, Deputy Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis and Marathon Mayor Stergios Tsikras joined a panel of guests which included Greek long-distance runners Kostas Gkelaouzos and Katerina Asimakopoulou.
Avgenakis described the Athens Marathon as a major celebration that contributed not only to sport and culture but also to the local economy. “It is a challenge both economically and in terms of tourism and sport,” he said.
“We have excellent numbers. An event that exceeds 45,000 entries and manages to bring together representatives from 92 countries and 126 nationalities… gathers more than 3,500 volunteers… and over 20,000 travelers is the result of successful planning,” said Avgenakis, adding that an estimated 20 million euros will be generated.
“A well-organized sporting event showcases the sport but at the same time the entire country,” he said referring to other events held this year in Greece including the Rally Acropolis and the International Cycling Tour.
Meanwhile, Mayor Tsikras said Marathon was ready to host the grand celebration of sports and to cheer on and support the athletes with events along the marathon route.
“This year we have an important addition to the Opening Ceremony, apart from the established ritual, students from our schools will participate for the first time staging a ‘Battle of Marathon’ theatrical,” he said.