9 Mar

Marathon Of Myth And Legend

Paphos Marathon women's podium 2017A capacity field assembled at Petra Tou Romiou (Aphrodite's Rock), mythological birthplace of Aphrodite Goddess of Love and Beauty, for the 19th Logicom Cyprus Marathon on Sunday (5 March). The 300 runners felt the warm breath of Aphrodite on their backs - or an easterly breeze for non-romantics - as they wound their way along the stunning coastal road to finish at the Medieval Fort Square in Paphos Harbour.

Even at the 7:30am start it was hot and sunny and conditions were not ideal but the pre-race favourite, Richard Waldron (Southampton AC), wearing bib number one, was determined to become the first ever English winner of Logicom Cyprus Marathon since its inception in 1999. 
 
Waldron was also intent on taking the 2005 record by Salameh Al Aqra (Jordan, 2:33:03) but the marathon can be a cruel master and a sprained ankle in the early stages soon put paid to his record attempt and ultimately forced his retirement despite a brave attempt to finish.   
 
This race is dedicated to the memory of marathon running legend, Stelios Kyriakides, born in Paphos in 1910, who won the Boston Marathon in 1946 to raise funds for food and shelter for impoverished Greeks who were experiencing severe post-war deprivation. One unique feature of Cyprus Marathon is the award of a freshly dipped in 24-karat gold olive wreath from Marathon in Greece to the winners.
 
This year's champions were Liviu Croituru (Moldova, 2:36:18) and Alexandra Morozova (Russia, 3:11:49) and the leading Britsh runners, who typically comprise 25% of the field, were men's runner-up Denys Olefir (Newmarket, 2:38:23) and Sandra Hopkins (Portsmouth Joggers, 3:39:02), who was fourth woman.
 
The marathon is supported by good quality half marathon, 10k and 5k races that start and finish in the shadow of the Byzantine Fort that dominates Harbour Square where fruit, water, juice, electrolyte, beer, massage and music was available. The longer runs all pass the bustling Poseidonos Avenue where bars and cafes are filled with cheering supporters for the final few kilometres. 
 
Aphrodite's Rock Cyprus marathon startThere was a record entry of more than 2,000 runners and a British winner to applaud as Andy Norman (Altrincham, 32:57) won the 10k race that was also enjoyed by your runABC reporter, Alan Newman. Next year's events will be held on Sunday, 4 March 2018. Full details and results are on the official website and there is an amazing drone film by Cyprus Aerial Filming here.
 
Images courtesy Fotokinisi