This week’s article is written by my wife Alexandra, who is as passionate about running as I am about wine. We both share our respective enthusiasms with our children, and are very proud of their latest achievements:
“This past Sunday, on November 11th, the 30th Athens Marathon event took place, hosting the Athens classic marathon race, as well a 10K and a 5K race. All the runners finish in the historic, beautiful Panathenaic legacy stadium of Athens, the stadium which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and is entirely built of white marble.
Last year at this event I had joined the marathon race and had the immense satisfaction of crossing the finishing line in the surroundings of this marvelous stadium.
This year I experienced a different, yet in no way lesser satisfaction. I spread the seeds of the joy of running in the most treasured people in the world to me: my children. I enrolled the three younger ones and myself for the 5 km race. The children had no particular training in advance but the idea of a race woke up the sense of competition and eagerness in them.
Over 5000 runners took part in the 5K run, but despite the crowds we were able to fully enjoy the event. It was exceptionally well organized, walking around didn’t felt packed, finding the way to the starting blocks was easy.
My boys took off at the sound of the gun with huge smiles and a bit of agony on their faces. They all did exceptionally well. Aris (age 12) completed in 24:57 and Alexander (age 11) in 24:02 and I escorted Anna (age 8) doing the whole course in 38:00. All three were so proud to have made it!
After the 5K and 10K events were completed, we joined the spectators in the stadium to await the marathon finishers. It was a huge party, there was loud music, big screens, live updates, and people were dancing and cheering. The vibe was amazing.
As I was taking everything in, I felt so proud of being Greek. Complementary to the flawless event organization, the crowds responded in a way that comes natural to Greeks: they had fun! Purely contagious fun, laughter and carelessness! The city badly needed this party.
When the day was done we returned home carrying the lingering buzz of a great sports day. And then all of a sudden the kids had 10.000 questions about running: Running 5km was endless, how can anyone do 42km? How much do I have to train to run 10K next year? How will I become even faster? When is the next race we can join? Can we go for a run next weekend?
I wondered (and wished) whether this could be the beginning of my gift to them: the discovery of what an inspiration and strength running can give to both body and mind.”