Spyros Spyrou, CEO at International Limassol Marathon G.S.O. spoke exclusively to Cyprus Traveller as this year’s event rapidly approaches this coming Sunday (March 10, 2016).
CT: Where would you rank Limassol Marathon when comparing Europe’s best marathon events? Why should runners (professional or amateur) want to participate?
Spyros: Europe and the USA have a long tradition in marathons. London and Berlin host the greatest marathons in the world and runners are usually on a waiting list to get a ticket. There, we ‘re speaking about marathons with tens of thousands of runners.
Limassol Marathon cannot compare to the great marathons of the world, and we do not aim to compare. The reason is that we will never become so big or so historic. However, we know, and this is what we promote, that Limassol Marathon is unique and it could become, for its own unique characteristics, one of the most popular in Europe.
Limassol Marathon is unique mainly because of the weather, the brightness and the special energy of the city. Limassol Marathon is exceptional because it’s the only marathon and flat route in Europe along a coastline of 21km. These reasons along with a perfect organisation can make the Limassol Marathon a very, very attractive one for the world’s runners. It’s a truly international event in a beautiful city, and in a hospitable country.
CT: How successful has Limassol Marathon been for the region and island since its creation?
Spyros: We will have the 10th Limassol Marathon in 2016. In the first three years the only race was the marathon and it was a closed event with less than 100 runners. In 2010 the organisation was given to Olympus Event Management and it has turned into an international event with different races.
In the same year, we increased the participation to 500 runners and every year since then, we doubled the number of runners over the previous years. In 2015 we had 10,000 participants and the event was fully sold out.
The growth has been phenomenal and the event has been embraced with passion and dedication by all authorities, sports clubs and of course the people of Cyprus.
CT: Why you believe Limassol is a great destination for runners from all around the world?
Spyros: Limassol is a beautiful city extending on a 21km seafront, smiling to the sea. Limassol is energetic… it’s a vibrant city that caters for all tastes and ages. It’s between the two airports and offers easy and short access to all points of Cyprus. It is an open and a friendly city to all visitors.
Further to the overall attractiveness of the city, Limassol has evolved into a destination friendly to sports and outdoor activities. During the Limassol Marathon event, as I have already mentioned, a runner will experience a race along the waves and through the ruins of ancient kingdoms. It will be a unique experience. Beginners have an additional advantage in Limassol: the race is flat and it helps them improve their personal time.
CT: Are there any new developments that participants can expect at Limassol Marathon 2016?
Spyros: Limassol Marathon has a new Mega Sponsor. This is OPAP, an organisation that is dedicated to supporting sports and culture. We expect that the demand from abroad this year is going to be more than double than previous years and we aim to turn the Limassol Marathon into a cosmopolitan and international sports event followed by an amazing party. It’s going to be a meeting point for people from all over the world.