New York, Paris, Chicago, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Boston… are all celebrated as the traditional top cities for staging major marathons where hundreds of thousands of runners take part every year. Globally, there are an estimated 4,400 official marathons, at least. The annual OPAP Limassol Marathon GSO – which this year takes place on Sat 23rd and Sun 24th March – is highly regarded and attracts runners from around the world, including Europe, UK and US to Japan, Brazil, Australia, China and Africa.
It’s the biggest sporting occasion in Cyprus, and Londa guests can be at the centre of the action if they wish! Londa hotel – always near to the authentic cultural heart of most Limassol events – is on the runners’ route along the coast road from Molos Park to the ancient royal city of Amathus. As well as cheering the runners on as they swerve up to 15 “water stations” along the full marathon route, spectators can also get involved in a number of accompanying fitness, food and music events also being staged over the weekend.
15,000 runners from over 60 countries
Interest in competing at the Limassol marathon continues to grow. In 2018, around 15,000 runners from over 60 countries participated in the two-day event, up from 10,000 in 2015. Now in it’s 13th year the Limassol marathon – is not just one race, but a further four competitions. A half marathon, 10km, 5km and a 1.5 km Kids Race enables men, women and children at different distance training and experience levels to take part. All runners receive a medal and a Participation Diploma, and the first 3 places in the Marathon and the Half Marathon will receive prizes of between €400-2,000 if they complete their respective races within a set time for the distance.
Scheduled to kick off proceedings at 11.00am on Saturday 23rd is the Kid’s Race (sponsored by the Andrey & Julia Dashin Foundation). The run takes place along the Promenade, at the western end of Molos Park, around 5 kms (3.5 miles) west of Londa. Aimed at promoting running culture to the up and coming generations, there will be three different age groups of runners (i) 6 – 9 Years Old (ii) 10 – 13 Years and (iii) 14 – 16.
Great chance for runners to go for an individual PB
It’s early Starter’s Orders at 7.30am on Sunday 24th for the main event – the Marathon itself. Described as “flat” and “fast”, it’s a great chance for runners to go for an individual PB (personal best)! The race starts and finishes at the western end of Molos Park. Runners will follow the coastline past Limassol Marina and Old Port, a mix of urban and natural scenery – including the famous “forest tunnel” – arriving at the ruins of the ancient kingdom city of Amathus before heading back to Molos Park.
The half marathon is scheduled to start just 10 mins after the main marathon, heading off past Limassol Zoo along the coast to Amathus, and turning back at Ag Varvaras church, Santa Barbara. First introduced three years ago, the Petrolina 10km Energy Race is next off the starting line at 8.00am. One of the most popular of distances with local runners, the route along the Mediterranean coast reaches Germasogeia Police Station for the return leg to the finishing line.
Visitors can take part in fitness classes, talk with nutrition specialists
Spectators can also get involved! The Petrolina sponsored Energy Day (Sat 23rd) is a full programme of “fitness, wellness, and energy” to be held at the Molos Park Marathon Village. Visitors can take part in fitness classes, talk with nutrition specialists and enjoy healthy snacks, hear live music from ANT1 Radio DJs – and receive special giveaways! The GSO Kids Academy Instructors will also be on hand with fitness challenges and various exercises aimed at the youngsters.
The last race to go on Sunday at 8.10 am, is the 5km City Race, ideal for newbie runners and an opportunity for anyone who would love to have the experience of taking part in a major city running event. But with a twist. In Limassol district, the Mediterranean is a constant scenic companion!
Pasta party and Beach bar celebrations!
Another constant companion, as every marathon runner knows, is the loading up of carbs to get you to the finishing line. That’s why the Mitsides Pasta Party will be urging everyone to “Eat Pasta, Run Fasta!” on Saturday 23rd from 5.30pm. Here’s a real opportunity to not only stock up on essential carbs but also to meet and debate the upcoming race. Issues involved in competition running can be discussed with the official OPAP Marathon Pacing Team, and race specialists, as well as international and local runners.
Throughout Sunday and into the evening, marathon celebrations will be in full swing at the Guaba Beach Bar (a 10 -15 minute walk from Londa) – with live music from popular Cyprus bands, such as ‘Minus One’ and ‘Λωποδύτες’ plus a full roster of top island DJs, such as ‘Lontos’ and the day’s headliner, ‘The Von’.
Some visitors or guests might fancy putting on their running shoes. Others may simply prefer a leisurely stroll down the coastal road to take in the sights and sounds of Limassol, swept up in full immersive, marathon fever! Some Londa guests need do nothing more than keep a watchful eye from their bedroom balcony window. Boutique luxury experience in Limassol definitely “running alongside” New York, Paris, Chicago, London…!