“Winners” were also the 14.800 runners that participated in the Marathon, the 10km & 5km Road Races of Health and Power Walking, and the 1000m Race for Primary School Students.
The 9th “ALEXANDER THE GREAT”Int’l Marathon proved itself worthy of the high expectations, as the biggest sporting event in Northern Greece. A total of 14.800 runners, aged 9-85 years, flooded the streets of Thessaloniki and Macedonia, lived a unique experience, won the applause of many fans and sent a message of fitness and health, through an event that has also social, cultural, environmental, touristic and historic character. An event that since 2006 is “joining” Pella with Thessaloniki and displays throughout the world the name of Alexander the Great.
The final number -record in the history of the event- of registered runners was 14.800 (about 8.400 runners in the 5km Road Race of Health and Power Walking, 3.300 in the 10km Road Race of Health and Power Walking, 1.600 in the Marathon and 1.500 in the 1.000m Road Race for Primary School Students), with athletes coming from 54 countries and five continents.
It is worth mentioning, that at least 1.000 prospective runners were also interested in taking part in the racing events of the 9th ATGM, after all the extra available places and BIB numbers were given until Friday afternoon (April 4th). Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get a position in the starting lists.
The first winner of the Marathon was Kenyan Kiprono Victor Kimeli, who passed the finishing line at the White Tower after 2 hours 21:14. His performance would be even better, if the strong wind in parts of the route and the rain at the start, at Pella, hadn’t raised the difficulty level.
Second came the 2012 and 2013 winner of the race, the Ethiopian Metaferia Teklu Getu (2:26:33), who was leading from the start, tried to speed up around the 25th km, but soon ran out of energy and was unable to keep up with the lead after the 30th kilometer. Third on the podium was Greek Kyriakos Symiriotis (2:33:24).
Greek Magda Gazea was the favorite to win the Marathon for a second consecutive year and met up with the expectations, finishing in 2:47:07. Second came Romanian Luca Maria Magdalena (she was also second in last year’s Marathon) with a time of 2:53:46 and third was Alina Nituleasa (winner of the 2012 Marathon) with 2:59:54.
In the 10.000m. Road Race of Health and Power Walking first winner was Dimos Maginas (31:01), followed by Giorgos Karavidas (32:01) and Stathis Mavridopoulos (33:46). First woman was Paraskevi Katsakiori (38:08), second came Theodosia Markou (38:36) and third came Emi Sapiou (39:50).
As for the 5.000m. Road Race of Health and Power Walking, which took place under rain, Pavlos Apostolidis of the organizing athletic club “MEAS TRITON” came first for fourth consecutive year (16:00). Second was Zafeiris Panopoulos (16:21) and Konstandinos Zaimis (16:25). In women’s category, first winner was Stefania Leontiadou (19:00), second came Paraskevi Thrasivoulou (19:16 ) and third was Georgia Malama (19:20).
Members of the WIND Running Team that took part in the 5km Race to help Non-Governmental Organizations “Amimoni” and “Storgi” were taekwondo Olympic winner Alexandros Nikolaidis, journalist Vicky Chatzivasileiou, Greek TV presenter Jenny Balatsinou, Journalist Emmy Livaniou, actress Zeta Douka, actor Memos Begnis, presenters Giorgos Manikas and Stelios Chantampakis.
Among the IKEA Running Team members were four famous Greek moms: singer Elli Kokkinou and TV presenters Despina Kambouri, Olga Lafazani and Marietta Chrousala, who ran to help the Non-Governmental Organization “Anihti Agalia”.
In the 5km Race also participated gymnastics Olympic winner Vasilis Tsolakidis, sailing Olympic winner Kostas Trigonis, rowing Olympic winner Christina Giazitzidou, who ran with the running team of DOWN Syndrome Association of Greece, the Paralympic Alexandros Taxildaris representing “Perpato” Organization, and the model and activist Gloria Mika, member of Skouras Running Team.
The racing program also included a 1.000m Road Race for Primary School Students, which was dedicated to the environment. In this participated 1.500 children, wearing T-shirts with the message “Race for the environment is a Marathon”. One day earlier, on Saturday (April 4th), young runners planted an urban orchard in an area of 6.000 square metres near the National Kaftanzoglio Stadium, in collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki. There was also an unofficial 1.000m. Road Race for Disabled. Both Races started from Aristotelous Square and finished at the White Tower.
With their own running teams participated the 23 supported Non-Governmental Organizations and Institutes, which will receive by the Organizing Committee the amount of 5 euros for each one of their runners.
Next “rendez-vous” for the thousands of runners will be on October 18, 2014, when the 3rd Thessaloniki Int’l Half Marathon will be held.
The 9th “ALEXANDER THE GREAT” Int’l Marathon was organized by “MEAS TRITON” athletic club in collaboration with the Municipalities of Thessaloniki, Pella, Ambelokipoi – Menemeni, Chalcedona and all Municipalities from which the route passes by, under the auspices of the Greek National Commission for UNESCO, HOC, SEGAS, with the support of the EAS SEGAS Thessaloniki and numerous institutional and voluntary supporters. The event was also supported by the “Thessaloniki European Youth Capital 2014”.
Paraskevi Giannakidou ( General Secretary of Sports): “This year’s “ALEXANDER THE GREAT” Marathon is really impressive! A lot of credit to the organizers and the runners. I returned yesterday from an official visit to Paris, where there is also a Marathon today, to attend the great event of my city”.
Yiannis Boutaris (Mayor of Thessaloniki): “People need such events. Sports unites us all. By Saturday, with the lighting of Alexander Marathon Flame and the other festivities, there is a very pleasant atmosphere in our city”.
Viktor Kiprono Kimeli ( 1st Marathon winner, men’s category): “I feel very happy with my victory. The weather conditions were difficult, the very strong wind made it difficult and I did the best time I could. But it was a very nice experience and I want to come back next year and try to achieve a performance around 2:10 – 2:15. I participated in this Marathon in 2009 and finished 13th, so I’m glad this year I made a lot better!”.
Kyriakos Symiriotis (3rd Marathon winner, men’s category): “It was my goal to get on the podium and achieve a personal best, which I succeeded. I expected a better time –about 5 minutes less- but we came up against a very strong headwind in a big part of the route”.
Magda Gazea (1st Marathon winner, women’s category): “Nothing could spoil this wonderful event of my hometown, Thessaloniki! We were against the wind for 20 kilometers, but I am very happy that I finished the race in front of such a beautiful crowd. I wish everyone that applauded us today, to run with us next year! This Marathon improves every year and we should congratulate the people who support it”.
Dimos Maginas (1st at the 10km Race, men’s category): “I am very pleased with my performance. I was targeting a time around 31 minutes. It was a great race and organizers deserve our congratulations”.
Giorgos Karavidas (2nd at the 10km Race, men’s category): “This was my third participation in the 10.000m Road Race of “ALEXANDER THE GREAT” Int’l Marathon and the third medal I win, having already achieved a first and a second place. Our country needs such events. It’s something special for Thessaloniki and Greece, so I try to honor the organization with my presence”.
Paraskevi Katsakiori (1st at the 10km Race, women’s category) : “This was the first time I participated in the competition, I did not know the route, but I did it! It was a nice race, I was absolutely delighted by both the race and the organizational part and will definitely participate again!”.
Pavlos Apostolidis (1st at the 5km Race, men’s category): “It’s a great experience to participate in this event. The organization becomes better and better every year, breaks attendance records and we should support it more, to help it grow even bigger”.