We need more events like this," said the President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, declaring the start of the OPAP Limassol Marathon, which took place on the city's seafront on Saturday morning. In his statements to journalists after the start of the marathon, the President of the Republic said, "I congratulate the organizers, this is the 11th marathon that takes place, and we need more events of this kind." He emphasized that there are 3,000 participants from 70 countries, in addition to locals, "and we clearly need to invest more in such major sporting events that also have a charitable character, as they support the efforts of the Karaiskakion Foundation." He also underlined the collaboration between the private and public sectors and the longstanding support of OPAP for such events, expressing his gratitude to OPAP Managing Director, Dimitris Aletrari. Asked about running in the marathon, he said, "I would definitely prefer to run, I did it in the past and promise that I will do it next year as well." When asked which team he would run with, he said, "I can join many teams as was evident during the pre-election campaign. I will encourage some members of the Council of Ministers to run with us." To a question if cabinet members can run a marathon or a sprint, President said that "certainly (politics) is a marathon and politics in general is not a 100-meter race. Cabinet members will prepare this year to be able to cope with at least 5 kilometres next year." In her remarks, President of the House of Representatives Annita Demetriou said 'we train daily in the political arena'. She said she was happy to be attending the marathon once again, to convey a message for a world without leukemia, a more humane world for people who are facing these challenges. We are running and training and offer whatever we can and I am glad that every year people support such events and initiatives, she added. Demetriou thanked all who participated and especially the volunteers who supported the runners. Chairman of the organisation of Opap Limassol Marathon Spyros Spyrou said they had a record number of participations this year. 'We were worried about the weather but people defied the rain', he said. Our aim is for the Limassol marathon to evolve beyond a sports' event. 'It is a celebration of humanity, support for fellow beings, volunteerism and giving, he added. He also said that 10 thousand people registered to take part in the corporate run today while around 2000 children will take part in the kids' marathon at midday. On Sunday there will be 4000 people in the four special running events.
Source: Cyprus News Agency