Over the next few weeks, marathons, half-marathons and fun runs abound; but there are two which stand out. The first takes place this coming weekend: a 20-year-old race that takes in some of the most sensational scenery in the country. While registration has now closed (phew!) organisers have faithfully promised the thousand-plus participants that there will be cheering spectators en route.
Starting from Aphrodite’s Rock at the crack of dawn (7.30am), the race passes along the Kouklia coastline for the first six or so kilometres before heading inland to skirt Mandria.
While it’s the Marathon that’s the main event of the day a number of shorter races are included in the programme. The Half-Marathon, billed as “The distance to test yourself and beat your Personal Best” involves an almost flat, fast course along the coastline: southwest through the town, looping back through the Neapolis district, up through Koloni towards the Elea Golf Resort, and finally a race back down to the finish line in the Square.
The same day also sees the 10-kilometre Road Race, a distance that’s highly popular with the less competitive. Taking place almost entirely on the seafront, participants will start at 8.40am from Paphos Castle, and once again organisers are playing up both the arboreal and support angles: “Full of palm trees and cheerful spectators, choose this race for a quick pace and to enjoy the buzz of the Paphos city!”
Finally, there’s the 5-kilometre Fun Run, billed as “perfect scenery to enjoy a Sunday morning run” and a great “team-building activity for competition between friends and colleagues.” Taking in an entirely different part of the coastline, the Fun Run begins in the same location, but then heads north past the Archaeological Park up towards Kefalos Beach, before looping back through the town, down past the Kato Paphos Bus Station and along to the Castle finish line.
Midway through March, it’s the OPAP Limassol Marathon GSO which brings the athletic to the island. Taking place on March 17 and 18, this is the 12th edition of the event, which sees runners of all ages competing in six different races.
All in all, both the Paphos and Limassol iterations promise to be a great day out: plenty of colour, lots of breathless activity, and oodles of palm trees. And should the running bug take hold, you’ve still time enough to register for the latter. Just saying…