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GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Athens Classic Marathon

2001-11-02

Given the world order since September 11, the organisers of the Athens Classic Marathon feel they have even more reason to dedicate their event on Sunday to the memory of former athlete and peace campaigner, Grigoris Lambrakis, who was killed while trying to organise peace marches during the social upheavals in Greece almost 40 years ago. A Balkan champion jumper and record holder, Lambrakis was one of the post-war founders of the Greek athletics federation, and a founding member of the Hellenic Committee for Peace. He lived and died by his motto: "It is beautiful to live for peace, but it is great to die for peace". The mayor of Athens, Dimitris Avramopoulos echoed Lambrakis sentiments this week, in a message to the marathon organisers. "At such a crucial period for the international community, the Athens Classic Marathon, in memory of Gregoris Lambrakis sends a message of peace and solidarity all around the world". Staged on the classic course, from Marathon to Athens, created for the first modern Olympics in 1896, the event this weekend is part of the broader endeavor towards a successful Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. The city, the athletics federation (SEGAS) and the Athens Classic Marathons new sponsor, Alpha Bank, have combined to build the race into one of the worlds most prestigious events. Alpha Bank has made an eight-year commitment to the marathon as part of their overall $62m Olympic investment. This year marks the first stage of the long term development and includes a million dollar renovation of the start area in Marathon and the course. Future plans include inviting more elite athletes and development of grassroots participation locally. The growth of the Athens Classic Marathon is on course for 2004 and beyond.

Pat Butcher


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