In the spring of 2015, a group of high school students in Sifnos urged their PE teacher, Elena Lambou, to leave the narrow margins of the schoolyard and – as part of the “Nature and Exercise” program, which is, sadly, no longer in effect – take to the streets and trails of Sifnos, where they could enjoy a unique experience of exercise in a natural setting of unmatched beauty, with a view of the sea.
It wasn’t long before the incredible benefits of this form of exercise became apparent, and a team was formed to train together in their free time, soon graduating from power walking to running. It was a natural next step to look for a race to take part in, as both an additional motive for training, and an opportunity for all of them to join the major running movement that had taken the cities by storm.
Fourteen students elected to take part in the greatest celebration of the sport, the Authentic Athens Marathon in November 2015, in the 5K race, accompanied by their teacher and amateur runner Nikos Belios, and with the support of the entire teaching faculty. The students’ enthusiastic response to the experience led to the expansion of the team, and a second participation in the Athens Marathon in 2016, with teacher Thanos Dokas joining the Classic Race for the first time, and the Mayor of Sifnos, Andreas Babounis, taking part in the 5K Road Race.
In early 2016, PE teacher and captain of the school running team Elena Lambou met with the Mayor and the Sports Committee to communicate the students’ request to organise a race on the island. The aim was to establish a second race that the students could take part in within the school year, so that their motivation for training wouldn’t wane after the Marathon, and which would also serve as an opportunity for the entire student population to participate, an incentive for local residents of all ages to take up exercise, and, finally, an event that would attract runners from all over Greece and support the development of sports tourism on the island.
The idea was readily embraced by the entire Municipal Council, the organisations and associations of the island, with the caveat that, in order to organise a race as they envisioned it, which would meet the expectations of local and visiting runners alike, the basic prerequisite was to secure funding.
The answer came in the positive response of Thanos Theodoratos, businessman and owner of SIFNOS HOUSE, and his wife, Christina Kaltsidi, a dedicated runner and member of Marathon Team Greece, captained by marathon runner MARIA POLYZOU; upon hearing the idea, the couple immediately agreed to support it. As the event’s main sponsor, Mr. Theodoratos has undertaken the majority of its expenses, with the remainder covered by the Municipality of Sifnos. The race is organised and coordinated by Christina Kaltsidi and Elena Lambou, with the support of MARIA POLYZOU, the online Running Magazine and iArk Digital Media Agency.