Andreas Spyrou: Cyprus is a perfect destination for international sports events

Andreas Spyrou, Business Development Director of the OPAP Limassol Marathon - taking place this weekend on 13-14 April - says that Cyprus is the perfect destination and is more than capable of hosting more such international sports events. "There are a lot of professionals that are willing to dedicate the funds, time, and labour necessary to establish and develop such events," he tells CBN in an interview, adding that the biggest challenge these professionals face is the “resistance to change” from local and national authorities.

What can we expect from this year’s OPAP Limassol Marathon? What will it entail?

This year’s event is expected to be the most successful in the history of the OPAP Limassol Marathon. We have a record-breaking number of registrations, and we have been receiving unprecedented messages of anticipation from the public.

How many people are you expecting to attend the marathon?

The event will take place on the 13th and the 14th of April. The PrimeTel 5KM Corporate Race and the Dashin Foundation Youth Race are scheduled for the 13th of April. On that day, we expect to accommodate more than 12,000 runners of all ages and abilities!

On the 14th of April, the competitive phase of the event will take place, with the Marathon Race, the Muskita Half Marathon Race, the Petrolina 10KM Energy Race and the Remathlon 5KM City Race. We expect to accommodate 5,000 runners.

Most important is the fact that we expect to have 800 registered Marathon runners, a number that was deemed impossible a few years back.

When was the OPAP Limassol Marathon launched and what has its impact been since?

The OPAP Limassol Marathon was launched by the Limassol Municipality and the Athletics Club of Limassol in 2007. Our company took administration in 2010 and since then we organise it every year - with the exceptions of 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Between 2010 and 2024, the OPAP Limassol Marathon developed into one of the most recognisable running events in Europe. When we first organised the event, we had a total attendance of 700 people. Today we expect to host more than 15,000 runners and guests in two days filled with races and parallel celebratory events.

Based on the above, we can proudly say that the largest impact our event had was on the creation of new runners and the development of running culture within our local communities. The other impact for which we are very proud is the promotion of Cyprus and Limassol as high-quality sport tourism destinations.

The OPAP Limassol Marathon also had an impact on the promotion of volunteerism. Every year around 700 volunteers support the event. They are a basic force behind the success and development of the event. We cannot thank them enough for their contribution throughout all these years.

Who can participate in the marathon and how?

We have races for all ages and abilities. Our young runners can participate (for free) in the Dashin Foundation’s Youth Race, that will take place on Saturday the 13th of April.

People who want to run and have fun with their friends and colleagues, can do so in the PrimeTel 5KM Corporate Race.

Those who want to take a shot on their first race experience can run the Remathlon 5KM City Race or the Petrolina 10KM Energy Race on Sunday the 14th of April.

And for our most seasoned runners, the Marathon Race and the Muskita Half Marathon Race are perfect opportunities to run a fast and flat course, which potentially can result in a new PB (personal best)!

Will there be a Sponsors Village in the 2024 event? Will there be any other special events accompanying the marathon?

The Sponsors Village will be operating throughout the weekend, with our sponsors providing various give-aways for all the runners and guests.

We invite the public to visit Molos in the weekend and cheer our local and international runners.

What do you believe Cyprus can do to host more international marathons and attract people and athletes from abroad?

Cyprus is a perfect destination and can definitely host more international sports events.

There are a lot of professionals that are willing to dedicate the funds, time, and labour necessary to establish and develop such events. The biggest challenge these professionals face is the “resistance to change” from local and national authorities. Organising an event that can compete with other similar events on a European level, is not business as usual. One needs to do things that have not been done before. Therefore, the local and national authorities as well as the local communities must accept that inconveniences may occur.

An example is the fact that the whole coastal front of Limassol is closed for a few hours during the event. This was a huge friction point between us and the local communities and authorities. However, once the benefits arising from such an event became clear, even the hardest critics of the OPAP Limassol Marathon became supporters.

It is important to mention that we have excellent relationships with the Police, the Limassol Municipality, the Limassol Tourism Board, and the Limassol Chamber of Commerce. Without their help we could not have reached the levels of success we are enjoying today.

Read More

Aristidis Vourakis reveals AstroBank is going against the trend and opening a new branch
Dr Marianna Prokopi-Demetriades among "Top 100 Global Women Entrepreneurs to Be Inspired 2024"
Foreign Minister in Brussels for General Affairs Council
Health Ministers of Cyprus and Greece discuss cooperation on transplants
No official announcements after Christodoulides-Chinese Ambassador Vasiliko terminal meeting
Limassol Chamber Director Christos Anastasiades retires
Digital Policy Minister to attend Brussels Telecommunications meeting
The Cypriots on the Sunday Times Rich List 2024
Energame: Creating a Vibrant ICT Community
Andreas A. Antoniades appointed Secretary-Director of Nicosia Chamber of Commerce and Industry