ROUTE OF OLYMPIC TRUCE 2016
List of runners who successfully completed the Route of Olympic Truce 2016
After 1623 years, 150 runners, men in uniform and civilians, started today (April 20) at 6:00am, the first Route of Olympic Truce.
The start was at the site of the old Museum of Ancient Elis, the city that used to host the Olympic Games in antiquity, and the race finished at 5pm in Ancient Olympia, the place where the Olympic Games were held in antiquity.
The route is 49.8km long and it passes through 13 villages of semi-mountainous Ilia. Yesterday (Tuesday), at the patio of the new Museum of Ancient Elis, a ceremony was held representing the laying down of arms and the beginning of truce, just like it was happening in antiquity. Armed athletes handed over their arms to the Mayor of Elis, thus symbolically starting the truce before the Olympic Games of Rio.
The Mayor of Elis, Christos Christodoulopoulos said that he accepts the gesture of the men in uniform to lay down their arms at the site where the idea for the Olympic Games was born and he asked the CISM president to share with the whole world his experiences from Elis with the handing of weapons by the armed athletes, as a message for the worldwide consolidation of the idea of the Truce. The event was attended by the leadership of the Olympic Family. Everybody pointed out that it is from Elis, through the Route of Olympic Truce, that a global event begins, promoting the importance and the prestige that Olympic Truce deserves.
The President of the Federation of Olympia, Ms. Sofia Hintziou Kontogianni said that the aim of this effort, through the “Route of Truce”, is not simply to revive an ancient route, but also to bridge the ancient with the modern, the old with the new so as to remind everybody of the reason for the conduct of the Olympic Games, and based on the “Route of Truce”, bring to the spotlight the Olympic Ideals and the sacred right to peace.
The President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr. Spyros Kapralos, praised the initiative of the Federation of Olympia and said that for the first time, all the organizations of the Olympic idea came together for the common purpose of promoting the idea of truce.
The President of the International Olympic Academy, Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos referred to the uniqueness of the event but also to the value of Olympic education and he pointed out that: Truce is very important. Because Truce cannot impose peace, but it can aspire it in a very simple way. And it was born in our country. Thus, we Greeks have an obligation to guard all these values and teach them to the new generation.
The director of the International Truce Center, Mr. Konstantinos Filis, said that the effort made through the “Route of Truce” launches from Ancient Elis an event that will get international dimensions. Mr Filis underlined how up-to-date the event is, pointing out that there are currently 40 armed conflicts around the world and that the number of refugees reaches 60 million. As he said, through the Route of Olympic Truce, the dream of Truce and peace will be promoted. He emphasized: “There is no route to peace. Peace is the route”.
The Vice President of the International Olympic Truce Center and former Minister Fani Palli Petralia referred to the importance of the event and she pointed out that: “This initiative to promote the Route of Truce will be welcomed not only as a symbolic reference to our national homeland, but also as the contribution of Elis and Greece in general, to the resolution of the newest and most painful problems of our times and of course as an exhortation to all people of goodwill from all lengths and widths of the earth, to take the initiative and follow this path, as well as to contribute as much as they can and by all possible means, so that the path becomes a highway leading the world in a peaceful and better future”.
The director of primary education who was actively involved in the event but also in welcoming the runners to the villages they crossed, Mr. P. Zevlas, emphasized that the Route of Truce from Elis to Olympia may existentially mean the transition from need to essence, from strife to love and finally from delusion to truth. In a time of nihilism of values, education does not relinquish the right, yet it has also the obligation, to turn students into tomorrow’s civilians who shall share the principles and values of Olympism, and it has to ensure that these values are proven in human beings’ relations so that they do not become a void reason, but a true life suggestion.
The president of CISM, Captain AbdulHakeem AlShino said that the ceremony organized in the name of Truce is an ample evidence that Greece supports the truce. This is actually proven by calling Ahmed Abu, an athlete coming from Palestine, an area at war. His faith in the idea of truce made him leave his weapons and come here to run the “Route of Truce” thus send his own message. The president of CISM reminded us that every four years, the international organization he represents, organizes sport games where athletes from 134 countries are participating and, during these games, athletes who are at war compete each other in the same track.
The event was greeted by Brigadier Panagiotis Georgopoulos as the representative of the Greek Minister of Defense.
Students of the music school of Vartholomio, under the baton of Father Georgios Anagnostopoulos, performed traditional songs at the event. Furthermore, students from the primary schools of Avgio and the 6th primary school of Amaliada performed a representation of ancient sports. Five-year-old Iordanis Christos recited the Olympic Anthem.
The cultural associations of Elis, Avgio and Kalyvia treated the attendees with local sweets and products.
An art exhibition with works by local and uniformed artists has been presented in the venue.
On their way to Olympia, athletes passed from the villages of Dafni, Keramidia, Dafniotissa, Peristeri, Cheimadio, Sopi, Karatoula, Magoula, Latzoi, Iraklia, Pournari, Pelopio, and Platanos. The route passes through beautiful landscapes, however it was quite hard since a large part of it passes through dirt roads, uphills and parts of tough terrain, thus making it special.
The race pack, headed by the well-known long-distance runner, lieutenant Giannis Kouros, arrived in Ancient Olympia at 5:00pm. At the entrance of Olympia Town Hall, the athletes were welcomed with traditional dances and songs by local associations.
All athletes were awarded with honoring medals by the president of CISM, Mr. AbdulHakeem AlShino.
In his speech welcoming the athletes in Olympia, he said amongst others: “Looking in front of me the athletes who have finished the Route of Truce, proclaiming everywhere the message of truce and peace, I would like to convey this message to the Mayor of Ancient Olympia”.
The Mayor of Sparta, Mr. Evangelos Valiotis, the Mayor of Elis, Mr. Christos Christodoulopoulos, the President of the Olympia City Council Mr. Panagos Pantelakos, the representative of the Hellenic Ministry of Defense Brigadier Panagiotis Georgopoulos, the Director of Olympic Truce, Mr. Konstantinos Filis, the Deputy Commander and the Commander of the Telecommunications Technicians Training School (SETTHL) attended the event and awarded the medals.
The specially numbered commemorative medals awarded to the athletes were designed by Stelios Bisbas and they are engraved with a special composition referring to the Route of Truce.
The event closed with dancing groups from Olena who danced local traditional dances under the artistic direction of Mr. Telis Klamarias. Finally, the Association “Pyrgiotisses” offered local treats to the guests.