Written on: November 9, 2012
We’ve just spent a week in the northern Peloponnese, prior to attending the 6th AIMS Symposium in Athens, held in conjunction with the Athens Classic Marathon.
We are enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the gorgeous Hotel Sophia on Hydra (20 minutes by ferry from the mainland) and chatting to Debbie and Rob from Fort Worth, Texas. We get around to discussing what we’re all doing here and we mention the Athens Marathon. ‘Oh, there’s a couple of girls from New York staying here who are running the marathon.” The marathon world is a small world so why would we be surprised?
Maria and Jamie come downstairs and over breakfast, we get to know them and find out what two gals from the US are doing in downtown Hydra. Maria and Jamie have travelled from New York City to participate in the Athens Classic Marathon. But why?
The catalyst for the trip came with Jamie’s 30th birthday this year. Reaching 30 is somewhat of a milestone, an achievement, a time for reflection. For Jamie, it wasn’t the best of birthdays. Seeing her niece was struggling, Maria offered to take her on a trip. Greece had always come up in conversations so Greece it was.
Jamie has been a runner for a while, having completed a number of runs, including at the half marathon and marathon distance. The idea grew when Jamie realised that, if you’re going to Greece, you HAVE to run the Athens Classic Marathon. Maria was all for this idea and offered to cheer her on. Except that Jamie had other plans!
Rather than let Maria cheer from the sidelines Jamie suggested they run together. This came as somewhat of a surprise to Maria who has never run. But as all runners know once you get started there’s no turning back. Before Maria could reconsider she was training for her first marathon in the city that is the traditional ‘home of the marathon.’
Combining the marathon with a holiday, Jamie and Maria were now spending their final days preparation on the idyllic island of Hydra. As there are no vehicles on Hydra, it’s the perfect place to run through the streets, if you don’t count the fact it’s nearly all up hill and involves hundreds of steps.
Jamie is also on a mission to run a marathon on every continent – we discussed many options with her and also the possibilities of running into each other sometime in the future.
Dave has always has a theory that you run the marathon first, THEN you have the holiday! These girls had it covered as they were holidaying before AND after their marathon. Next week they’re off to Santorini for their ‘warm down.’
We wish Maria and Jamie all the best for their run on Sunday – for Maria, the sense of achievement in completing her first marathon (we warned her she’ll be hooked). For Jamie, a turning point at a milestone in her life. For them both, the joy of sharing the experience together. Well done!
On a closing note, this week has been one of turmoil for marathon runners around the world as the New York City Marathon was cancelled at late notice last Friday. Runners were stranded in a city experiencing a logistical nightmare; where the local people were dealing with extreme conditions as they tried to recover and rebuild after the devastation of hurricane Sandy; where runners joined in solitude on Sunday morning to run the original New York Marathon course through Central Park; where runners used their time in New York to assist with clean up operations; where marathon organisers around the world looked on with thoughts of “there but for the grace of God go I.”