Worldsmarathons.com is proud to offer an opportunity to run the premier of Radisson Blu Larnaka Marathon, hosted on the vibrant southern coast of Cyprus. Larnaka is the islands 3rd largest city and is famous for its palm-tree seafront, and sights such as the Church of Saint Lazarus, the Hala Sultan Tekke, the Kamares Aqueduct and its medieval fort.
We meet up with the organizing team to see how the preparations were going and to get some more insights about the new Cypriot race to be held on November 19th.
How did you come up with the idea to organize a marathon in Larnaka?
The idea originated from the fact that Larnaka is a stunning city that gives us the chance to create running routes by the sea while combining the old and modern, as well as natural beauties and the city itself. It is also the city where the country’s International Airport is located, with hundreds of daily flights from Europe, Asia and Africa.
Combined with the geographical location of Cyprus in general and the good weather conditions prevailing in our country until December, the 1st Radisson Blu Larnaka International Marathon is the best choice for athletes and sports enthusiasts who want to gain a unique experience and spend a few days in our country.
What can runners expect regarding the route and speed?
Since this is the first race we are organizing, it is difficult to estimate the average speed. But considering that the best athletes in Cyprus, as well as athletes from at least ten different countries will be participating at the 1st Radisson Blu Larnaka International Marathon, we expect a good average speed. Besides, this is a route without any particular difficulties, which will contribute to achieving a good overall average speed.
Why is this race worth a visit?
The uniqueness of the route, the ideal temperatures with a low of 19°C and a high of 24°C, and of course the central location, with the airport just ten minutes from the starting point of the race. All the above will be offered at a high-standard race which will be streamed live on a local/national TV and on the race’s official social media & website, while personal timing and t-shirts will be provided to each participant.
It will also be possible for every athlete and friend of the sport to have a customized medal made according to his / her own preference, displaying personal details and performance time.
It is an extremely beautiful route, which combines the history of the city with its natural beauties, with bodies of water dominating the scenery, since the sea and the salt lake will be the protagonists of the race.
On the day of the race there will some surprises that we promise will add to this unique experience.
Which sights will the runners pass along the race route?
The outstanding beaches of Phinikoudes and Mackenzy, the medieval castle, the Pierides and Kyriazi museums, the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque, as well as the church of St. Lazaros are among the sights that can be found along the route.
Furthermore, one of the most popular and unique sights in Larnaka, The Salt Lake is famous for hosting a large number of flamingos. About 10,000 flamingos visit the lake every year. From July to August, the lake dries up, leaving a thick crust of salt measuring up to 10cm deep. In the Middle Ages, the lake was used to mine salt for commercial purposes, but now it is just a tourist attraction. Situated nearby is the holy site of Hala Sultan Tekke.
This is a beautiful mosque overlooking the Salt Lake and is one of the holiest Islamic places in the world (recently ranked number 3) and a Muslim pilgrimage site. According to tradition, it is built on the tomb of Umm Haram, who was related to the Prophet Mohammed and was the wife of Ouvadas Ibn, who led the invasion against Cyprus in 649 and 650 AD. The simple grave has now been transformed into a precious mosque.
The Church of Saint Lazaros is located in its own square in the center of the town and was built around the 9th century by Byzantine Emperor Leo VI and rebuilt in the 17th Century. One of the most wellknown sights in Larnaka, it is also a remarkable monument of Byzantine architecture in Cyprus. Legend has it that Saint Lazaros came to Cyprus after being resurrected by Jesus. He was ordained as Bishop of Kition by the Apostles Barnabas and Paul and lived in the town for 30 years. His tomb can be seen under the sanctuary.
Phinikoudes beach is one of the most famous beaches in south Cyprus, the name ‘Phinikoudes’ comes from the Greek “phinikas” meaning palm tree. It is named after the small palm trees which were planted here in 1922. It is very popular for its easy access as the beach is located in the center of the city. The area in and around the beach is popular for its cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels and mini markets. During the tourist season many facilities the organized beach provides visitors with amenities such as sun beds, umbrellas and water sport, while activities are carefully supervised by lifeguards.
What do you recommend international participants to do if they stay a few extra nights?
Visiting the beaches of Phinikoudes and Mackenzy is definitely a must, as there are many places to see nearby that can also be reached on foot, such as the Larnaka Marina and the Medieval Castle. These beaches also have a vibrant nightlife, with many restaurants and clubs that cater to everyone’s needs.