On a sunny Sunday morning, the streets of Yerevan are still quiet. The sound of honking cars is kept far away by police officers manning intersections. Signs sporting arrows or distance markers can be spotted throughout the city centre. Just below the city’s landmark Republic Square, runners from around the world stretch legs, adjust spandex tunics, and attach numbers. An atmosphere of anticipation fills the scene. The 3rd annual Yerevan Half Marathon is about to begin.
At 10:00 sharp, a gunshot can be heard. hundreds of runners head out, cheered-on by an energetic crowd. For the beginners, and amateur runners, the 5 km track will suffice. Those looking for more of a challenge choose between the 10 km course or the standard 21 km distance
GetTreated co-founder and CEO, Raffi Elliott, running his first-ever marathon, trots down the chilly streets of central Yerevan. Despite his stubby Gaelic legs, he’s determined to run the full ten-kilometer circuit. One of his patients, Marie-Josée Lamothe from Montréal, Canada, joins him. She participates in triathlons in her spare time.
As they make they way passed the cafés on the cobble-stoned alleys near the Cascade, they are blown past by some of the fastest marathoners ever encountered. Their toned leg muscles and face-hugging sunglasses suggest that they aren’t your average Sunday runners. The names of running clubs in Russia, the States, France, Mexico and Canada adorn their leotards.
Yerevan joins a growing number of cities around the World in hosting a half-marathon. The race is popular because its 21 km distance keeps it challenging. Yet it is still open to amateur racers without the training required for the full Marathon.
Participants run to help a good cause. This year, members The Armenia Tree Project, and Teach for Armenia foundation join the race. The Homeland Development Foundation, as well as One Armenia, set up booths. They’re selling nifty T-shirts and commemorative racks for medals.
Raffi finally crosses the finish line at 11:38 AM, having completed the 10 km race in just over an hour and a half. He is greeted by offerings of potassium-rich bananas and a participation medal.
A good day is had by all!