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Armenian Americans Participate in First Ever Yerevan Half Marathon

By Danielle Saroyan Armenian Agenda Associate Editor On Sunday, October 4th, Yerevan hosted its first half marathon with approx. 1,500 runners participating from 27 countries, including a large representation from the United States. The race offered four distances – 13 miles (half marathon), 6 miles, 1.3 miles, or a 0.6 km kids run. All those who crossed the finish line received a finisher’s medal in honor of their achievement. Repat Armenia, in cooperation with the Yerevan City Hall, Orange Fitness Club, Converse Bank, various Armenian running clubs, and running enthusiasts, came together to organize the Yerevan Half Marathon. The goal is to organize a series of annual events, which will promote long distance running and other endurance sports in Armenia, encourage a healthy lifestyle, attract sports tourism, and create an additional reason for Armenian diaspora to visit their homeland. Project Director of the Yerevan Half Marathon, Anahit Adamyan, described the Yerevan Half Marathon as a success. “We completed all that was planned, with truly a global presence, international timing standards, and Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) certification, with all services provided,” Adamyan said. “And most importantly, we have 1,500 happy runners after the race!” The Yerevan Half Marathon hopes to become an international event that will attract more participants in the years to come from Armenia and around the world. Adamyan is currently considering future plans for this race, including an option to run a full marathon and expanding into other endurance sports, such as a triathlon. Many organizations formed their own running groups and ran together, such as OneArmenia and TriClub Armenia. Garni Baroni, an Armenian American, had a very positive opinion on the first-ever half marathon in Armenia. “I think it was very well organized with a wonderful turnout. One of the most surprising parts of the event was the number of foreigners that were participating. I saw teams of runners from all around the world,” Baroni said. “I think the Yerevan Half Marathon is a great opportunity to encourage sports tourism in Armenia. Hopefully it will grow into a renowned sporting event that will not only help Armenia’s economy but will encourage Armenians to become more active. I will most certainly run again next year.” Baroni ran as part of a team with OneArmenia, comprising of mostly Armenian Americans currently living in Armenia. Many Armenian locals also ran and enjoyed seeing so many new faces in Armenia. David Hayrapetyan from TriClub Armenia said, “When the main organizers from Repat Armenia asked us to help them, we were happy. It was very important to see so many non-Armenians run this race because it was great opportunity to see and experience Yerevan, starting from the city center towards the Hrazdan Gorge and back.” The Yerevan Half Marathon committee also prepared pre- and post-race programs, including a tour of Garni. This half marathon was an opportunity for Armenia to promote sports tourism at home, while at the same time introduce Armenia to those abroad. During the race, participants ran by the Republic Square, Yerevan Cascade, and the Ararat Cognac Factory, among other locations around Yerevan. Be sure to sign up next year and be part of the second annual Yerevan Half Marathon. Source - http://www.armenianagenda.com/post/130625449241/armenian-americans-participate-in-first-ever