On October 4, 2015, Yerevan hosted its first International Half Marathon, jointly organized by Repat Armenia. It was quite the day really, with over 4000 participants from around the world, many from Russia, the United States, France, Canada, Switzerland, etc., running with smiles on their faces at different distances throughout. It was one of those days we are not soon to forget as we go through social media and find half of our friends among the participants’ list. The photos were splendid, mid-run and celebrating afterwards, with many a novice trying his/her hand at racing towards the finish line.
Among the runners were many repatriates as well, not only those who had been visiting the beautiful Armenia. A few hundred living in Yerevan decided to take part in the run itself, others cheering from the sidelines. Below we have the impressions of two such repatriates.
“I don’t really enjoy running but I have to say that the Yerevan Half Marathon made it a bit more bearable. The running part was still torture but the positive energy and amount of young forward thinking minds I was surrounded by made it an amazing experience.
It was a good feeling to start your day with such excitement and to be a part of something new in a country that’s been independent for only 24 years now. I felt like I was a part of something important, something that shows where this country is headed.
What stood out to me the most was that even if people weren’t running, they were definitely there to cheer on the other runners and be a part of this great day. This gave a sense of community and this is what it’s all about to me. I can confidently say that I will be participating again next year.”
Runs end. But being a runner never stops.” This is what was posted on the Facebook page of the winner of 2015 Yerevan Half Marathon who ran 21.1 km in 1hour 09minutes! I have never considered myself a professional runner. Let alone participating in a half marathon. I have just always been working out to be healthy, and have been keeping my body fit to be able to run in case of “emergency”. In other words, running, as well as swimming are those 2 sports that I consider a must for everyone to at least know the basics! One never knows what comes next in life. There might come a day when you need to run away or even swim away from something or someone!
October 4th, a rainy early Sunday morning which gradually turned into a sunny nice day for runners who have come together that day to participate in Yerevan Half Marathon. I as well had decided to challenge myself and run the 10km distance. I was not yet brave enough to take the risk of running 21.1km. 9 in the morning and Yerevan’s Shahumyan Republic was full with people in their t-shirts, running shorts and comfortable running shoes. Everyone looked excited, beautiful, shinny and at the same time concentrated on doing their best! For me personally the competition was between me and myself! I had to break the self-record.
During the week before the half marathon I had done a “test-run” by running the same 10km rout. During those “test-runs” my best result was 1hour 15minutes of speed and I had to break that record. It was time. 21.1km and 10km runners lined up behind the “Start” sign and bang. A gunshot was heard as a sign of start! There I was running. My body was doing its best to coordinate with my brain. But my thoughts were everywhere. “Should I slow down? Oh, these people are running pass by me, maybe I should run faster? Am I doing everything right? Maybe I will get tired soon and give up if I carry on like this. Will I give up half way through?”. That was “the reality” inside my head during the entire run. Usually when running my brain shots down from the present time and happenings around me. I have my music on and I lose sense of time. But this time it was not 100% possible for me to turn into a zombie and just run!
I was observing other runners. They were all interesting in their unique way. The way some professionals were moving was incredible. I would just look at their faces and into their eyes and find peace. Some of them even had a very smooth smile on their faces the entire time. I even noticed one of the runners to be so much in peace as if he was meditating. And later that day it turned out, that that very runner was actually the winner. Once I was done observing people, Yerevan and its breathtaking beauties, Hrazdan Gorge, Mount Ararat with all its glory and shine, my brain would come back to me and say “hey, are we ok? can we still do this? how long is left? maybe we should stop?”. And the moment these thoughts would come hunting me was the exact time that a runner needs cheering up! And guess what! The calculations were done so professionally by the organisers that there were cheering-up-points right on the spots where we all expected and needed it to be!
For instance once in Hrazdan gorge, when I passed the 8km my brain and my body stopped cooperating. My body was feeling no pain or discomfort but there was something else telling it to stop and just sit down right there and then! And my brain was tired to cheer me up, so it was about to give up and agree with the situation. And at that very moment I heard drums playing! There were 2 lines of girls wearing British Military-like costumes, playing drums to cheer us up! And it actually helped! I started smiling, clapping with the drums’ rhythm and got my energy back to carry on running the last 2km.
I could finally see the “Finish” sign. So I gathered all the energy left in my body and ran as fast as possible. Jumped on the finish line and done! I did it! I ran 10km in 1 hour 08minutes. Every little detail that day seemed fantastic and valuable. Friends shouting your name to cheer you up, couples holding hands while running to help one another not to give up, elderly people in the streets would stop their daily morning work outs and start clapping for us to carry on running! All these have encouraged me to work out regularly and prepare myself for the so-desired Yerevan Marathon. Thanks to Yerevan half Marathon, on October 4th Yerevan was even more beautiful and the streets were full with people who value life, look for motivation, are courageous, have goals and vision in life. Those are kinds of people we all need in this world to keep going as all the runners kept going that day!
Source - http://repatarmenia.org/eng/yerevan-half-marathon-2/