Κυριακή 24 Νοεμβρίου 2019

Yiannis Kouros, The Greek Marathoner Who has Run the Distance from the Earth to the Moon (video)

Greek ultramarathon runner Yiannis Kouros has been called many things by his peers, running experts and the public: “The Running God,” “The Golden Greek,” “Modern Pheidippides,” “The Master of Pain,” “Unstoppable” and many others. And all these epithets are more than well-deserved.
Ultrarunning experts have also calculated the miles the 63-year-old Greek runner has run since high school and came to the conclusion that Kouros has covered the distance from the earth to the moon.
According to the website “Ultrarunning History,” the seasoned Greek athlete is the greatest ultrarunner of all time.
Kouros has broken more than 160 world records up to now — and perhaps most astoundingly, all of these remain unbroken. One of his peers, Canadian Trishal Cherns, has said, “There’s the elite, the world class, then there’s Yiannis.”
Kouros was born in Tripolis, Arkadia, Greece on February 13, 1956. Born into a poor, hard-disciplined family, he experienced a very tough childhood. He was only five when he was forced to perform manual labor to help the family economically.
He began running in a systematic manner at the age of 16 and soon devoted himself to long distance running, after his coach told him he was “too slow.” The hardships he had suffered as a child made Kouros a naturally tough, disciplined person who excelled in the punishing pursuit known as ultrarunning.
However, young Kouros had other interests and talents, too. He wrote 1,000 poems and became involved with music as well. He studied Byzantine and European music as well as singing.
He has released four records (two instrumental and two with vocals), writing all the lyrics and music himself. His poetry and music were inspired by Greek heroes such as King Leonidas and Greek Revolution fighter Theodoros Kolokotronis.
But Kouros’ true calling is undeniably ultramarathon running. He ran his first marathon at the age of 21 in 1977, clocking the very respectable time of 2:43:15. His times continued to improve, down to 2:25 in 1981.
He won the Athens Marathon in 1981. By 1983, the Greek runner had finished 25 marathons. He discovered soon, however, that he excelled far more at ultra distances, even longer than the traditional marathon.
It was that year that the Spartathlon started. The first such race – the distance from Marathon to Sparta, or 156 miles (251 km) – was run on September 30, 1983 with 45 starters. This was Kouros’ very first ultra-distance race. Event officials had estimated that the winner would arrive at Sparta in approximately 27 hours.
Kouros won with an official time of 21:53:42.
The Greek runner said that the English event sponsors refused to give him the cup, since they thought it was humanly impossible that a distance of 250 km could be covered in 21:50. However, as ultrarunning pioneer Dan Brannen declared, “He is the only runner for whom an accusation of cheating eventually became an honor.”
Kouros definitively proved that he had not cheated by returning to the race the next year, when he ran even faster, finishing in 20:25 — which has stood as a course record through to the present day.
In 1983 he also ran a three-day Ultramarathon in Austria and in 1984 he ran a six-day race in New York, covering a punishing 635 miles (1,030 km).
The Greek runner wrote about his experience in the New York race in his book The Six-Day Run of the Century. I had a fear of remaining a vegetable for the rest of my days, as after 24 hours, I felt my body no longer operating and I was carrying it without its consent.
“I thought I would not be able to walk again, though I made a conscious decision to write history. To expiate myself, I saw it as a sacrifice in an ancient drama. I knew I was leaving something behind me,” he explained.
He then wrote about finishing the effort: “I was running very fast, and because my toes were bleeding very much, many believed I would have to drop out. There I experienced how important the mental attitude is.
“I come to a point where my body is almost dead. My mind has to take leadership… I reached the stage to look at my body from above, from outwards, I mean like an out-of-body experience. I mean that your body has surrendered and you see yourself from above and behind and you somehow guide your body ahead. I am talking about incredible moments,” the ultra marathoner says.
In November 1984, he went all the way to Australia to run a six-day race in the city of Colac and finished first there. He repeated his victory by winning the Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon in 1987, 1989 and 1990. 
By 1990 Kouros had run in almost every ultramarathon held around the world. It was in that year that, because of the Greek state’s unwillingness to support his athletic endeavors, he was forced to emigrate to Australia, where he lived for ten years.
The ultrarunner returned to Greece to live in 2000 and continued running with great success, in Greece and abroad. It is indeed remarkable that in 2005, at the age of 49 in Australia’s “Cliff Young” six-day race he broke his own world record made fully 21 years earlier.
“In ultrarunning there are no real limits. One can go on and on,” Kouros has explained to interviewers. “I try to achieve something special in each race… What Pheidippides did, going to Sparta just for a message and bring back a message to the Athenians, I’d like to think of myself as a messenger.
The iconic Greek runner adds “I want to inspire, to give the message that something is doable. Everything is possible as far as I am concerned as long as you go for it.”

Τρίτη 12 Νοεμβρίου 2019


Warm and generous, Thessaloniki is at the same time historic and avant-garde: the second largest city in Greece, ideal for a city break, a mosaic of cultures and fascinating holiday moments

Located in Macedonia, in Northern Greece, there is a city unlike anywhere else in Greece. Thessaloniki is a sprawling urban centre, a cultural melting pot, where dreams, ideas, visions and trends percolate in an alternative, avant garde scene. Its history is written upon everything you see the Thermaic Gulf, the White Tower, Nikis Avenue, Aristotelous Square, Mitropoleos Avenue, Tsimiski Avenue, Ladadika, Modiano Market, Bit Bazaar and the Old City.
For thousands of years, this northern port-town has been a meeting point for people of different cultures. Impressive attractions, cafes, bars, traditional tavernas, gourmet restaurants, a lively nightlife – you’ll find everything here in Thessaloniki, the beautiful ‘bride of the Thermaic Gulf’.
To enjoy everything Thessaloniki has to offer, fly with Aegean airlines
Thessaloniki: a multicultural centreTrace the civilisations and peoples that have left their mark on this great city of Thessaloniki. The Palace, the Triumphal Arch and the impressive Rotunda offer an insight into the reign of emperor Galerius Maximilianos (early 4th century) and formed the city’s administrative and religious centre in Roman times. Or the Jewish Museum, in an elegant listed building from 1904 on Agiou Mina Street, recreating the life of the Jewish community in pre-war Salonica and its subsequent extermination by the Nazis. Finally, don’t forget to visit the former home of Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.
Or wander the narrow lanes of Ano Poli, one of the oldest districts of Thessaloniki, above the modern town. There you’ll admire the numerous attractions, most of which are castles and religious monuments; the Trigoniou Tower, with its amazing view; the Eptapyrgio fortifications; Ottoman monuments; the Vlatades monastery and the Byzantine churches of Osios David and Agios Nikolaos Orfanos. This is the most unspoilt district of the old city. And let’s not forget, of course, the iconic 16th century White Tower, by Aristotelous Square in the city centre.

Images of Thessaloniki

Travel to a fun and vibrant cityThe White Tower, Ano Poli, Aristotelous Avenue, shopping on Tsimiski Street, bar hopping on Valaoritou Avenue, the International Film Festival held in the warehouses of the port, live music at Ladadika’s eateries, walks through the vaulted arches and the open air markets, visits to museums and Byzantine monuments… the ideal city-break destination. 
In the city centre, the atmosphere is filled with a youthful energy, all day and all night. With every step you’ll discover hidden treasures;  historic cafes, cosy bars, as well as  clubs with impressive designs in renovated industrial spaces and music venues in old warehouses, hosting live rock concerts. Nightlife is one of the city’s strengths. Follow the locals to their favourite haunts, and let them guide you through Thessaloniki’s secrets, sure to satisfy all styles and tastes. In this city in Northern Greece, fun is a local tradition, just like the warm soup you’ll be served when the sun comes up.
Gastronomy of ThessalonikiLeaving Thessaloniki, you’ll take with you thousands of memories, and a few (worthwhile) kilos. High-end restaurants and historic eateries, trendy dining options, as well as out-of-the-way ouzeris, tavernas and all-day restaurants will offer you a lifetime’s worth of foodie fun. Istanbul and Pontos, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, Macedonia and Thrace… all these cultures will make their way onto your plate.
Thessaloniki’s gastronomy reflects the melting pot of cultures that this city has been for centuries. Its cuisine is known for its meze (small plates intended for sharing) that the 1920s refugees brought with them. They also brought the tradition of patsa (tripe soup) and Thessaloniki’s world-famous bougatsa (a sweet-cream breakfast pastry).
An experienced business tourism destinationThessaloniki, the business hub of the Balkans, also offers excellent infrastructure. The city hosts several major exhibitions and conferences every year, including the International Film Festival and the Thessaloniki International Exhibition. 
Your off-duty needs will also be well-covered with good food and entertainment options, rich history and culture, excellent museums, popular pedestrian walkways and brand-name shopping. Spectacular, internationally-renowned archaeological sites of Greece are easily accessible from Thessaloniki, at Philippi, Pella, Ancient Dion and Vergina.

source:Discover Greece

Δευτέρα 11 Νοεμβρίου 2019

Greece Offers 50 Language and Culture Scholarships to Non-Greeks

Greece’s State Scholarships Foundation (ΙΚΥ) announced last week that it will offer up to fifty scholarships to foreign nationals (non-Greek Nationals or non-Greek Nationals of Greek descent) from countries worldwide, to enable students to attend courses and seminars in Modern Greek Language and Culture.
The program, which offers learning opportunities at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels following a placement test, is subject to having the sufficient number of students in order to begin.
The scholarship recipients will be introduced to Greek History, Culture and Arts through seminars and educational visits to the sites of the city of study as well as excursions to other historic sites in Greece.
Cultural events and visits to archaeological sites are also included in the course, in which active participation is required.
This scholarship is only offered for a specific course in the Modern Greek Language and Culture organized at one Greek state university, which will be decided by the IKY after a selection process.

The courses will begin in December, 2019 and run until June of 2020.
Please apply through the following email address: foreigners@iky.gr. The closing date for electronic applications via e-mail is November 14, 2019.
The selected candidates are also required to submit all documentation in hard copy to the IKY within the first ten days of December, 2019.
More information about this Greek study opportunity may be obtained by clicking here.

source ;  https://greece.greekreporter.com/