AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS THE RELAY RUN OF DISABLED PEOPLE REACHED THE BORDER FOR ASIA

 PLAN OF THE ROUTE OF  XV RELAY RUN 2013On 22 April 1999 in Vienna started the first relay run of people with disabilities in Vienna, led by Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland to Templin in Germany.
It was intended as a one-time action, but when it was finished, the thought came to him to provide it. Where a relay race came to an end, should start the new next year. It was continued for 15 years. Each year during about of two weeks the number from forty even to hundred participants was ran on a previously planned, verified and divided in 12 to 17 stages route. In total, there were 210 stages. The total distance of all relay run is 33.2 thousand km, of which 13,350 km as run. The relay visited 41 countries and 254 European cities.
Our documentation includes honorary patronage of the Presidents of some countries. We have also the welcome letters and the congratulations of the President and the Crowned Heads of states, on the route of the relay run.
The last approved relay run (but not the last ever) started this year in Kalamata (Greece) and led about Salamis – Rhodes – Marmaris – Izmir – Bergama to Istanbul. On our route we visited many interesting places such Mycenae – Salamis – Pamukkale – Hierapolis – Aphrodisias – Sirince and Troy.
XV. Relay Run was however under the watchword “The Seven Cities of the Apocalypse of St. John”. So we visited Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. We also visited the house of the Virgin Mary near Ephesus – the place where the Holy Mary lived after the death of her son Jesus.
The participants from Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Ukraine came to Kalamata on 19 April 2013.
As planned, on the next day at 9.00 o`clock, after the welcome in town hall by the Mayor of Kalamata, follow an honorary starting XV. Relay Run.
Despite our own over the years developed protection for the runners, the Greek police escorted us to ensure our safety.
The Ministries of Culture of Greece and Turkey have free access to all attractions and places of ancient culture. They’re very interesting places like Mycenae with the grave of Agamemnon and “Lions Gate” in Isthmians Corinth Canal – probably the only bridge in the world, sunk in the water in case of need.
On the island of Salamis, we visited the famous nunnery “Faneromeni”, which had been established by St. Lawrence, as well as a place overlooking the site of the Battle of Salamis with the famous victory of the Greeks (Themistocles) over the Persians (Xerxes) in the year 480 BC
After more than a twelve-hour ferry trip, we found ourselves on the Island of the Sun, Rhodes, which Zeus had given to Helios. For two days we ran through the island and enjoyed the sights of the cities of Rhodes and Lindos.
Departure of Rhodes was also farewell from Greece, a country which we had traversed lengthwise and crosswise in the years 2003, 2004, 2012 years.
Then we arrived in Turkey by ferry from Rhodes to Marmaris. Turkey was for us 41st European country.
The streets were very wide and there were mostly four lanes. So we could run to Istanbul alone without of police escort (of course with the approval of the Turkish Ministry of Communications and the road police).
After two stages in Turkey we reached the famous white wonder of nature – Pamukkale. Inevitably we had to walk barefoot through the water flowing through the limestone, which was a unique experience for us. At the end of this hike, the city founded by the Greeks in Hierapolis appeared before our eyes. The next stage ended near Geyre in the well-preserved ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias .
Further stages led us to the village of Sirince, known for its unfulfilled prophecy of the end of the world in December 2012, the historic city of Izmir (formerly Smyrna), Pergamum (now Bergama) and Homer’s Troy.
We also visited the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse; Ephesus, Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamum (Bergama), Thyatira (Akhisar), Sardesu (Sart), Philadelphia (Alasehir) and Laodicea (Eskihisar).
We were impressed by the comparison of the importance these had cities in the past with its current state – the ruins of buildings and in two cases Philadelphia and Smyrna hidden by the towns Alasehir and Izmir.
Much stress brought us the trips through the city Izmir (3 million inhabitants) and Istanbul (15 million), because we were a convoy of six cars.
Each distraction could have ended with a few-hour search of our partners.
On 3 May we reached the Istanbul.
After stopping in the parking by the Bosporus on the opposite side we could see the other part of the city, commonly referred to Asian.
After 15 years we had reached all extreme points of Europe: Northern Europe, the North Cape, in the West Reykjavik, South town of Tarifa in Spain remote only 20 kilometres from Africa and in the east, the Bosporus, border between Europe and Asia.
So we have after 15 years we have ran through Europe around and reached a goal, a goal that was not worded right, but has been consistently implemented.
During the evening’s discussions, it was found that it would be a great pity to finish the relay runs with its sporty, friendly and instructive. It was decided to pursue it further, on the most interesting already traversed distances, but also places that we have not yet visited. Scandinavia and Iceland were unanimously elected for the next time.
It was therefore decided to start the XVI. relay run in the coming year in Nidzica, Poland towards North Cape. We want to try to run the route this time by Belarus and Russia (Lake Ladoga, the White Sea and Murmansk). That would be in our statistics of relay runs the 42nd and 43rd countries.