AUA’s First Half Marathon

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© Yerevan Half Marathon

 “Pain is temporary. Glory is forever”. If you have never heard this saying then you’ve surely missed out on a lot. But don’t worry and keep on reading as it will be like you were there.

 Within the “Erebuni-Yerevan 2797” anniversary events Yerevan had its first half-marathon. The Yerevan Half Marathon that was being organized for months proved to be a huge success. This event was a great opportunity to unite people from all over the world together in the same place at the same hour. It was a mixture of different languages, cultures and traditions as well. The main message of organizing such tremendous competition was to boost healthy lifestyle and to make Armenia a more sport-centered country. Besides, it promoted our country and made it more appealing for foreigners.

There had been a series of runs – 2km run for the kids, wheelchair run, 10km and 21.1km. The first Half Marathon in Yerevan had 1500 participants from all over the world – America, Russia, Georgia, Iran, Japan, China, and many more.

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There were a group of runners of Armenian origin that had participated in marathons organized in Russia and Georgia by the same organizers – the Half Marathon, and had brought up the question of why it never happened in Armenia. The Project Director, Anahit Adamyan, had informed us that they thought it would be great idea to have a running competition right in Yerevan, the heart of Armenia. She said, they wanted to bring runners into Armenia and show them the country in a different and exciting way. When asked about why they had discounted students, she replied: “We wanted to give students the opportunity to participate since we know that many of them do not work. We want to give them this chance to join the race. Also, we want them to appreciate the fact of being a part of a great team-working society and realize that there is a great future for Armenia.” Anahit Adamyan also enlightened us with the fact that we might be expecting a full marathon next year.

AUA had lots of students participating as well. Students shared that they just wanted to experience something this huge with a lot of different people. They said “It was such a thrilling adrenaline-filled run”. The students arrived to the starting area all excited and happy, reached the finish line with even more excitement and happiness, gasping for water and air, tired, but they made it. Our students are proud of their accomplishment and so are we.

 

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Karen Galstyan,  2.1km.

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Elen Khanoyan, 2.1km

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Sinera Isoyan , Tigran Sargsyan, Arina Zohrabian , Marta Kotolyan, Mane Abrahamyan and Araqs Tovmasyan were very thrilled that they managed to run 10km in approximately an hour, while we have two champions Erik Khachaturyan and Mikayel Tovmasyan who ran the 21km and completed it in about  1h and 50minutes.

AUA students: “We want to advise our society to become more active, stay healthy and be a part of this kind of social events as they are rare in Armenia”

 

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No, you’re not mistaken! Our dear Arina Zohrabian from AUA admissions ran 10.7km. As she said, this was the first marathon that she took part in. “The one thing that motivated me to run the 10.7 km was people’s encouragement and applause. And while you were running you could see exhausted drivers, as we closed down the streets. I want take a moment to thank them as they were waiting with patience and did not kill us’’

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The biggest pleasure was seeing one of the lecturers of AUA run the half marathon. Mikayel Tovmasyan says he has been participating in marathons for the past 11 years. He always finds pleasure in running and it delighted him extremely to be running in his home country in an event as big as this “There were moments that I just wanted to stop and walk instead. However, I motivated myself by constantly reminding myself of my target goal (below 1hr and 50min) and I prayed for a refreshed energy.” He noted, that the first Yerevan Half-Marathon was organized at high international standards. “Excellent planning and execution. Wonderful cheering crowd, bands and DJs. I hope this will become a tradition.” Go Professor Tovmasyan!

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Besides AUA students and staff, we met some other participants who actually came to Armenia from the USA to promote a healthy lifestyle. “This half-marathon is the main reason to be here and we’re so excited to be part of it. We love it that we are doing it in Armenia. Our motivation is fitness. We want people to be aware of how much being active helps to stay healthy. We would like to see less people smoking and more people running. It’s sad to see parents who have brought their children to run and just stay back watching them run. We want them to know that they’re still young and they can do it, even if you’re old you can do it. Just get up and run!”

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There were not just children running. Check out this participant from Russia who had two children. They ran 2.1km while their mommy ran the 21.1km. She was determined to make it to the end “I will be half walking and half running but I will make it!” She had a very wonderful image to those who were sleeping during the event: “Sweet Dreams but this is much sweeter than all of your dreams”.

 

The oldest participant we had encountered was a 71 year old lady who said she loved to walk and always exercised. She said no to smoking and no to drinking, but YES to healthy living. She loved being there with her friends and their children. She loved the aspect that Armenia is hosting a great event.

“It was a wonderful experience to those who had participated. They were so excited and energetic that they had encouraged me to run and live healthy.”

On our way there, we met a Swedish participant, who we found out lived in Russia. “I came here to show my respect to Armenians as this year was the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. And as I heard that Armenia is a wonderful country I decided not to lose my chance and to explore it”

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Hellos from Japan

 

This lovely couple from San Francisco and has practiced for about four months for this Half-Marathon. “We are too excited that there is such a global event in Armenia which connects and gathers people all over the world.”

 

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“I’m from Georgia. This marathon was the 10th marathon that he participated. Wake up and just run everybody, because running is life”

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“I came to Armenia on October 3 and I saw that some people are preparing something in the outside so I asked about it. And when I learned about this event I immediately decided to register even if I had to run without my number because the registration was already over. My message to those who are now asleep instead of being here is simple: people who are beautiful are staying outside while people who are ugly stay inside. This is actually a Chinese saying.”

 

A runner from Russia : “I want to tell people who are not running to at least come and to visit Armenia’s historic places such as Khor Virap or Sevan.”

 

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No smoking, no drinking only healthy lifestyle.

 

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And finally, meet the winner!

The winner of 21.1 km run is Rinas Akhmadeev with the time 1h 9m 57s. Rinas is from Kazan (Tatarstan, Russia). He learned about this half-marathon through internet and contacted with Anahit Adamyan who helped him make this victory available. Although he studied law, he became a professional runner. Followed his dreams and never put his hands down.

 

Merry Artinian & Ani Tumanyan

 

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