Athens, May 5 2015
The 1st “Santorini Experience” shared magical moments
Although in its first year, the organization of “Santorini Experience” attracted the attention and interest of the sporting world, as professional and amateur athletes swam and ran together, without competition, the weekend of May Day, in the world-famous tourist destination in the Cyclades! Because quite simply, sport above all is fun.
The launch took place on Friday 01 May 2015, in Perissa, where about 300 children from municipal schools and high schools on the island ran along the beach, a distance of one kilometer, offering moments of joy to parents and spectators in the first day of the event.
On the same day the athletes were led by Ford vehicles in Alafouzos Sport shop in Fira and signed autographs to children and adults.
The second day of “Santorini Experience” hid a truly unique experience! For the first time amateur swimmers, even the youngest participant, the 11 year old swimmer, had the opportunity to swim the swimming route of 1.5 mile (2.4 km), next to the top names in the sport of open water swimming. The event was honored by the participation of the Gold Medalist and twice World Champion, Spyros Gianniotis, the World Champions, Antonis Fokaidis and Kelly Araouzou, and the Pan-European Champion George Arniakos.
The start was given by the Mayor of Thira, Anastasios – Nikolaos Zorzos, from within a boat in the water at the harbor of the volcano, while the people of the island were watching and supporting their effort from above but also from close by, in boats who were following the participants’ attempt until the finish at the pier of the old port of Fira. The athletes were transferred to the Volcano with the traditional yacht “Aphrodite” of Caldera’s Boats. The route was designed with the personal supervision of the federal coach of swimming Nikos Gemelos, who with the help of the Boatmen Union of Santorini and the President of the Union Mr. Makis Kanakaris, created an innovative and safe environment, based on international standards for the first time in a swimming route in Greece!
Later that day, “Santorini Experience” hosted the distinguished guests at the Gala organized in SantoWines in the area of Pyrgos, with the support of the Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Board of SantoWines Mr. Markos Kafouros, where the President of the Swimming Federation of Greece and member of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr. Dimitris Diathesopoulos, the Federal Coach of Swimming and our Greek champions were honored in a special ceremony.
The event ended on Sunday 3rd of May 2015, where hundreds of runners were gathered in the desalination plant in Oia, and ran with direction towards Fira in a path overlooking the unique pictures of the volcano, the Caldera and the sites Imerovigli, Firostefani and Oia. Special note must be made that all participants, their companions and spectators were transported to the island with the safety and comfort of Blue Star Ferries and enjoyed the excellent hospitality of the Hoteliers Association of Santorini.
Among the participants of the running routes ran very important athletes, such as Paralympic athlete and triathlon champion Giannis Chatzibeis (who took part also in swimming the day before), the Kick Boxing Champion Alexandros Nikolaidis, the veteran footballer Kostas Antoniou and many other personalities.
At the end of the event, the Mayor of Thira Anastasios – Nikolaos Zorzos said:
“The sports weekend of Santorini Experience was completed in a dynamic way and was extremely successful, with large numbers of participants and great impact in the people who attended. Athletes, runners and swimmers had the opportunity to discover and experience Santorini to … land and sea. We want and we seek such events that can promote alternative forms of tourism and prove that Santorini is a destination that is available to host the world throughout the year with different but equally unique occasions each time. Our goal for anyone coming to Santorini is not to see the island through the eyes of the visitor but to get to know it and experience it as if living in it. For these life experiences, for the substantial contact with the island, for the images that will be engraved in memory, for all that the participants and the spectators lived and felt, Santorini is ready to welcome and accommodate other similar events all year round, as it is beautiful and worthy to explore not only in the summer. We invite you to discover it. Santorini Experience was just the beginning. We will see you all again at the next Santorini Experience!”.
The Deputy Mayor of Thira, Roula Bellonia – Mendrinou said: “After the successful completion of Santorini Experience our joy is great, because this beautiful and integrated sports event has given us the opportunity to highlight a different image for the island, an image that has managed to combine exercise and gymnastics with nature and the beauty of the landscape. I want to thank all media that covered this unique event in our island, all the volunteers, the sponsors and generally to all those who contributed to the success of this event. We experienced that Santorini can lengthen its touristic season through sports tourism, and the revenue from the participations will be allocate for constructing a track. I think after that, we can talk about a constructive weekend from which everyone came out as a winner, we experienced Santorini from the inside, and already looking forward to other similar events and naturally for the next Santorini Experience”.
Finally, from the Athletic Organization of Thira, the President of DAPPOS Mr. Eleftherios Tzouros said: “Santorini Experience has just started its journey, because this is the feeling that left to us all, Thira Municipality, DAPPOS & Active Media, who all worked together with love and passion to make it happen, but also to all the lucky participants. Our original idea, to create an event like no other has ever happened on the island, leading the participants to their limits, trying to tame the Caldera of Santorini, swimming in it one day and the other by running on it, I think it was very successful. We treated the unique landscape of the Caldera with absolute respect, and this has rewarded us with a smile on the athletes’ faces. Fair play, this was the main message of Santorini Experience and succeeded perfectly. Finally, a big thank you to everyone who contributed (sponsors – volunteers) to start our journey”.
The event was held by the Municipality of Thira, the Municipal Sports Cultural and Environmental Organization of Santorini (DAPPOS) and the Group of Active Media, under the Auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization GNTO) and The Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA).
Very important and essential was the support of Lifeguard Hellas Training Center, of the Voluntary Rescuers House of Thira, and of all regional and local authorities of the island that “embraced” “Santorini Experience” from the first to the last minute, offering their precious help in every way.
The organizers, recognizing the massive participation and interest of the people, renew their appointment for the 2nd “Santorini Experience” which will be announced very soon and will have even more surprises!
Sponsors: Santorini Hoteliers Association, Santorini Boatmen Union, Blue Star Ferries, Reef, The North Face, Alafouzos Sport
Supporters: Ford Motor Hellas, Meltemi Hotels & Resorts, Caldera’s Boats, Athina Luxury Suites, Caronline, Promopark, Lifeguard Hellas Training Center, Memories Beach Hotel, Chiquita, natural mineral water “Vikos”, “Atlantida” Association of small local hotel owners, Hotel IRA, Loizos Stylish Residences, Nautilus Dome, Solid, GoPro, Digitribe Mediahouse, Drakos Digital, Aeromotion Photography, Thanasis Rivios, SantoWines, Wet Stories Beach Bar & Restaurant
Official Broadcaster: Novasports
Communication Sponsors: National Geographic Channel, Volcano TV, Parapolitika FM, Nitro Radio, Sport24 Radio, Santorini FM, Top Melody FM, People, Instyle, Sport24.gr, Runningmagazine.gr, Exodos24.com, SantoriniGreece.tv, Neasantorinis.gr, Santonews.com
Strategic Media Partner: Greek Travel Pages