ATHENS – Greek pianist Panos Karan shared his experience completing the Authentic Athens Marathon on November 14. Best known for his musical talent and his philanthropic efforts through Keys of Change, an international music charity, Karan intended to only run a half marathon that day, but was inspired to “go the extra mile,” and completed the grueling race.
Karan said: “A week ago, I completed the Authentic Athens Marathon. According to legend, a messenger named Pheidippides ran 40-kilometers, or roughly 25-miles, from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce a Greek military victory. Pheidippides then promptly dropped dead. Thousands of years later, thousands of people gather all around the world, to run the same course and pay homage to this ancient legend.”
He continued, “I have been training for some time, but due to various health problems and accidents, I wasn’t able to run for almost a year. When I came back to it two months ago, I set my goal at 13 miles (21 km) — a half marathon. That seemed reasonable and challenging enough.”
“Last Sunday, when I got to the halfway point, during the race, I thought to myself ‘well, there’s only 13 miles left,’” Karan said. “So many people watch the final meters of the marathon, the ending, the catharsis. I cried when I entered the stadium, the old, marble stadium used for the first Olympics in 1896, and the joy was just beyond words. But for me, the important moments, and the real value, was discovered somewhere in the middle, where the uphills seemed never ending, when the finish line still looked as far as the moon, when the body started hurting. That is when I decided that quitting was not an option. Somewhere there, in one of the very painful, steep uphills, I saw a lady, much older than me wearing a t-shirt with the message: ‘If you want to run fast, you can run by yourself. If you want to run long, we can run together.’
“Why do people put themselves through the pain of running 26.2 miles? I was thinking this very question during the race. Perhaps, overcoming challenges is part of our human nature, a need even to prove to ourselves that we are worthy of being alive. Perhaps, ‘going the extra mile,’ overcoming an obstacle, or 26 of them in a marathon race, gives us strength to do the same in every day life as well,” Karan concluded.
More information is available online: https://www.panoskaran.com.