ATHENS--There isn't a championship meet or race happening in the Greek capital this weekend, but many of you are wondering why paulmerca.blogspot.com is halfway around the world this weekend?
Besides making a personal visit to some friends who I haven't seen in over four years, I'm attending the We Run Athens 10k race through the city on Sunday.
This event is part of race sponsor Nike's initiative of staging a series of races around the world this fall to highlight some of the Beaverton company's new and improved offerings, including Nike+.
The Nike+ ecosystem allows runners to share their experiences, track their running progress and create and meet challenges for themselves and their running networks. Nike+ gives access to the world's largest running club through nikeplus.com, the redesigned Nike+ Running App for iPhone and Android, nikeplus.com, and the range of Nike+ running products including the Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom, the Nike+ FuelBand and Nike+ Sportband.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with Nike Hellas' Angeliki Choundi Friday before I was asked to take a team photo of the Nike Hellas staff (above/photo by Paul Merca) as they gathered outside their office.
In our conversation, she said that this was one of the largest events that the Greek subsidiary of Nike has put together for the country's running community.
Much as the company has done in various cities in the US, including Seattle, Nike Hellas started a running club in Athens, where runners meet at one of their stores for weekly group runs. They've enlisted various local coaches to help train runners for the event, and have reached out to members of the running community.
Wednesday, Nike Hellas held a training session with several Greek media members in advance of Sunday's run, which passes several local landmarks, including the Acropolis.
She anticipates about 3000 runners through the streets of Athens, which is set to get underway at 10 am, local time.
I anticipated actually running in this, but have battled Achilles tendinitis over the last two weeks, so my participation is gonna be dicey!
NOTE: Special thanks to the folks at Nike for their cooperation and help in covering We Run Athens.