Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

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AIMS 30th Anniversary Gala

2012 marked the 30th anniversary of AIMS, the Association having been "established" at a meeting on 6-7 May 1982. For a review of the foundation and development of AIMS in those 30 years, see the extended article written by Rich Benyo for the journal Marathon and Beyond "The Rise of AIMS".

Coinciding with AIMS, the Athens Classic Marathon (ACM) (see article) also celebrates its 30th anniversary.

AIMS & SEGAS (the Hellenic Athletics Association organizer of ACM) together honored their common 30th anniversary through a special event, a Gala-Dinner which took place in Athens, the birthplace of Marathon, the location of the new AIMS headquarters and the site of the authentic marathon, the Athens Classic Marathon. The joint celebration of AIMS & ACM was presented by the Patron of AIMS and major sponsor of ACM, OPAP s.a., the leading gaming operator in Greece.

AIMS & SEGAS on behalf of ACM honored those who have contributed towards making our running movement into such a successful mass sporting community in the presence of Greek political and sports leaders, the Boards of AIMS & SEGAS, more than 50 race directors from all continents and a number of sporting and social figureheads from Greece and abroad.

During the Gala-Dinner held on the evening of 9 November 2012, AIMS & ACM honored Patrick Makau, the World Marathon Record Holder, Rosa Mota, the Olympic Medalist of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Nikos Pollias, the Greek Marathon Record holder, Georgia Abatzidou, the Greek female multi winner of ACM, Hiroaki Chosa, founding member and former President of AIMS, IAAF, represented by Hon. Treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and the organizers of the oldest Marathons on each continent.

10 November: Marathon world record holder Patrick Makau of Kenya and 1988 Olympic Marathon Champion Rosa Mota of Portugal were honoured at the AIMS-Athens Classic Marathon 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner on 9 November in a ceremony broadcast live on Greek national television. The joint celebration was presented by the Patron of AIMS and major sponsor of ACM, OPAP s.a., the leading gaming operator in Greece.

Rosa Mota and Patrick Makau holding their awards

Rosa Mota & Patrick Makau (Photo credit: Giancarlo Colombo)

Mota and Makau were presented with larger-than-life sized replicas of the silver cup received by Spyros Louis, the winner of the inaugural 1896 Athens Olympic Marathon. The original cup, donated by renowned French philologist Michel Breal, stands only 15cm high. In April this year it fetched a price at auction of $878,000, but was secured by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and is displayed at the Acropolis Museum, only a few hundred metres away from where Makau and Mota received their enlarged replicas.

Makau, who set his world record 2:03:38 in Berlin in 2011, said, “It’s an honour for me to come and receive this award at the birthplace of the Olympic Games and the birthplace of the marathon”. Mota won the first women's international championship marathon ever held when she took the inaugural European title in Athens in 1982. She went on to become bronze medalist in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 before triumphing in Seoul in 1988. “The Olympics began here, the marathon began here, and my career as a marathon runner began here,” she said.

Paco Borao speaking at the AIMS 30th Anniversary Gala

Paco Borao speaking at the AIMS 30th Anniversary Gala

Award recipients at the AIMS 30th Anniversary Gala

Left to Right: Horst Milde (AIMS Founder); Bruno Boukobza (Board Member, Nice-Cannes); Fernando Jamarne (Board member, Santiago); Martha Morales (AIMS Vice President); Mark Milde (Board member, Berlin); Dave Cundy (AIMS Vice President, holding award); Gary Boshoff (Comrades, in red tie); Paco Borao (AIMS President); unknown; Guy Morse (Board member, Boston, holding award); Jean Francois Delasalle; Dr Stefan Dano (Kosice, holding award); Hugh Jones (AIMS Secretary); Peter Proctor (Comrades, holding award); Keisuke Sawaki (Board member, holding award); Al Boka (AIMS Treasurer, obscured); 2 "most regular" participants in the Athens Classic Marathon (24/29, 27/29, holding awards) High-resolution-photo (right-click to save)

Other awards were made to Nikos Polias, Greek record holder on the original Marathon to Athens course, and Georgia Ampatzidou, Greek multiple winner of the Athens Classic Marathon.

There were two founding members of AIMS present at the ceremony: Horst Milde, founder of the Berlin Marathon, received an award on behalf of the founder members, and acclaimed the first Athens Classic Marathon race director, George Kourmouzis who had also been one of AIMS' founder members.

Jean Francois Delasalle received an award as the longest-serving course measurement administrator (since 1993), and the oldest Marathons on each continent were presented with gilded laurel wreaths for their leading role in popularising the Marathon as a global event. These were (alphabetical by Continent): Africa: Comrades Marathon (1921); Americas: Boston Marathon (1897); Asia: Fukuoka Marathon (1947); Europe: Kosice Marathon (1924); and Oceania: Rotorua Marathon (1965).

AIMS & friends at the Athens Headquarters before the 30th Anniversary Gala

AIMS & friends at the Athens Headquarters before the 30th Anniversary Gala

Left to right: Al Boka, Gary Boshoff, Gary Friar, Hugh Jones, Sean Wallace-Jones, Horst Milde, Theodosis Livitsanos, Keisuke Sawaki, Mark Milde, Peter McLean, Paco Borao, Fernando Jamarne, Fran Seton, Bruno Boukobza, Martha Morales, Yutaka Sasai, Dave Cundy, Nancy Morse, Guy Morse. High-resolution-photo(right-click to save)

Distance Running

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Cover: Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso, Spain. Photo: Jose Royo