Hi friends 😀
I am beyond excited to share with you today my “Running around the world” series post #3! I am so so happy with how much everyone liked these series!! It was an idea in my head for so long and i am so excited to finally be able to see it happening! (Many many thanks to my favourite ever blogger Carly from Fine Fit Day for all her advise on how to make this a reality :D)
This time we are traveling to a very special place, my home country Greece, and I am sharing a story of a very good friend of mine that I have known since I was a little kid… Our parents are from the same place (a little village around 3.5hrs away from Athens called Krokilio) and we both used to spent every summer there! – fyi I did want to put up a picture of us as kids but i don’t think he’d forgive me for that 😛 😉 LOL!
- Today we are travelling to my home country!
So, without anymore delays (and lengthy introductions even though you know how much I like them…)! Here is Dimitris’s story!
My name is Dimitris Zografos,I am 26 years old and I live in Athens, Greece. I am a field hockey player, a sport that I love but is not very popular in my country. Even though I was always heavier than average, that never stopped me from doing what I truly love, which is playing field hockey. Being part of the same team and playing the same sport for all these years I developed one goal, to become even better at it! To be the best I can! What motivated me was the fact that my team (Zeus Chalandriou) would be taking part in one of the biggest European meetings for field hockey that took place in Athens in 2013. My goal was not only to be part of it but to also change myself and become healthier and more fit.
Within 3 months, following a strict meal plan and serious exercising, and through a lot of hard work I finally manage to drop all of my excess weight. In the beginning of my journey I was 115kg (253.5 lbs) and when the time came for my team and I to compete I was down to 85kg (187.3 lbs). After seeing those changes in me and realising my mind’s and body’s abilities, my entire mind-set changed completely! My thoughts and dreams became my goals through a lot of work and sheer determination. This is when I decided to include running into my life. I was already in a good fitness state due to field hockey, so I started incorporating runs around 5-6km long into my everyday routine. Then after a while I felt more confident and I increased the distance to 9-10km 2-3 times a week. This is how by 2014 I was in the best shape of my life! I was 79 kg (174.2 lbs) with 11.8 % body fat.
All the things I mentioned above, along with some encouragement from my friends was more than enough to motivate me to run the Athens marathon in 2014! Unfortunately, due to an injury in my right knee and hamstrings and also the fact that I was completely inexperienced in running long distances, my finishing time was 4 hours and 46 minutes. But this was not the end for me! I entered again next year and I did much better… My finishing time was 4 hours and 20 minutes in the marathon distance and 1 hour and 40 minutes in the half marathon distance.
My personal opinion is that running is not just a form of exercising, or a way to lose weight. Running is a way of life. And everyone evolves differently through it, and not everyone would like running after trying it. I am one of the people that running didn’t only changed my body but also my way of thinking and my way of living. I believe that once you become part of this “culture” is very hard to let go and quit… You ‘ll always want to push your limits and become better and better!
So don’t forget, Greece is where it all started! This is where the idea of the marathon was born! That being said there are so many places to run in Athens (especially the amazingly beautiful and historic city centre), Greece 🙂
- The national garden
- The Zappeion Park
- The pedestrian street from the beggining of syngrou avenue (apostolou pavlou) to thission (dionisiou aeropagitou) about 2 kilometres and back walking up philopappou hill which is quite difficutl 🙂
- And last but not least of course … around the Acropolis
- And finally if you are feeling adventurous you can always go in the north part of the city or the outskirts and run part of the Authentic marathon route! 😉
Thank you so much Dimitris for sharing your story with us!
If you are looking forward for more “all around the world running” stay tuned to my series every other Tuesday 😀 For anyone who wants to share their story, from their part of the world shout me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or make sure you follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and give me a shout there
Have an awesome day everyone!! And don’t forget… GET OUT THERE AND RUN!