Armenian Americans Participate in First Ever Yerevan Half Marathon

October 6,
2015

By Danielle Saroyan
Armenian Agenda Associate Editor

On Sunday, October 4th, Yerevan hosted its first half
marathon with approx. 1,500
runners participating from 27 countries, including a large representation from
the United States. The race offered four distances – 13 miles (half
marathon), 6 miles, 1.3 miles, or a 0.6 km kids run. All those who crossed the
finish line received a finisher’s medal in honor of their achievement.

Repat Armenia, in cooperation with the Yerevan City Hall, Orange
Fitness Club, Converse Bank, various Armenian running clubs, and running
enthusiasts, came together to organize the Yerevan Half Marathon. The goal is
to organize a series of annual events, which will promote long distance running
and other endurance sports in Armenia, encourage a healthy lifestyle, attract
sports tourism, and create an additional reason for Armenian diaspora to visit
their homeland.

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Project Director of the Yerevan Half Marathon, Anahit Adamyan,
described the Yerevan Half Marathon as a success. “We completed all that was
planned, with truly a global presence, international timing standards, and
Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) certification,
with all services provided,” Adamyan said. “And most importantly, we have 1,500
happy runners after the race!”

The Yerevan Half Marathon hopes to become an international event
that will attract more participants in the years to come from Armenia and
around the world. Adamyan is currently considering future plans for this race,
including an option to run a full marathon and expanding into other endurance
sports, such as a triathlon.

Many organizations formed their own running groups and ran
together, such as OneArmenia and TriClub Armenia.

Garni Baroni, an Armenian American, had a very positive opinion on
the first-ever half marathon in Armenia. “I think it was very well organized
with a wonderful turnout. One of the most surprising parts of the event was the
number of foreigners that were participating. I saw teams of runners from all
around the world,” Baroni said. “I think the Yerevan Half Marathon is a great opportunity
to encourage sports tourism in Armenia. Hopefully it will grow into a renowned
sporting event that will not only help Armenia’s economy but will encourage
Armenians to become more active. I will most certainly run again next year.”

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Baroni ran as part of a team with OneArmenia, comprising of mostly
Armenian Americans currently living in Armenia. Many Armenian locals also ran
and enjoyed seeing so many new faces in Armenia.

David Hayrapetyan from TriClub Armenia said, “When the main
organizers from Repat Armenia asked us to help them, we were happy. It was very
important to see so many non-Armenians run this race because it was great
opportunity to see and experience Yerevan, starting from the city center
towards the Hrazdan Gorge and back.”

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The Yerevan Half Marathon committee also prepared pre- and
post-race programs, including a tour of Garni. This half marathon was an
opportunity for Armenia to promote sports tourism at home, while at the same
time introduce Armenia to those abroad. During the race, participants ran by
the Republic Square, Yerevan Cascade, and the Ararat Cognac Factory, among
other locations around Yerevan.

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Be sure to sign up next year and be part of the second annual
Yerevan Half Marathon.

Photo Caption 1: The Yerevan Half Marathon kicks off with the Kids Run (0.6 miles).

Photo Caption 2 (L-R): OneArmenia team members Garni Baroni (USA) and 

Charlotte Poulain (France) cross the finish line together.

Photo Caption 3: Map of the Yerevan Half Marathon route.

Photo Caption 4: Participant running past the Yerevan Cascade. 

Photo Caption 5: Participant running past the Ararat Cognac Factory.

Photos Courtesy of Yerevan Half Marathon Facebook Page

About Armenian Assembly of America

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
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