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06 June 2005

Getting to Run on the Weekend

Bus tickets are free today, since there are no busses anyway

Came in to work this monday and can't remember what I worked on last friday. Must have something to do with the weekend. Last weekends plan was to run 3.5 kilometers at the 2005 Athens Fun Run / Γυρος της Αθήνας. Like with many plans in didn't work out that way. This "running around Athens" event was somehow coupled with a "Day for the Environment". I think the organizers of those events screwed up in a really stupid way. They had blocked all roads for us to go to the start...

What happened? We enrolled (free) for our start numbers (22637 was mine IIRC) by going to one of the citys service offices. Then we woke up early on Sunday, I changed into highly advanced running gear (my new bermudas and a T-Shirt). Had some special athletes breakfast (toast and apple juice) and went to the bus station to take the trolley bus to the start location, at the fancy Kallimarmaro stadium, near the Zappeio and close to Syntagma Square. Public Transport is reduced on sundays, but we had two trolley lines to choose from and we weren't that late. So we waited for the trolley to come.

Warming up to it on the way

And we waited a bit more. Some trolleys passed that went only a few blocks to Patission street. As usual in Greek public transport the amount of information given to passengers is zero, zilch, nothing. But at one point we deduced out of the warm air, a conversation someone had with a bus driver and the guesses from other waiting passengers, that there was no bus traffic to the center of Athens. The time had finally passed 9.30, when the race started. We were still at the bus stop. Finally we walked some streets over and found a taxi. The taxi took us close to Omonia square, when the driver realized that Omonia was closed (Omonia being something like the central traffic hub for 3/4 of Athens traffic). He wanted to bypass Omonia by the left, going through Exarcheia.

All the center blocked

But I told him to let us out, since it finally dawned on me, that of course all of the track around the city of Athens would be blocked, which meant that nothing would get us to the other side of Athens center. No race for us. What should we have done according to the organizers? Get up at 6 and take the bus to arrive at the start 1.5 hours early? Take a car, drive there and park it on some sidewalk? Walk there (making us run more than double the distance)? Or just go over and slap some of the organizing comittee after the fact?

Due to the "Day for the Environment" all public transport was free from 7:00 to 14:00. Easy, since it was impossible to take a bus in the center of Athens anyway. This means that they had maybe an hour where people were riding for free. It would have really been nice if the organizers had included in their high-gloss information brochures some information about how to get to the start. Hey, they expected only something like 25000 people. Of which according to the news about 15000 showed up. Maybe some of the others would have made it there too, if they knew that they had to pass a hurdle run across town.

Posted by betabug at 10:04 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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