THE Alfeo Zanete it’s a mobile encyclopedia. A Philhellenic – an excellent connoisseur of Greek history – who had competed 40 years ago in the 1st Athens Marathon. This year, he entered for the second time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his first race.
Alfeo Zanete, who has studied Statistics at the University of Padua and received his degree after two years of research alongside the former Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi, will compete for the second time in the Athens Marathon, after 40 years. He has worked in high positions in various important Italian companies and was one of the runners who participated in the 1st Athens Marathon. The Italian runner wants to give a festive character to his anniversary participation and comes to Athens to remind us that nothing is impossible.
On the occasion of his anniversary participation, he shared his memories of the 1st Athens Marathon and the emotions it caused him and his goal for this year’s Marathon. Then, he was a new dad and today he is a grandfather of three grandchildren.
“I chose to run my first marathon in Athens and not somewhere else because, as everyone knows, this marathon is unique, the Authentic one as you say in Greece. The organization could not have chosen a better definition.
It is like running back in time to the legend of Pheidippides after the victorious battle against the Persians, as if you are in the roots of ancient Greece which was the cradle of our civilization. I also had personal reasons for choosing to run this Marathon 40 years ago. My first name is of Greek origin, although in Italy, where I live, it is not common. It goes back to the myth of Alpheus’ eternal love for Aretousa.
In addition, 1983 is the year of birth of my daughter who also has a Greek name, her name is Irini”.
Mr. Alfeo remembers to this day that the increased temperature made the effort of the runners very difficult and he emphasized that the great advantage of the race is its increased difficulty.
“I remember that in that match the weather was very hot (32-33 degrees Celsius).
Because, it was the first Marathon, the participants were much less than there are today. There were no African runners who now dominate the world stage. Due to the hot weather, many runners did not complete this race.
The organization was perfect. The Greeks supported us with great enthusiasm during the race, gave us water and encouraged us. The words “Bravo, bravo” still ring in my ears.
I agree with those who say that the Athens Marathon is difficult. There are ups and downs that break your pace and your legs, but at the same time it is a great challenge for runners. This is the advantage and not the disadvantage of the Marathon. The more difficult a marathon, the greater the satisfaction when you cross the finish line.”
In 1983, he wept when he entered Kallimarmaro. “It is almost impossible to describe the immense emotion I felt when I arrived at the Panathenaic stadium. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had tears in my eyes. I can imagine that the other runners who finished the race felt the same way.
This time the excitement will be much greater because it is not easy to run 42 kilometers after 40 years. That is why I will be wearing a personalized t-shirt with a photo of me taken during the 1983 Marathon with the inscription: “40 years later: nothing is impossible”. Let’s hope.
It’s terrible to think that 40 years have passed since then, 40 years gone forever. Almost a lifetime, a long course like a marathon. During its duration, society and our way of life have changed profoundly. Today, we live in a different world. From a real world we have made a transition to a virtual world, prisoners of social media, but everything remains the same when participating in a sporting event.
Sport helps someone find a way out of their everyday life. The Olympic spirit and its values must always be at the forefront of our lives. I mean respect, passion, dedication, discipline. These are eternal values, the lesson we must learn from the past to build a better future for new generations. When I refer to the future I think of my wonderful grandchildren Andre, Luis and Joel”.
Alfeo Zanete emphasizes that even in the solitary race of the Marathon you do not reach the finish without help and support.
“My goal is to take this opportunity to thank those who have been important to my career. The rationale is that you never run the marathon alone, but the help and support of other runners and the public is critical to performance. The Greek public was wonderful with me”.