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Photo courtesy of Felix Chen
Photo courtesy of Felix Chen
Felix Chen, Christina Wongbuphanimitr, Sarah Zaglifa, Kathy Ioannou and Nick Zaglifa compete Athens Classic Marathon.

From Bay Ridge to Greece!

After countless outings and runs around the neighborhood, eight members of the local Ridge Runners, a group of runners from the Bay Ridge area that was founded three years ago through a Facebook group, made the trip to Greece to participate in the Athens Classic Marathon, which was held on Sunday, November 12.

The historic race dates back to the Persian Wars of antiquity, when the Greek runner Pheidippides ran just over 26 miles from the site of the Battle of Marathon into Athens to deliver the message that the Athenians had won the battle.
Felix Chen, who founded the running group after realizing South Brooklyn could use one, said the experience was surreal.
“Completing the historic marathon was a moving experience for the group, both literally and figuratively,” he said.  “The course was full of hills. I personally thought it was a bit more difficult than expected, but nonetheless, we all had an amazing time on the course. All eight of us ended up completing the race. Although I had to walk a portion of the marathon, I made sure to finish the race. I didn’t want to give up on 26.2 miles after flying halfway across the world to participate.”
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Chen added that the other members of the group also considered the experience to be a moving one. “The other runners had a blast. We had three first-time marathoners, and they all ran a very strong race,” he said.
Before the trip, Chen had discussed with this paper why he brought group to Bay Ridge. “The Ridge Runners group was created as a way to bring racing enthusiasts from all walks of life together in an area that didn’t have a huge running presence,” he said. “I used to be part of a running club in Manhattan and I quickly realized that was something we could also use in South Brooklyn. The club was founded to connect people – to create a community. As individuals, we create mountains made up of experiences, hardships and achievements throughout our lives. When we bring these mountains together, we form the ridge that makes up Ridge Runners.”
After completing the race, the group enjoyed their time in the historic country and took in the scenery. “Greece was breathtakingly beautiful and the food was delicious – I definitely plan on going back sometime in the future,” Chen said. “Exploring Athens and eating all the delicious food it had to offer was definitely the highlight of my trip. The locals were warm and welcoming. I even ended up learning how to read Greek during the trip.”
 
Chen was thrilled to see what his creation has become just a few short years later.
“The group has come a long way,” he said. “I’m proud of how far everyone has come since we began a few years ago, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.”

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