(New York, New York, United States) – Athanasia Tsoumeleka, an Olympic Gold medals in race walking from Greece, is scheduled to run the 2016 New York City Marathon, which takes place on November 1, 2016. Tsoumeleka will be accompanied by a friend of hers who is also from Greece, Mary Liarou, who attends the same gym as Tsoumeleka. Liarou has a different background than the Olympic champion. Tsoumeleka won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games that took place in Athens, Greece. Both women also participated in the 2014 Athens Marathon.
The two women are also participating in the marathon for a higher cause. Their aim is to raise funds for the Make a Wish campaign in Greece, whose mission it is to raise money for children with grave illnesses. These children often have a “wish” for something that they would like to experience. The Make a Wish foundation fulfills these goals for those children.
About the cause, Tsoumeleka has said, “am running for the children living in tough times with a lot of dangers and threats and I want to tell them ‘Nothing is impossible when there is faith. Faith in life, faith in hope, faith in the battle, faith for the better’. Have Faith and Make A Wish and then everything is possible.” She acknowledges that for many people, the foundation gives them hope and allows them to achieve goals they never would have accomplished with the charity’s help.
Not only that, but running the marathon is a once in a lifetime opportunity and is considered to be one of the elite marathons int he world. She also wants to use the marathon as a chance to meet some of the people in the Greek diaspora in New York, who have written to her over the years with messages of support and encouragement. She said, “Following 2004 I always had on my mind a meeting with the diaspora there, as the messages I received were beyond moving and honoring.”