The pandemic may have cancelled or postponed marathons and triathlons throughout the nation and world, but that doesn’t mean people can’t stay healthy– and still race for a good cause.
Such is the philosophy behind Team Greek America, the latest endeavor of the Greek America Foundation, a New York City-based charitable organization with a large nationwide membership base and following.
“With Team Greek America, we can still run together, but apart,” Greek America Foundation Founder and President Gregory Pappas said. “Not only should we continue to stay healthy during these trying times, but we also need to remain positive and keep thinking about those less fortunate than us.”
Runners, bikers, triathletes, swimmers and all competitive athletes are being asked to join the virtual team and either participate in official competitions that may still be operating or create their own events.
If no races are operating in an athlete’s region, the athlete can– as four-time Greek national figure skating champion Dimitra Korri did– create his or her own “event.”
In December 2020, Korri organized her own virtual fundraiser which raised more than $1,000. She went out to her local boardwalk in Long Beach, California, and completed a virtual 5K roller skate race while live-streaming to her followers on Instagram and Facebook.
Korri’s effort was also preceded in March 2020 by Marielena Balouris, the evening news anchor at WAVY-TV, the NBC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.
Balouris wanted to stay healthy and run for a good cause, so she created her own 8K race and raised more than $1,000 from family and friends which benefitted the Greek America Foundation’s various charitable efforts.
The latest members of Team Greek America now include a Pennsylvania man named Greg Arampatzis, an avid runner who plans to complete his first-ever 100-mile race in November, and Athens-born New Yorker Agamemnon Polyzois, who plans to run a marathon in Newport, Rhode Island, in April.
Arampatzis and Polyzois have both set a fundraising goal of $5,000 for their races.
How does it work?
The Greek America Foundation provides athletes with various forms of support, including a personalized donation page that will be tailored to the specific athlete’s competition, as well as branded clothing with the Team Greek America insignia, which is inspired by an ancient Greek pot that depicts athletes running in a race.
The foundation had launched a previous iteration of Team Greek America during its decade as a Chicago-based organization. Dozens of athletes competed in major races including the Chicago Marathon, one of the biggest marathons in the world which draws in tens of thousands of runners every year.
How to join Team Greek America?
For more information, visit the team’s official website page.
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