Schiniathlon (pronounce [skiny-athlon]) was the first major effort to introduce triathlon in Greece as a sport for everyone. The name is a contraction of "Schinias" [Skinias], the Bay where it all started and "Triathlon" a word we have been banned to use, curiously, right from the start...
The races started in 2007 with 2 events that year, organised benevolently, and evolved fast to a series of 6 events per year. The spirit of the events, which was about enjoying triathlon as a sport for all, rather than promoting only elite level athletes, contributed to the success and popularity it enjoyed from day one. The events have grown to attract from 55 participants at the first ever Schiniathlon, to over 300 athletes per race in 2011. Every year more and more people came to the sport. Overall more than 2.300 individuals got introduced to triathlon via our series of events in these 5 years, where we were the first and only organiser around.
Before 2007 there was no mass triathlon in the country. The only events were organised by the Triathlon Federation, gathering a handful of athletes who needed a special licence to race. The races were so confidential they never gathered more than 40 athletes.
As soon as we started the events, the Triathlon Federation pulled all the stops to try and block us off. Taking advantage of a legal loophole in Greece regarding the organisation of grassroots sports, it denied us any legitimity to organise races, regularly sending us the police and all local authorities in an attempt to intimidate us. Countless hours were spent at police stations, local authorities and Ministries, trying to justify the nature and rightfullness of our activity. The situation became a constant arm-wrestle and it reached its highest point when we had to seek (and obtain) the support of the Prime Minister at that time.
Their permanent harrassment only fuelled harder our desire to succeed in our attempt to install Triathlon as a developed sport in Greece, on the back of a sound and solid community, with proper mechanisms such as structural and financial model, sponsors base, fundraising channels and media support.
We have made a point to always add something new to our offer, for every season: a new format (triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon), a new distance (sprint, olympic, long, half-iron), a new location (Schinias, Astros, Vravrona). Our idea was to accompany the athlete from beginner to experienced and to maintain a sense of community among the athletes.
Besides the events themselves, we developed other concepts to grow, motivate and inspire this newly formed community. Every year starting 2008, we organised the summer Ironman trip in Europe. In 2008 we raced the 1/2 Ironman of Austria, in 2009 we raced the Ironman in Frankfurt, and in 2011 we headed to the Iron distance Challenge Roth in Germany again. The process involved group trainings, team outfits, funds raising, sponsors support and communication campaign. These projects were for the high-end athletes. We also introduced Clinics for the beginners and maintained a forum to share all about training.
This website is the legacy of how it all started. You get the race reports, results and pictures... but you also get the "behind the scenes" stories behind each event... This is what it took, to put triathlon on the map of sports in Greece.
Schiniathlon ended in 2011, being by then still the only organiser on the market. When it ended, there was a surge to get into the market. A few years down the line, after a few hic-ups, it is with great pleasure that we see the growth of triathlon is now well underway, with a sound level of competition and profesionalism from the organisers. 2013 saw around 30 races being held over the country, by what seems to be a healthy base of organisers.
Schiniathlon was revived in Schinias by "Transition Sports 3" led by resort owner Dimitris Moraitis. For more details: http://www.transitionsports.gr/en/transition-homepage-en/trsports-new-era-en.html