Long distance Greats compete in Milan, London, Rotterdam
and Boston - Nebiolos message to the Belgrade Marathon
16 April, 1999 - Monte Carlo Some of the worlds greatest road races will take place this weekend, in Europe and the United States:
In Milan, where five-time world cross country champion and owner of the world best performance in the half marathon, (59:17), Paul Tergat competes in the Stramilano;
In London, with Brazils Ronaldo da Costa, the fastest man in the world over the distance with 2:06:05 will face Olympic champion Josiah Thugwane (RSA);
In Rotterdam, Tegla Loroupe from Kenya will try to better her own (and the worlds) best performance of 2:20:47, which she set on the same course last year;
In Boston, where the worlds oldest marathon on Monday will once again celebrate the United States revolt against English rule and over a million spectators are expected to watch Moses Tanui (KEN) attempt to repeat his success of last year.
But it is in Belgrade that, on account of the current, dramatic situation, something really exceptional will take place tomorrow: the 12th edition of the "Belgrade Stark Marathon".
Athletes from the United States, Russia, Germany, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Greece and Yugoslavia will run the 42.1495 metres of the marathon course, with the aim of crossing the line together in around 3 hours 15 minutes.
The race will be re-dedicated to the memory of Fred Lebow, the founder of the New York Marathon, an American citizen of Romanian and Jewish origins, who responded to the persecution of his youth by becoming the promoter of humanitarian initiatives through sport.
There will be neither winners nor losers.
Nor will there be winners and losers in the 5km fun run, which will include some 100,000 citizens of Belgrade.
So it is that running a symbol of mankinds travail and mirror of lifes sufferance and joys will once again unite men and women, without exclusion.
In a wish to underline this meaning the pursuit of peace and love between individuals and peoples through the exercise of an athletic activity that IAAF President Primo Nebiolo yesterday sent a message to Dejan Nikolic, the organiser of the Belgrade Marathon.
Nebiolo wrote: "The news that the 12th edition of the Belgrade Stark marathon will take place as planned on Saturday 17 April, is for myself and the whole world athletics movement, a signal of hope and also of a profound belief in peace . Sport, as it is understood and promoted by our federation, is not just a matter of athletic prowess, but also a means of getting to know and respect others of differing ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious origins . We share this deep conviction and have put it into operation in South Africa, Sarajevo and Belfast. May we also in the future be able to organise in Belgrade and in Pristina, athletics meetings that celebrate peace and the restoration of brotherhood among peoples who today live through suffering and separation."