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Dean Karnazes hopes to inspire Greece with marathon effort

Dean Karnazes is not a man to shy away from challenges: like Pheidippides, the original marathon runner who delivered the news of the Greek army’s victory over invading Persian forces, he doesn’t give up.

Seven years ago, he ran 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days from one coast of the US to the other. Before that he spent three days and three nights running 350 miles – the last night “sleep running” as he went. He has crossed all four of the world’s great deserts, including Death Valley, the hottest place on Earth. And he’s run through sub-zero temperatures to get to the south pole, the coldest place. In 2015, he hopes to traverse the world by clocking up marathons throughout the year in 204 countries.

But now the Californian has set his sights on crisis-hit Greece, the land of his forebears, where he arrived this week on a mission of endurance and hope.

“I come with a message,” he said on the first day of his first visit to the Greek capital. “And that is that you are better than you think and you can go further than you think. The only limits you have are you own preconceived notions of what you can’t, and can, do.”

On Friday, the 51-year-old ultra-marathon runner – described by some as the fittest man on the planet – takes that message to the Peloponnese, one of the poorest regions in a nation that now holds the unenviable position of being the unhappiest in Europe. There, over three days, he will run from his ancestral village, high in the mountains of Arcadia, to the Messinian plain in a triple-pronged effort to promote sports tourism to the debt-stricken country, highlight the perils of child obesity – a growing problem in Greece since the advent of the debt crisis, as poverty forces changes in eating habits – and raise awareness of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet to which he subscribes religiously.

“Hardship and adversity make you stronger,” he insisted with his parents, both second-generation Greek-Americans, looking on. “Change is never easy but the Greeks have clearly realised that they couldn’t keep going down the same path. As painful as it has been, there has been somewhat of a cleansing of the economy and with that has come hope.”

Although fascinated from a young age by endurance and discipline – the very virtues Greece now needs most – the athlete readily acknowledges that he also has “certain gifts”. Almost uniquely, scientists have found, he does not accumulate lactic acid, which enables him to run seemingly for ever without enduring pain or cramp.

“My biomechanics are unique,” said Karnazes while enthusing about one of his most recent “jaunts”, a 75-mile, 14-hour run from San Francisco to Healdsburg, the wine capital of northern California, to attend a friend’s party. “For a long-distance runner it’s the perfect body alignment.”

But the Greek-American, who will be met at the finishing line on Sunday by Antonis Samaras, the prime minister of Greece, also admits that it took time and effort to manifest his athletic gifts. “I wasn’t always the perfect athlete … I used to eat a lot of junk food but have changed over the course of two decades,” said the former business executive. “I now eat only healthy, natural foods.”

Karnazes, who turned to running on his 30th birthday – challenging himself after a night of heavy drinking to run 30 miles – hopes his own tale of personal transformation will inspire Greeks. “A lot of younger Greeks often reach out to me for advice and I am seeing a lot of optimism among them,” he said, adding that he hoped Greece would become a prime destination for “active tourism”.

“There is a message of hope for people in what I have done. They can change for the better.”


Key trends for 2013/14 winter holidays revealed – Questor Insurance comments

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Questor Insurance

Winter holidays have been a firm fixture in the British holiday calendar for decades, and they are enjoyed by holidaymakers of all ages.

UK (PRWEB UK) 17 October 2013

Vehicle hire insurance and travel insurance specialist Questor Insurance highlights research which reveals some of the key trends for 2013/14 winter holidays.

The latest figures have revealed that Brits are more enthusiastic than ever about heading off for a break abroad this winter, with the number of holidaymakers planning a winter sun holiday (up to 40% from 39%*), a city break (up to 39% from 31%) or a skiing and snowboarding break (up to 15% from 10%) increasing year-on-year.

The most popular destinations for winter sun, according to the report from ABTA, include the Canary Islands and the southern Mediterranean countries of Greece, Malta and Tunisia. The Caribbean, Dubai and Mexico are also set to prove popular with long-haul travellers this winter.

City breaks to the continent and beyond are also proving a hit this winter, with Brits planning to head to destinations such as Amsterdam, Bruges, Prague, Berlin and New York in their droves to soak up the atmosphere of Christmas markets and to visit top attractions away from high season and long queues.

UK travellers are also keen to hit the slopes and indulge in some Après ski this winter, with the Espace Killy (France) topping the list of top 5 ski resorts for Brits followed by Trois Vallées (France), Sauze d’Oulx (Italy), Kitzbuhel (Austria) and finally St Anton (Austria).

British holidaymakers who are on a budget are also opting for up and coming ski destinations in Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The report also revealed that winter holiday enthusiasts are also looking for further activities away from the slopes to add to their holiday experience, and this can range from cookery classes to yoga and spa treatments.

Commenting Questor Insurance CEO Andrew Lawrence said: “Winter holidays have been a firm fixture in the British holiday calendar for decades, and they are enjoyed by holidaymakers of all ages.

“However, as winter holidays require specialist equipment, and can be affected by variable conditions on the slopes, is important to take out specialist winter sports travel insurance to ensure that you are fully covered.”

Buy your winter sports travel insurance at Questor Insurance today.

Questor Insurance’s ‘Be Holiday Savvy’ campaign is running from June to October and will provide travellers with a wealth of handy hints and tips to make the process of planning and executing their foreign holiday that much smoother.

Sources

*http://abta.com/news-and-views/press-zone/abta-reveals-winter-holiday-trends-2013-14

About Questor Insurance Services Limited

We are an independent privately owned insurance intermediary that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Questor Insurance designs and distributes niche insurance products for global markets at the same time providing great customer service via a dedicated in-house team.

Our mission is to provide our clients with the best niche insurance products and client service. We do this by designing our own insurance products, building our own software and by providing detailed and ongoing training to our staff.

We pride ourselves on providing the personal touch to our customers; you can telephone, email or make contact through our Live Chat application. Whichever way you make contact with us you will always find that our staff are ready to go the extra mile to assist.

Questor Insurance also supports its customers through the claim process. We have access to the Underwriter’s claim systems so that we can provide our customers with updates on their claim and we meet with the claim handlers regularly to discuss servicing issues. We are also in the process of developing what will be an industry-leading claims platform to streamline the claims process even further to the benefit of our customers.

Questor Insurance currently offers insurance in three product classes, Vehicle Hire Excess, Travel Insurance and Excess Protection.

We started trading in August 2007 having received our authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority’s predecessor in July 2007. We are a dynamic innovative business with committed staff which translates into a great business. Our products are supplied retail to this website and wholesale to other sites.

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