SMM Volunteer Task Force
The Volunteer Task force initially was designed to help out during the races, but also to play an active role in the development of Spetses. We have launched a customized training program that includes: a crash course in English and French, First Aid and marketing tactics. Through our systematic commitment to the Volunteer Task Force, it has grown to over 500 members. We host volunteer meetings regularly and undertake various community projects the most important of which are the Reforestation Program of the Spetses wild forests, the protection against forest fires – resulting in the successful deterrence of fires and the cleaning of the beaches and the sea.
Over 97% of local business support the local business partner initiative. This postcard size island (3407 permanent residents) grows to over 10.000 people during each event with over 10 million euros in revenue being distributed to local businesses, contributing significantly to the development of the island. Furthermore, along with the awareness raised the event has been instrumental in positive publicity for the island of over 2000 Greek and foreign press articles, highlighting the natural beauty of Spetses, its unique architectural, cultural and naval tradition as well as its perfect yearlong climate- and car free regulations. All this during the worst financial and political crisis Greece has faced as a country, whereby most articles view the country in a negative light focusing on the financial and social instability and unrest.
Before the SMM, the communication between the islanders was limited in terms of different groups according to status and education. This however, changed radically, as a result of the SMM and the Spetses Volunteer Force.
SMM Sustainability Initiative through Recycling
Through the SMM Sustainability Initiative we created a recycling program for the island – making it the only private initiative for a municipality program in Greece. In 2013 we donated 24 recycling bins to the island, as well as created a mechanism whereby waste would be sorted and recycled through the mainland and the proceeds would loop back into the community to fund common projects. In terms of the actual event we launched the following initiatives: a) paperless registration to minimize waste b) incentives for carpooling and use of means of mass transportation for getting to Spetses c) reduction of over 85% for all printed material and d) bicycles for participants for free during their stay in the island.
Protection of the cultural heritage of Spetses
Spetses has been designated a car-free island due to its unique architecture. To enhance appreciation of the cultural heritage of the island the race courses are designed to pass through the monuments and participants are given extra information about the cultural points they will encounter along their route.
Sports Tourism Case Study
The Spetses mini Marathon (SMM) is the main reason for the extension of the tourist season in the Argosaronic Greek Island of Spetses for over 2 months. In close proximity to Athens, (only 54 nautical miles) this island was virtually unknown to foreign tourists and well loved by Athenians with summer villas. The SMM was instrumental in changing the DNA of the Community into becoming a worldwide athletic destination, with over 10.000 athletes -more than half coming from abroad- joining the races. The race courses are specifically designed to showcase the cultural and architectural heritage of the island and visitors have a chance to run or swim amidst parts of history. The running routes pass all along the historic port below the church of St. Nicholas where the Greek flag of the revolution was raised and among the cobbled streets leading to the traditional shipyards (the only ones still in operation in Greece) while the swimmers swim across the historic straits, where the heroine of the Greek revolution Laskarina Bouboulina fought and won and the enemy’s fleet was burned in a tremendous act of courage.
Promotion of a healthy way of life
In a recent study, undertaken by the Organizing Committee of the SMM, more than 75% of community members have changed their dietary habits and have included more exercise in their daily regime as a direct result of the creation of the SMM. This figure grows substantially for young children and teenagers under 18 years old- to a staggering 97% of young Spetsiots training all year round for the event as opposed to less than 50% before the onset of the event four years ago. Moreover, the SMM sponsors a separate children’s race in March, Paidathlon, and regularly organizes lectures and free training sessions with world class athletes including Olympic Gold Medalists, for all the community in an effort to further the spirit of the race and the values of athleticism.
Every year we aim to make Spetses mini Marathon even more environmentally conscious…!