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“Better to ask the way than go astray”

Jul 04, 2022

SNF Nostos is an open celebration of thrilling art, lively discussion, bold ideas, electrifying music, illuminating installations, and inspiring athletic activity—it's a festival for everyone. It also, we know from press reports, created significant inconvenience with the road closures for the 8th SNF Nostos Run: Running into the Future on Thursday, June 23, 2022. We would like to offer a sincere apology to the people who, in the midst of a heatwave, were stuck in traffic on the city’s main roads, both in their vehicles and as passengers on public transport. Our intention at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is—and has been for the past 7 years of the run—to organize a race for all, for a good cause, that starts at the Panathenaic Stadium, an Olympic Symbol of sportsmanship and beauty, and ends at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), a landmark of public space and culture. Our aim is for all runners to be able to enjoy the 6 and 10 km routes in the spirit of athletic togetherness, but with the inevitable consequence, as in all road races in cities, that there are traffic regulations, road closures, and a certain level of inherent inconvenience for drivers on the edges of the race route. This year, however, we heard the strong reactions loud and clear: in the streets, in cars, in Parliament, in the halls of the Municipalities. We regret that this year a race that has taken place for the past eight years has been the cause of so much frustration, of opinion pieces, and even of legislative proposals. Fortunately for the spirit of dialogue that is central to SNF's philosophy, there are other views too, especially from the perspective of those who took part in the race:

As is the case with all SNF’s activities since the Foundation’s inception in 1996, the SNF Nostos Run is philanthropic in nature. At every SNF Nostos Run event over the years, runners have made voluntary donations which have been double-matched by SNF, and the overall tripled total has been donated to specific partner nonprofit organizations. This year, for the first time, there was a minimum entry fee of €5 for all runners. This will be donated to Polyphonica, which has offered kids of different backgrounds and identities, regardless of their religion or language, the opportunity to participate in free workshops in music, contemporary dance, theater, musical instruments, musical theater, and more since 2011, and to the Philharmonic Orchestra of Ioannites, which has focused on providing musical education to local young people since 1917. To set the record straight following certain media reports, we would like to note that the organization of a public road race is the result of cooperation between a number of local authorities and requires their prior approval and consensus. The Regional Administration of Attica, under whose purview the organization of the race falls, through documents Α.Π. 440183/18.05.22 and the Hellenic Police, through Α.Π. 1821/22/922357 (03/05/2022), responded positively with regard to the organization of the race, and the Hellenic Police decided for the race to be held under its auspices. (Attached are the letters from the Hellenic Police and the Regional Administration of Attica). Furthermore, we made sure to inform the public well in advance through posts and communication releases in all media.

SNF Nostos, as part of which the SNF Nostos Run takes place, is an international, multifaceted festival for visitors of all ages. Admission to all events is free, and the costs of the event are borne exclusively by SNF. For our part, we hope that it offers something for everyone, so that each summer, we can meet together at the SNFCC, which, as an open public space, is the ideal meeting place to share experiences and create common memories. This year, SNF Nostos was dedicated to the most essential human resource, health, inspired by SNF’s more than $700 million Health Initiative, whose major impacts in Greece include the construction of three new hospitals, the provision of state-of-the-art medical and technological equipment, educational programs, and mental health efforts. It was a very fruitful event where luminaries from the fields of health and science, sports and culture, along with thousands of people, came together from all corners of the world, exchanged views, and had fun. It was also a significant opportunity for Greece to share its charms with the world.

As for the SNF Nostos Run, the fact that it race was conducted in a considered and lawful manner does not, of course, negate the fact that a large number of people were inconvenienced on Thursday, June 23. The SNF Nostos Run, true to its vision, will consider all parameters to make the next race run more smoothly on Friday, June 23, 2023. We share this so that we can start looking forward to seeing each other again next year.

It’s all good!

Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)