Between two hills, beyond a river and beside a temple of luck, ancient Athenians ran their races. Once outside the city walls, today this stadium lies bang in the heart of a vast urban sprawl.
A place for all Athens (“Panathenaic”) and beautifully marbled (“Kallimarmaro”), the stadium was rebuilt by a Zappa (Evangelos not Frank) to host the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Here too lies the finish line of the classic marathon, which sets out from a town some 26 miles outside Athens that gave the race (also run around the world) its name.
The river, now hidden under a road, still runs its course. And the city still runs its race. In the heat of the day, tourists come take victory laps around the stadium’s bottom track while locals run along the horseshoe rim at its top. In the cool of the night teenagers break in and bring the love, sitting on the steps to drink and kiss. Hearts beat faster here, breathless from sport or love or wonder.
The Race traces the pulse of this place. The blood-pumping thrill of the chase to get higher, faster, harder. And the desire to get far from it all: to escape, from yourself or with someone else.
The track inspired a loving video look at all kinds of athletes as they train across the city of Athens. It’s got it all: a veritable alphabet of sports (archery, boxing, crossfit, dance, equestrian, fencing and golf), pole-dancers and ping-pong players, horse riders and rock climbers, contenders under water (rugby) and on wheels (skateboarding), sporting women and men in all their sweat-steaming, heart-racing beauty.
The Race is Σtella’s second release on Arbutus Records. Run with it.
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