I could say that the Penny Marathon is just another animal welfare non-profit organization, but it’s a lot more. The Penny Marathon is a chance for all of us to go out there once a year, among the public, and speak for all companion animals that keep waiting in shelter kennels or out on the streets – waiting for a chance.
Once a year, instead of hiding behind heartbreaking Facebook posts and cries for help through online fundraising campaigns, we run a Marathon, wearing our Penny Marathon T-shirts, hoping to get the attention of people who might never had heard of what rescuing is actually about and might never had come across an animal welfare Facebook page or website. The Penny Marathon barely makes it to the eight o’clock news – but at least we make it to the streets, and that’s awesome.
What is the Penny Marathon?
The Penny Marathon is an animal welfare charity that provides “both a voice to stray, abandoned, neglected and abused companion animals (cats and dogs) and support to the people and groups that fight to save their lives. The money raised through donations and sales is primarily used for various stages of the rescue–rehome process”.
Penny was a stray dog in Greece whose life, like many others like hers, ended tragically. The charity was named after her. Learn more about what Penny meant to Eleftheria Prodromou, the founder of the charity here.
Is there an actual marathon taking place?
Yes, there is. It started small and it’s growing bigger every year. The marathon is run the second or third Sunday of July, in Greece and Australia. 42 kilometers are covered, from the starting point to the finish line. You can register and run all 42 kilometers or join in at any meeting point on the way.
I don’t run the marathon, I “drive” it and film it. Today I came back from it, with my camera full of photos and videos, and full of energy – I am ready to make it through another year. Animals welfare volunteers usually make it to the summer exhausted, overwhelmed – and the ridiculous temperatures here in Greece make this feeling of desperation even worse. So it’s as if the Penny Marathon is the like an annual “drug” that we all need to make it through another year.
Dogs can also participate (how could they not), and they usually join in with their owners for the last couple of kilometers. The highlights of today’s marathon were (for me) tow dogs that survived against all odds, and brought tears to everyone’s eyes when they crossed the finish line. Morgan, who was shot in the face and blinded, and Alfredo, in his wheelchair, all proud and running faster than anyone else.
Video of last year’s marathon in Athens: