Photo: Football Karagounis by Angelos Zymaras
Events Hephaestus Wien

More than 3.500 participations & 55 activities at Navarino Challenge 2023

Navarino Challenge united people from 27 countries and 4 continents

With the global message “sport unites people”, one of the most significant sports and wellness events in Europe, the Navarino Challenge, united people for the 11th year, on October 13-15, through more than 55 activities and 20 Olympic sports at the W Costa Navarino, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino hotels, and Pylos. The event was renewed and offered activities in three hotels, in the city of Pylos, and the wider area of Messinia, implementing additional innovative steps.

Following the purpose of the Olympic Movement, in the presence of Olympians and Paralympians, this year’s Navarino Challenge had more than 3,500 participations, from people of all ages, from 1 month to 85 years old, athletes with disabilities, as well as participants who took part in the activities with their pets, at Costa Navarino and Pylos. With the magnificent Messinian landscape and Navarino Bay as a setting, the great celebration of sports brought together athletes, families and children from 27 countries such as U.S.A., Colombia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Georgia, Austria, Romania, Albania, Cyprus, and Greece.

Running by Elias Lefas

Significant Sports Personalities

Navarino Challenge was part of the amateur and professional athletes who participated, as they all shared the same values, in the presence of Olympians. At the Navarino Challenge, major sports personalities and Olympic medalists such as Michalis Mouroutsos, Antigoni Ntrismpioti, Emmanouil Karalis, Giorgos Karagounis can meet and do sports, while giving the participants the opportunity to meet Grigoris Polychronidis, Makis Kalaras, Periklis Iakovakis, Anastasia Kostaki, Areti Athanasopoulou, Joe Arlauckas, Konstantine “Dean” Karnazes, Michalis Triantafyllidis, Georgia Kaltsi, Giorgos Lazaridis, Jo Manta, Christina Flampouri and to train with Nikos Gemelos, Dimitris Moros, Mandy Persaki and Efi Chatzigeorgaki.

A night full of stars and surprises

On Saturday night, a special awards night was held dedicated to the people who have contributed to Greek sports and have written their own history, which was full of memories, emotions, and sports stars. Dora Anagnostopoulou was the hostess and presenter of this event, giving the first speech to the Chief Executive Officer of ActiveMedia Group and co-organizer, Mr. Akis Tsolis. In the context of the awards:

  • Exactly one year after the death of two-time taekwondo Olympic silver medalist Alexandros Nikolaidis, the event fulfilled the wish of Alexandros’ family by establishing, through Navarino Challenge and with the permission of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the “Alexandros Nikolaidis” award. In the presence of his wife Dora Tsambazi, their daughter, and the Secretary General of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr. Manolis Kolymbadis, the 1st “Alexandros Nikolaidis” award was given to the Olympian pole vaulter Emmanouil Karalis who stands out for his ethics, commitment and his morality. The President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr. Spyros Kapralos addressed his greeting with a video.
  • the Greek-American ambassador of Greek tourism and ultramarathoner Konstantine “Dean” Karnazes was awarded by the founders of That Gorilla Brand Mr. Leo Gripari and Mrs. Casey Gripari
  • Periklis Iakovakis and Afroditi Mentzou were awarded by the Marketing Manager of Europa, Mr. Michalis Sinikoglou for promoting sports as a family model
  • the Greek champion in wheelchair tennis and member of the Greek National Team, Giorgos Lazaridis, was awarded by the Market Access & Public Affairs Director of Novo Nordisk Hellas, Ms. Mary Karageorgou
  • Nikos Gemelos was awarded by the Brand and Media Manager of Vikos SA, Mr. Ilias Liberis
  • Michalis Mouroutsos was awarded by the Nutrition Business Unit Leader South East Europe of Unilever Hellas, Mr. Dimitris Serifis
  • Grigoris Polychronidis was awarded by the Facility Management Director of TEMES, Mr. Giorgos Panageas
  • the European champion Giorgos Karagounis was awarded by the Managing Director of Miele Hellas, Mr. Thanos Kyriazis
  • the two-time European gold champion, bronze world champion, and Olympian Antigoni Ntrismpioti was awarded by the Business Development Manager SIXT Greece, Mr. Antonios Markoutsas

As part of the awards night, That Gorilla Brand and the event organized a great surprise for the audience with the unique show offered by the magician and mind reader Shahin.

Masterclass Ioannidis by Dimitris Andritsos photography

At the registration desk and awards night venue, at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, guests had the opportunity to admire the unique booths of That Gorilla Brand and Luanvi. Accordingly, at the innovative Miele Open House, high-quality, technology, and premium design appliances were presented. The guests admired the innovative wine preserver that keeps the wines at the ideal temperature and suits every interior space and decoration, while Miele had set up a separate laundry with devices that last over time while maintaining the exact same quality. For Miele, this is the ultimate form of sustainability. Finally, people admired the powerful and practical new cordless vacuum cleaner Duoflex HX1, which is simple to use and has a modern design, in six attractive colors.

At the awards night, people were served at Bombay Sapphire’s two bars. The new and innovative Boothify project offered a 360° dimension to the Navarino Challenge with people actively participating in its 360 Photo Booth setup, a fun activity for everyone that kept their memories alive.

The event welcomed its sponsors to the Welcome Cocktail powered by Bombay Sapphire.

Finally, the Kois Optics exhibition stand was set up at the W Costa Navarino registration area.

Kostaki-Arlauckas Basketball by Konstantinos Tsakalidis

A unique wellness program in Europe

This year’s schedule included the following activities for everyone: football clinics powered by Hellmann’s with the European champion Giorgos Karagounis, in the presence of the international football player Sokratis Papastathopoulos, basketball clinic powered by Knorr with the Olympian and first Greek woman to compete in the WNBA Anastasia Kostaki and the EuroLeague legend Joe Arlauckas, taekwondo lessons powered by The Vegetarian Butcher in memory of Alexandros Nikolaidis, with the Olympian Michalis Mouroutsos in the presence of the world taekwondo champion Areti Athanasopoulou and athletes from the AGS Kalamata taekwondo club, beachathlon powered by That Gorilla Brand with the Olympian and European champion Periklis Iakovakis, pickleball induction & game play and King of the Court beach volleyball tournaments (men’s, women’s, mixed) powered by Bacardi with Michalis Triantafyllidis, 4on4 basketball tournament powered by Trace ‘n Chase with the participation of Anastasia Kostaki and Giorgos Lentzas, wheelchair basketball demonstration powered by Trace ‘n Chase with the champion Georgia Kaltsi and the Paralympian Makis Kalaras, Knock out Challenge powered by Trace ‘n Chase, wheelchair tennis demonstration powered by Miele with the Greek wheelchair tennis champion and member of the Greek National Team of Giorgos Lazaridis, Masterclasses by Miele Chef Ambassador Panos Ioannidis, Sweet treats and Pasta day by Miele Chef Alexandros Syngkiridis, Men’s & Women’s Round Robbin Tournaments with UTS format powered by Miele, climbing powered by That Gorilla Brand, golf clinic powered by Miele, bike ride with an electric bike to the flamingos powered by Europa, bike ride to Voidokoilia powered by Europa, tennis induction powered by Miele, high intensity training for young and old, crossfit, baby swimming powered by Vlaha, sunset beach pilates and pilates powered by Europa, spinning challenge for all ages powered by Vikos, group cycling powered by Vikos, padel tournament powered by Miele, sunset beach yoga and yoga powered by Messinian Spa, water sports (kitesurfing, windsurfing, windsurfing foiling, wing foiling, SUP, kayaking in Sphacteria, wakeboard, waterski, wakesurf) and aqua aerobic.

Navarino Challenge 2023. Photos Angelos Zymaras

The only marathon in Messinia in 2023

For the first time in the history of the event, the Navarino Challenge Marathon by That Gorilla Brand was held with the participation of the Greek-American ambassador of Greek tourism, Constantine “Dean” Karnazes, and ultra-marathon runner Jo Manta. The participants also took part in the Navarino Challenge Half Marathon by That Gorilla Brand, at the 10km powered by SIXT, member of the MOTODYNAMICS Group, and the 5km powered by Miele. The event was filled with smiles, from hundreds of children who participated in the 1km running route for young people 10-14 years old powered by Europa and in the 1km running route for children up to 9 years old powered by Vikos. In the 1km powered by Europa, athletes from the Messiniakos Gymnastic Club and the Sports Association with disabilities “DiaforoZO” had a dynamic participation. All running races were co-organized with Messiniakos Gymnastic Club and EAS SEGAS Peloponnese Region.

In the activity of the 1km powered by Europa, the event brought with the assistance of Europa, children from all over Messinia, who had the opportunity to meet the Greek and world champions, to run with them but above all, their role-models introduced them to the secrets of their favorite activities.

Check here the results from the running races:

A BBQ event powered by Hellmann’s was held in the area of the running activities, with participants and guests trying unique flavors such as The Vegetarian Butcher burgers, Hellmann’s vegan and real mayonnaise, ketchup, mustards and BBQ sauces as well as delicious Snack Pots from Knorr.

In addition, the participants had the opportunity to try unique recipes from pure and traditional products of the Peloponnesian food industry Vlaha that presented their excellent trachanoto and sour trachanas in the dishes of the partnered restaurants.

Cleaning Beach with Ntrismpioti and Karalis by Dimitris Andritsos Photography

We ran for a good cause

All the proceeds from the Marathon race, as well as 50% of the proceeds from all the other running routes, were donated through the initiative “That Gorilla Brand’s Adventures For A Cause”, by the Grand Sponsor That Gorilla Brand, the world’s biggest lifestyle brand dedicated to the protection of mountain gorillas, to improve sanitation facilities in Uganda. Out of a total of 16 schools located around the edges of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BNIP) and close to habitats of mountain gorillas, only three meet the hygiene standards for children and teachers. The remaining 13 schools require significant financial and humanitarian aid.

Connection of gastronomy with high-quality cultural and sports tourism

The surprises of Navarino Challenge continued in gastronomy. Miele, the event’s Official Sponsor, innovated and presented for the first time in the event, which stands for exercise and proper nutrition, the magical world of gastronomy, with 2 masterclasses signed by the great Greek Chef Ambassador of Miele, Panos Ioannidis. With the message “eat well, run well, live well”, participants had the opportunity to meet him at the Miele Open House and learn the “little secrets” behind his magical recipes. At the same time, Sweet treats and Pasta day were held at the Miele Open House by Miele Chef Alexandros Syngkiridis.

Activities in Pylos

The activities in Pylos included primary care diagnostic tests under the auspices of the Medical Association of Messinia powered by Novo Nordisk, near Poseidonia Restaurant, 2km walking powered by Novo Nordisk in Pylos, from the residence of the Olympian Kostis Tsiklitiras to Niokastro, a seminar of information & awareness for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases powered by Novo Nordisk at Karalis City Hotel & Spa with the participation of the ambassador of Greek tourism Konstantine “Dean” Karnazes, the endocrinologist-diabetologist, Dr. Konstantinos Manolopoulos and the Market Access & Public Affairs Director of Novo Nordisk Hellas, Ms. Mary Karageorgou, as well as a skateboarding activity powered by Poseidonia Restaurant & Karalis Hotels, at the pier of the port of Pylos, in the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor with the support of Free Movement Skateboarding which is a recognized civil non-profit company and through the sport of skateboarding continues to support and promotes the well-being, empowerment and social cohesion of young people. The skateboarding activities were implemented in collaboration with the local businesses of Pylos and Gazzetta & Gazzetta Women, while the children learned the important lesson of “getting up when you fall down”.

Navarino Challenge 2023. Photos Angelos Zymaras

The event applied sustainability principles  

The event applied sustainable practices again this year, contributing to the protection of the environment. In particular, Navarino Challenge collaborated for another year with PHEE, a start-up company that has developed an innovative technology for the reuse of a range of vegetable waste, for the manufacture of bio composite panels, with commercial applications in architecture, furniture, and also in utilitarian objects. This year Navarino Challenge innovated again, as it was the first event in the world to give participants a medal made from recycled Poseidonia leaves, while the prizes given to the honorary awards were made from PHEE’s new material, based on espresso coffee waste. Participants were gifted with coPHEE coasters produced from coffee waste from Pylos coffee shops. At the same time, this year’s program included the cleaning of the beach of Gialova powered by MOTODYNAMICS Cleaning Team with the participation of the ambassadors of SIXT, member of the MOTODYNAMICS Group, Antigoni Ntrismpioti and Emmanouil Karalis, in collaboration with Moraitis Watersports and the volunteers of the University of Piraeus. But the actions did not stop here as the children were introduced to the principles of sustainability. The individual bottles of the athletes were offered by Europa in a recyclable bag, applying a zero-waste policy. The company’s goal is to guide people to make lifestyle changes that imitate sustainable natural cycles. Finally, the event took care of the cleaning of the running routes immediately after the end of the races. The coordinator of the environmental actions was the event’s Sustainability Partner, The Sports Footprint.

Rich gifts and official Luanvi technical t-shirt inspired by the history of Messinia

All participants received rich gifts from the sponsors of the event. All runners received the event’s official technical t-shirt from the leading clothing company Luanvi, bearing the Spiral pattern. The Spiral, which combines the shape of a circle and its dynamic movement, symbolizes time and someone can encounter it when visiting the Palace of Nestor, located in the province of Pylia. In addition to the technical t-shirt, all participants received a Luanvi bag, and products from Knorr, Hellmann’s, Messinian Spa, Vlaha, and Trata. Vikos S.A. which is consistently close to sports events that promote fair play and the value of healthy competition, stood alongside the athletes as an official hydration sponsor with Vikos natural mineral water and natural mineral soft drinks, while the participants recovered with the tasty bananas of Bella Frutta, Orsero. Marathon and Half Marathon finishers received gifts from That Gorilla Brand, while 5km finishers received gifts from Miele. Basketball participants received gifts from Spalding and Trace ‘n Chase and football participants received gifts from Trace ‘n Chase.

Beachathlon by Elias Lefas

Spalding was the official ball of the basketball activities.

The top sports celebration ended with the Moraitis Watersports Sunset Party powered by Bombay Sapphire with a dj set by the radio producer Maria Papidaki at Green Pepper, at W Costa Navarino.

The value of volunteering

The volunteers of the University of Piraeus offered their support in the activities of running and the cleaning of the beach of Gialova while encouraging all the runners. The dynamic team of Humanity Greece contributed with its staff in the registration of the running races. The Athens Medical Group supported the running activities as a Medical Partner, while the contribution of the Hellenic Rescue Team – Messinia Prefecture, in the Navarino Challenge running races, was also of key importance.

Research on Greek sports tourism

The event conducted for one more year a survey on the economic footprint of sports tourism, the findings of which will be presented in the coming months.

Athletes and ambassadors of the event moved safely, with the renewed car fleet of SIXT, member of the MOTODYNAMICS Group and Premium Mobility Partner of Navarino Challenge 2023.

That Gorilla Brand was the event’s Grand Sponsor.

Miele and Europa were the Official Sponsors.

Novo Nordisk was the Strategic Healthcare Sponsor.

Knorr, Hellmann’s, The Vegetarian Butcher were the Official Supporters.

Vikos Natural Mineral Water was the Official Water.

Luanvi was the Official Sports Supplier.

SIXT, member of the MOTODYNAMICS Group, was the Premium Mobility Partner.

Costa Navarino and the hotels W Costa Navarino, and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, were the Official Hospitality Sponsors.

DHL was the Logistics Partner.

Athens Medical Group was the Medical Partner.

Trace ‘n Chase was the Sports Memorabilia Partner.

Kois Optics were the event’s Official Optics Partner.

Messinian Spa was the Official Beauty Partner.

SKAI was the Premium TV Partner.

Liquid Media was the Premium Media Partner.

The Sports Footprint was the Sustainability Partner.

The University of Piraeus was the Educational Partner.

Dunlop was the Official Tennis Ball.

Vlaha, Poseidonia Restaurant, Karalis Beach Hotel, Boothify, Municipality of Pylos-Nestor, Phee, Nestor Wines, Karalis City Hotel & Spa, Zoe Seaside Resort, Spalding, Fysiotek, Bombay Sapphire, Trata, and Pilia Express were the event’s Partners.  

Angelic Yoga Arts, FitnessArt, Moraitis Watersports, Mouratoglou Tennis Center Costa Navarino, Navarino Golf Academy, Navarino Outdoors, Pilates by Mandy, Red Swim Academy, Swim O’ Clock, Triantafyllidis Beach Arena were the event’s Athletic Partners.

Navarino Challenge was Assisted by Vita N Travel, Pylos Association of Enterprises for Tourism Development, and Rania’s Flower.

4on4-basketball by Angelos Zymaras

Sharing Is Caring has started

The charity activity of Navarino Challenge has already started, and more than 5,000 euros have already been collected since its inception. This year, the event contributes to society as a whole with the action of Sharing Is Caring. The items of the online sports auctions are given through Silent Auctions and the total amount collected will be given to the following 11 NGOs – CSR Partners: The Other Human, Alma Zois in Patras, the Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors in Oreokastro “ARSIS”, Doctors Without Borders, Dogs’ Voice, Humanity Greece, Karkinaki, the Association of Cancer Patients, Volunteers, Friends, Doctors “K.E.F.I.” of Athens, the Association of Parents of Children with Neoplastic Diseases of Northern Greece “LAMPSI”, the Association of Single Parent Families “STIRIZO”, the Parents Association of Children with Cancer “Floga”.

For more information:

Become a supporter of this effort:

The event was supported with special offers to participants by the following Discount Partners: Anazoe Spa, Apoella, Asoma, Attica Selections, AWAY Spa, Berytus, Biblioteca, Bio & Pharma, Ergon Amφora, Hams and Clams, KESSARIS, Kooc, LOL The Brand, Miele, MINCO souvlaki stories, Moraitis Watersports, Mouratoglou Tennis Center Costa Navarino, Nargile, Navarino Outdoors, Panellinios Agora Games, Souvlakerie, Tsami Eyewear Boutique.

Navarino Challenge was held Under the Auspices of the Greek Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization.

The event joined the Greek actions of the #BeactiveHellas 2023 program of the European Commission which is held under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Sports.

The event was organized by ActiveMedia Group, which is also responsible for the event’s Sports Production.

The hashtag #navarinochallenge was a top trend during the three days with people uploading unique photos and videos from the activities of Navarino Challenge in Messinia.


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