Three Members of Leadership 100 Complete Boston Marathon in Extreme Weather

Jim Pantelidis, right, and Mike Manatos, left, crossing the Boston Marathon finish line in the same jersey worn by 1946 Boston Marathon champion Stylianos Kyriakides.

Three members of Leadership 100, Jim Pantelidis, a member of the Board of Trustees, Mike Manatos, a member of the Executive Committee and George Sakellaris, a long-time member, completed the Boston Marathon on April 16, 2018 in what many called the worst weather in the 122-year history of the race -- wind chill of 26 degrees, hard rain the entire race and headwinds gusting to 35 miles per hour. More than 30,000 amateur and professional runners from all over the world compete in the Boston Marathon each year, braving the hilly Massachusetts terrain and varying weather, and the event attracts over 500,000 spectators, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event.

Pantelidis, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February of last year, not only vowed to beat cancer, but he vowed to run the following year the world’s oldest and best-known marathon - the Boston Marathon. He did just that, only 4 months after his last chemo treatment and a cancer-free diagnosis, and several months shy of his 65th birthday.  It was the 15th marathon for the man affectionately known as the “marathon man.” 

Pantelidis and  Manatos, his running mate, drew inspiration from several historic, heroic Greek marathoners: the first marathoner, Pheidippides (in 490 BC); the first Olympic marathon champion, Spyridon Louis (in 1896) - the Boston Marathon was inspired by this first marathon and began the year after (in 1897) - and most directly by the winner of the 1946 Boston Marathon, Stylianos Kyriakides.

Just days before the race, the pair met in Boston the grandchildren of Kyriakides - Maria Contos and George Contos.  Together they watched the presentation of the golden olive wreaths, flown in from Marathon, Greece, to the head of the Boston Marathon in the Massachusetts State Hall at an event hosted by the Alpha Omega organization in Boston.  Each year since 1984, these wreaths crown the male and female winners of the Boston Marathon.  They also met at this event Nick Tsiotis, the author “Running with Pheidippides: Stylianos Kyriakides, the Miracle Marathoner.”  They were also presented with a replica of the exact jersey Kyriakies wore when he won the 1946 Boston Marathon and wore this jersey as they ran Boston.

Mike Manatos and Jim Pantelidis with the grandchildren of Stylianos Kyriakides, Maria and George Contos, and the golden wreaths flown in from Greece to crown the winners of the Boston Marathon.

Jim Pantelidis and Mike Manatos running with Pantelidis’ daughter Marianna who ran the last 7 miles of the Boston Marathon with them.

In November of last year, Pantelidis’ daughter Marianna ran the New York City Marathon to honor her father and to raise funds for Project Purple, which works to find a cure for Pancreatic Cancer and improve the lives of patients through support, hope and compassion.  She raised over $22,000.  For the Boston Marathon Pantelidis ran and raised funds for both Project Purple and Cops for Kids with Cancer.

George Sakellaris running the Boston Marathon.

George Sakellaris giving commencement speech at Northeastern University College of Engineering, where he spoke of the challenge in running the Boston Marathon.

George Sakellaris ran the 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon for the seventh time as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) team, raising more than $100,000 from friends and family. Last year, he raised over $85,000 to help fund critical cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. DFMC uses 100 percent of the funds it raises to support the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber. The Barr Program helps advance the work of gifted researchers in their mission to transform cancer treatment. Thanks to the Barr Program, scientists at the leading edge of discovery have made numerous breakthroughs that have increased survival rates and improved the quality of life for thousands of patients.

George and Cathy Sakellaris at the Northeastern University College of Engineering Commencement.

In a commencement speech at the Northeastern University College of Engineering Commencement, his alma mater, on May 2,  Sakellaris spoke of his experience at the Boston Marathon as one of the great challenges of his life. He told the graduating class that he decided to run the marathon when he turned 70 the year before and trained vigorously for months up to a few days before the race when the weather turned bad. Hundreds of runners withdrew, but despite pleas from his family, he decided to go ahead with the run. During the run, he experienced severe leg cramps and pain and sheer exhaustion but was determined to reach his goal of completing the race in five hours. Soaked to the bone, he ran against headwinds and through puddles and completed the race in four hours and 59 minutes, just one minute short of his goal. At that point in his narration, Sakellaris received applause, but he went on to the moral of the story, telling the new graduates:


“ I put one foot in front of the other and kept going. No matter what it is, you can do it if you stick with it. You make the decision of whether you can do it or not. Whether it is running the marathon, starting a business or fixing a problem, you must persevere. Perseverance is not a mystical thing, nor does it depend on your being a special person. It is a test of strength and will power. It is the decision you make.”

Pantelidis is Co-Founder, along with his brothers George and Peter, of Pan-Brothers Associates, Inc. in New York, which offers full real estate development, management and brokerage services.  Manatos is Vice President of Manatos & Manatos, a public affairs/public policy firm in Washington, D.C. Sakellaris is the President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC), a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company headquartered in Framingham, MA. 

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