On March 17th 2019 Paphos hosted 21 Logicom Cyprus Marathon, a tremendous sport event, which included marathon (42,195 км), half-marathon (21,097 км) distances, 10k road race and 5k fun run. This event united 3,500 runners from 50 countries of different age groups, hobbies and professions, buzzing with excitement and trying to beat the buck fever. They were driven by their own motivation, target and unbroken flow of thoughts in their head.
Along with others Boris Kirillov from Moscow toed the starting line. He arrived purposely in Paphos to mark his 84th birthday with the 10k race.
For a good reason he’s got his nickname “Famous Boris” as he has a vast experience of participating in the international skiing and triathlon races, has numerous sport and champion titles (Master of Sport of the USSR (cycling), Master of Sport of Russia (skiing), multiple World and Europe champion in triathlon and almost 300 medals.
The story of each award is unique, as well the lifestory of their owner, and it was a sheer luck and pure enjoyment for me, as a big sport fan, to hear them personally from the living legend.
Sipping aromatic coffee, tenderly brewed by grandmaster himself, I hung on his every word, trying to remember his insightful tips, the brightest memories of his sport and travelling experience.
Boris Kirillov was born in Moscow on March 26, 1935. When at school he enjoyed athletics and gymnastics. Once young Boris saw a man skiing in the park near his house and decided immediately to try himself in it. This is how his big love for sport started.
After school Boris entered the faculty of construction in Moscow University of Transport (MIIT) with the classmate. However, his friend failed, and they went to Belarus to study at the Railway Transport Institute. There he met his would-be wife, who he has been married to for over 60 years. Being an incurable romantic at heart, Boris even now gazes at her fondly and says: ‘My Vanda is unique’. This marvellous couple has two sons and six grandchildren.
After study Boris and Vanda went to the North, that ‘unknown place with the great future’, but soon came back to Moscow. They happened to live in Kamchatka, where Boris designed and constructed industrial and civil facilities. Kamchatka left indelible impressions, bringing thoughts of the “spectacular region with its pristine nature and sacred places veiled with mysteries and legends”. Having visited Japan, they found it “very indigenous, with hospitable and friendly people”.
From 1973 to 1996 Boris Kirillov served as a Deputy Chief in the Head Office of the Ministry of Defense Industry of the USSR.
Nevertheless, wherever they happened to live and work, Boris was always engaged in sport activities: mountain skiing in Kamchatka, cycling in Moscow.
In 1996 Boris Kirillov retired but continued to embrace sport and healthy lifestyle. In 2006, following his friends’ advice, he took part in Championship of Russia on triathlon (1,5km swimming, 40km cycling, 10km running), having taken his silver medal. A year later, he became a champion, holding this title up to the present moment.
This championship was followed by many more other cross-country skiing races in 15 countries, hosting the tournaments, where Boris demonstrated the results of a champion and set his foot on a podium.
Each tournament for Boris is special and memorable. He took part twice in the longest 90km marathon in Sweden, covered the most challenging marathon in France, where the track provided the skiers with the 9km uphill, and managed to finish the most extraordinary one in Norway. According to the legend of the Norwegian race, it took the skiers 54 km from Rena to Lillehammer to rescue the one-year-old Norwegian king, Håkon Håkonsson, in a small backpack. Thus, every participant is required to carry a backpack that weighs at least 3.5 kg as a symbol of the tiny king.
By travelling and competing in international events Boris made a lot of friends around the globe, while socializing both during the tournaments and after them. ‘I met Harold at the ski marathon, who was amazed with my athletic skills. He served in Vietnam as a military pilot. Now he’s retired but goes in for sport as well as me. Our friendship never ended after the marathon and I was lucky to be invited to spend several days at his place in Indianapolis, USA’- tells the grandmaster heartily about his friend.
Every athlete, whether a professional or an amateur, may have the individual approach in the physical and psychological preparation for the race. Boris admits that sport “is not a tool to escape from the problems but solve them while running”.
Many people are curious how he trains to achieve those fantastic results, but the Ironman’s secret is simple: a balanced set of physical exercises with rest and recovery. Together with his wife Boris works a lot in his garden where they grow over 200 plants brought from various corners of the world. This is his workout. As a part of his guidance to those who have just taken up triathlon he recommends to focus more on improving skills in their weak discipline rather than practicing one, where the athlete feels strong and confident.
Boris looks with optimism and endearing smile into the future, while building plans for the new starts of the coming season…
It was a lovely day outside, with the cloudless sky and the mild sun giving the feeling of comfort after the endless rainy days. Birds were twittering, the light breeze delivered the delicate aroma from the bouquet of the brightly coloured flowers on the table, adding those accents to the feeling of spring in the room. Over the pleasant talk we hardly noticed how quickly the time had flown and I had to leave.
We made some photos, exchanged hugs suggesting meeting up soon again when Famous Boris comes back to Paphos to relax from a big city life and write his name into the story of the big sport events of Cyprus!
Championship of Russia -1 place (2006-2014)
Europe Championship – Turkey – 1 place (2013)
World Championship- Austria- 3 place (2014)
World Championship- Australia- 4 place (2009)
World Championship- England- 3 place (2013)