Michalis Kalomiris is a lawyer in Greece, who just happens to include long-distance running as one of his hobbies outside the office. So imagine his surprise when he found out that he had somehow qualified to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics
Kalomiris competed in the 2015 Rome Marathon, which is classified as a Gold Label race by the International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF). Although his finish time (2:29:30) was too slow for automatic qualification, the rules state that anyone who finished in the top ten can still qualify. Kalomiris finished eighth.
Amazingly, no one bothered to tell him about the once-in-a-lifetime chance. He found out when he was looking online at a list of every Greek athlete attending the Games and stumbled upon his own name. The 30-year old decided to head to Rio and give it his best shot, despite having to compete against professional long distance runners.
“I would like to think that this story makes everyone involved in running believe more in themselves and keep up the effort,” Kalomiris said, according to Greek publication Ekathimerini.
The Olympic marathon takes place August 21, but Kalomiris isn’t expected to compete for a medal. The winning time will probably somewhere in the 2:00:00-to-2:10:00 range, roughly 20 minutes faster than Kalomiris’ time in the Rome Marathon.