BOSTON – How many people does it take to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon?
In the case of a State House fete, held days before the 114th running of the Boston Marathon, the answer would be: 70 Girl Scouts from Hopkinton, 71 runners from Greece, the governor, some legislators, the mayor of Marathon and a Greek-speaking aide to U.S. Sen. Scott Brown with the last name of Coakley.
The celebration, organized by the Hopkinton Girl Scouts, was part of the ramp up to Marathon Monday and included discussions of Hopkinton’s relationship with its sister city of Marathon, the close ties runners feel with Hopkinton residents and the pure joy of running.
Among the celebration’s participants were Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, Sen. Karen Spilka of Ashland, Rep. Carolyn Dykema of Holliston and Spyridon Zagaris, the mayor of Marathon.
“Everyone runs for a reason,” said Meghan Krueger, a Girl Scout who shared the story of her long recovery after breaking her hip while trying to set a personal record by running a five-minute mile.
“As for me, initially I ran for the sheer love of it,” said Krueger, who’ll be watching from the starting line Monday in Hopkinton.
The Greek runners arrived Wednesday and are staying with Hopkinton families during their visit.
Greek runner Markos Tountas of Tripoli said he enjoyed the event, but was looking forward to time to resting before the race, which will be his sixth.
Is he nervous?
“No, because I’ve run a lot of marathons. When you start a marathon, you forget everything,” Tountas said.
When Zagaris, the Marathon mayor, visited with Girl Scouts after the event, a show of friendship nearly became an international incident when Corey Gaston, 15, tried to show him the many badges covering her Girl Scout sash. The mayor thought she was giving it to him, and started to take it from her.
Corey relinquished the sash and posed for a picture with the mayor.
“He’s very nice,” Gaston said. “Hopefully he’ll come back next year with his own sash,” Gaston said.
“We’ll give him one,” she added.
The mayor, speaking in Greek as a friend translated, said he thought the occasion was fantastic.
Zargaris said the city of Marathon symbolizes peace and love between nationalities. He said he is excited to watch the race, adding that the important part isn’t finishing, but participating and trying to finish.
Many Girl Scouts said they look forward to the event every year and will be in the midst of the controlled chaos Monday morning.
“You can’t really do anything else that day,” said Brooke O’Brien, 17, a senior at Hopkinton High School.
Spilka called the event terrific.
“My only regret was that I couldn’t speak more Greek,” she said during the reception, which featured baklava and Girl Scout cookies.
Maria Coakley, an aide to U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, came to Boston to attend the event on the senator’s behalf.
Speaking in Greek, she wished the runners good luck and said the senator, a triathlete himself, was sad he couldn’t attend.
Hopkinton Selectmen R.J. Dourney and Brian Herr also attended.
“The Girl Scouts did a wonderful job organizing everything and making the runners from Greece feel welcome,” Dourney said.