GLENDALE—Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter hosted a Meet and Greet event on May 23 for the only Armenian-American and female ultra-marathoner Telma Ghazarian Altoon. The recognition event was in collaboration with the Armenian Hikers Association, which is sponsoring Telma’s upcoming unprecedented 178 miles run “Janapar Trail” between Vardenis in Armenia to Hadrut in Artsakh. The run is the equivalent of 7 marathons and she’ll be running to raise funds for AHA-Armenia’s “Armenian Highland Trails Project” which will enhance and improve the ecotourism for Armenia.
The evening began with the opening remarks of Master of Ceremonies Arick Gevorkian, who welcomed the attendees, AHA and community members and acknowledged the support of local media and their representatives from AABC TV, Best TV, Horizon, USA Armenian Life and Pan Armenian TV.
Gevorkian provided a snippet of Homenetmen’s worldwide legacy and mission and Ararat chapter’s service to the community for the past 39 years. He later introduced Consul Armella Shakaryan from the Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles whom praised the efforts of Telma in enhancing the ecotourism in Armenia and presented her with a certificate of recognition.
“It was a natural decision for our chapter when one of our longtime devotees Armik Ebrahimian recommended to recognize a superhuman and extraordinary individual whom in the eyes of many professionals has achieved the unbelievable. So with the collaboration of AHA and a few other volunteers, we are honored to have an extraordinary athlete, mother of two, professional, entrepreneur, an ultra-marathoner and most importantly a dedicated compatriot, Telma Ghazarian Altoon” remarked Arick Gevorkian.
After presenting Telma’s impressive track record, bio, education and profession, Telma took the podium to take all her supporters, family, AHA and crew including Hans Keifer and Aharon Khachateryan on bicycle, as well as other support vehicles and drivers along the rugged trail form Vardenis to Hudrut. The 80 plus attendees were eager to ask questions about the route, her mindset, nourishment, challenges and logistics regarding the 3 day run and hike in June. “I am running to fund-raise for AHA-Armenia and contribute to the trail building projects they have undertaken,” commented Telma. “It’s my way of giving back to my nation. I have ran ultras and marathons all over the world, except in my motherland. It’s finally time for me to pour my sweat and tears on our soil.” Telma runs 80, 100, 150 and beyond miles on the mountains mostly nonstop without sleeping…… and always with the tri-color “YERAGUYN” on her jersey.
AHA representative Robert Assarian presented Telma, Hans and Aharon with special jerseys for the trip and offered details of the logistics and planning for this upcoming run/hike on June 8.
On behalf of Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter, longtime member and organizer Armik Ebrahimian presented Telma with a special plaque and certificate of recognition and an Ararat athletic duffel bag to accompany her during the run.
The evening’s setup, beautiful arrangements with Armenian themes, food and beverage were supplied by AHA and Homenetmen Ararat volunteers/members and the attendees had the opportunity to offer their support to Telma and her team for this trailblazing endeavor. Thank you to our chapter’s CMAP Dept. (Marketing & PR) for their support and coverage of the successful event.