By David Owen

olympic-torch-relay-map-2014-SOCHI1October 8 - Sochi 2014 has unveiled a dauntingly ambitious route for the Winter Games Torch Relay that will take the Olympic Flame on a marathon 65,000 kilometre journey encompassing Kaliningrad in the west and Vladivostok in the east.

The Relay is due to start on October 7, 2013, when the flame is kindled at Olympia, the Torch will travel through all 83 Russian regions, visiting 2,900 towns and settlements and passing through the hands of some 14,000 Torchbearers.

The Relay will last 123 days, with plans being laid to take the Torch into space, as well as to Mount Elbrus, Europe's highest mountain, and to Baikal, the world's deepest lake.

Such are the logistics of what will be the longest Torch Relay in the history of the Winter Olympics – in what, after all, is by far the world's biggest country – that as many as 30,000 volunteers are expected to participate.

A staggering 535km will need to be travelled on average – on foot, and by car, train, plane and traditional Russian troika – every day while the Relay is in progress – and much of this in the thick of a Russian winter.

According to Sochi 2014, the route was designed to "try and ensure that 90 per cent of Russia's population will be within an hour of the Relay at some stage".

Sochi 2014_Torch_Relay_mapIt is estimated that the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay will pass within 90 per cent of Russia's population

This should, it said, "allow about 130 million residents to be able to see and participate in the event".

Dmitry Chernyshenko (pictured top, left), Sochi 2014's President and chief executive, said: "The Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most important and magical Olympic occasions.

"It continues the build-up of excitement ahead of the well as spreading the Olympic values to the whole country.

"The Sochi 2014 Relay will bring the entire country together, highlighting the diversity and beauty of Russia, particularly, for the people of Russia themselves."

The Relay will have three sponsors or "presenting partners": Coca-Cola, Ingosstrakh Insurance and JSC Russian Railways.

Ingosstrakh acted as general insurer for the Moscow 1980 Olympics.

JSC is one of the world's biggest rail companies, carrying a billion passengers and over 1.2 million tonnes of freight a year.

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