Over twenty countries to be represented
The SportMalta Charity Marathon and Half Marathon is set to welcome over 500 athletes representing 20 countries on Sunday.
The Marathon is scheduled to start from Mdina Gate in Rabat at 6.30am, whilst the Half Marathon will get under way at 7am from Mtarfa. Both races will finish at the Sliema Ferries.
In the full marathon, leading the Maltese field is race ambassador Andrew Grech.
Grech will be racing his seventh marathon on local soil and has produced his best finish time in 2017 when he clocked 2:28.16.
A Maltese runner out to give Grech a good run for his money is Alan Camilleri, who has been producing some solid results of late, with a time of 2.35 in the recently held Valencia Marathon.
Notable names joining the fray are the Galea brothers – David and Johan, as well as Christopher Fenech to mention a few.
Interestingly, the oldest marathon participant is Italian Antonio Grotto, who at 71 years of age will be running his 998th marathon.
This is the second time Grotto will race in Malta. In 2016 he ran his 800th marathon on the island.
The Half-Marathon promises to be a strongly fought contest with some of the most well-known runners on the list.
Dillon Cassar, current national half marathon record holder, is one of the favourites but must contend with runners that include Gozitan trio Charlton Debono, Stephen Azzopardi and Matthew Xuereb, as well as Christopher Micallef and Matthew Borg.
Double GSSE gold medal winner and race ambassador Lisa Bezzina is one of the race favourites in the women’s race.
Bezzina, who recently ran her first marathon in Valencia and registered the third-best time for any Maltese female athlete, also holds the half marathon national record of one hour 17 minutes and seven seconds.
Bezzina will be out for a win and possible improvement on her time though she faces a tough ride from Roberta Schembri.
“The SportMalta Charity Marathon is all about providing runners, who have spent months training for this event, with a race,” Mark Cutajar, SportMalta CEO said.
“The changes made to the route take into consideration the infrastructural changes that have taken place on the previous route but more importantly were done to ensure that athletes run a safe race.
“The past three weeks have been marked with intense activity from the various stakeholders involved in the project. I am confident that the expertise brought together will provide a highly positive race experience for everyone involved.”
The route has been measured by an Athletics Malta appointed measurer and follows all the necessary guidelines to ensure the recognition of any records established.
The SportMalta Charity Marathon is being organised in collaboration with Transport Malta and under the auspices of Athletics Malta.
All proceeds from the race will be donated to the Malta Community Chest Fund.
In a statement, the organisers appealed to the public to follow traffic deviations and to support the athletes along the route.