The Żurrieq Half Marathon returns on the athletics calendar this month after an absence of two years as the 2020 and 2021 editions were not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s race is scheduled for Sunday, November 13 and race organisers have been boosted by the news that Express Trailers have again renewed their three-year sponsorship of the race for another three years.
“Express Trailers are delighted that for the third time, they are pledging their main sponsorship to this very popular race, which they have been supporting and watching its popularity grow for the past six editions,” a statement said.
This year’s event will mark the 23rd edition and this will effectively see Express Trailers supporting this race in the run up to its 25th edition in two years’ time.
“To be able to organise one of the best and most popular races in Malta, one needs a reliable and committed partner,” said Joe Micallef, who has been organising the event for Żurrieq Wolves Athletic Club since 2013.
“We have found this in Express Trailers who have believed in this event and have supported its growth from a small event that used to attract around 120 athletes to one which in 2019 saw its highest participation with around 1,300 athletes. Żż
“This had made it the third most popular race in Malta following the Malta Marathon and the Mdina 2 Spinola.”
Just over 800 athletes have applied to participate in the Express Trailers Żurrieq event – 300 of these for the half marathon and the remaining entries for the 10km run.
“Obviously, this is a far cry from the numbers we had registered in 2017, 2018 and 2019,” Micallef said.
“This decline in the number of road-running participants has been felt across the board not only due to COVID-19 but also because people have been moving on to different kinds of endurance events and also because of the inclusion of new races in an already overcrowded race calendar.
“Having said that, the numbers for the Express Trailers Żurrieq Half Marathon events are encouraging and surpass the numbers any other local road race.”
The Half Marathon starts is scheduled to start at 7am, the 10K at 7.30pm and this year, a 1.5k Children’s Race is being organised which will start at 9.30am.
The start and finish of all the three races will be in Triq Pietru Pawl Saydon, some 50m down from the Żurrieq Local Council offices.
With regards to the routes and logistics of the event, the organisers outlined that there have been changes to both the Half Marathon and 10K routes.
The 10Km run however, has seen the most changes since it will no longer head to the back roads of Żurrieq towards Safi but will take the Half Marathon route towards Qrendi and Mqabba.
And whilst the Half Marathon route will head to Ħal Far from Kirkop, the 10K will turn into Kirkop from near Kirkop cemetery.
After passing through Ħal Far and by the Malta International Airport, the Half Marathon will enter Kirkop at the same place as the 10K.
From there on, both races will follow the same route till the finish. So, both races will pass along the perimeter of Kirkop’s urban area.
Thereafter, another major change will take place for both races, instead of finishing through Mqabba and Qrendi the route for both races will take them along all of Triq Il-Belt Valletta and straight to Żurrieq, from where they will reach the finish line.
A detailed map showing both routes may be found online on the event’s website.
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