Malta has over the years established itself as a popular destination for long-distance runners. The first edition of the La Valette Malta Marathon attracted a good number of foreign competitors. Mollie Millington was among the participants and shares her positive memories of the race…
One of the things I love about running is that it is easy to meet like-minded people.
Runners will always have something to talk about, whether it is shoes, snacks, training, or race experiences.
The other thing I love about running is that I can do it anywhere I go. All I need is a pair of sneakers. That is why I have combined my love of running with my love of travelling into a goal to run a race in every country and state I visit.
Before the travel bans due to COVID-19, I have been lucky enough to have 10 countries ticked off my list.
With the world opening again in 2022, I was thrilled to learn that Malta was hosting a brand-new race that included a lot of the island’s history along the route. Here is my suggested itinerary for a long weekend in Malta, with or without a race in your diary.
Malta is an ideal destination for a weekend away with your partner. There are many affordable flights from Europe on low-cost airlines, such as Air Malta.
Before you head to the airport for your trip to Malta, be sure you have packed sunscreen and hydration tablets.
The island’s sunny weather, which is part of the attraction, is not something to play around with.
If you are planning to spend a lot of time outdoors exploring the beaches, and of course, running, there is a risk of becoming dehydrated and sunburned. Add in a few celebratory drinks and it might end up as a disaster. There are plenty of shops so if you forget anything, you can easily find it.
On the days leading up to the race, try to stay off your feet.
One option is to take a boat cruise to Gozo and tour the country’s first craft brewery, Lord Chambray. You can then lay on the beach (but stay hydrated) and go open water swimming to get the body ready for what is to come on race day.
Gozo also has the world’s oldest free-standing temples of Ġgantija, which are a UNESCO world heritage site.
If you have another free day, head to Mdina, the silent city, and have a horse ride around town before enjoying lunch overlooking the view.
Malta is the perfect destination for foodies and Mdina has many different options. You could easily make your way around the city and have each course at a different restaurant. Don’t forget to have your picture taken at the main gate which was used in the television series Game of Thrones.
The inaugural La Valette Marathon in April 2022, started in Sliema and finished in Vittoriosa. The first wave of runners set off at 7am, in an attempt to beat the heat.
The start line overlooked the coast and the sunrise was a lovely way to wake up.
The course takes runners by several famous monuments and fortifications, as well as through the port.
Malta is known for its fantastic weather and a spring race will give you motivation to stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
After running 42 kilometres around Malta, you can recover by the hotel pool or go for an open water swim to help the body heal. In the evening, go out for freshly caught seafood and local wine to celebrate.
If you aren’t too tired, St Julian is the go-to place to party the night away.
The day after the race, you might want to visit one of the island’s many spas for a day of rest and relaxation or head back home.
If you are not interested in taking part in the race, take that day to go snorkelling or scuba diving. Malta is known for its wreck diving too. You can choose to dive straight from the shore or go out on a boat.
With or without running a marathon, Malta is an easy and affordable destination to spend a long weekend with your partner.
There is something for everyone, whether you enjoy spending time outdoors, eating local cuisine, dancing the night away or learning about local history.
You just need to go there and experience it for yourself.
The 2023 La Valette Marathon is taking place on February 5, 2023.
You can register as an individual or as a team relay for all the events that day (marathon, half marathon and walkathon). For more details on the race and registration interested runners can log onto https://corsa.mt or send a whatsapp message on 79979999.
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