Over 2,500 athletes have registered to take part in this year’s Malta Marathon which is being held on Sunday 26 February.
The event consists of three races - the Full Marathon, the Half Marathon and the Walkathon. But there will also be a 2km Fun Run along the Gzira-Sliema seafront for children and parents.
This 27th edition of the Malta Marathon is again being sponsored by Land Rover.
Other Official Partners to the 2012 Land Rover Malta Marathon are San Michel, Powerade, Urban Jungle and eworld while Bay Radio is again the official Radio Station.
This year’s Land Rover Malta Marathon is being dedicated to John Walsh, one of the co-founders of the Malta Marathon. John remained an active member of the Malta Marathon Organising Committee until his untimely death.
The sad news of his passing away sent shockwaves around the Maltese athletic community.
Since the inaugural Malta Marathon held in 1986, there has been a steady increase in the number of participants. From the initial 109 participants the number gradually rose to 1,000 in both the 2008 and 2009 editions of the Malta Marathon.
There was a sudden increase in 2010 when the number ballooned to 1,400. Despite the great increase the number again exploded to 2,200 in 2011. This year the number has again increased to 2,500 participants.
Despite there being a world recession we still managed to slightly increase the number of foreigners participating in the 2012 Land Rover Malta Marathon and this is at a time when the forecast for 2012 indicates fewer tourists coming to Malta than in 2011.
Charles Darmanin will again be participating. He is the only participant who has run and completed all 26 Malta Marathons, this will be his 27th.
All three events have a record number of entries, with all available places being taken up. There are 400 entries for the Full, 1,400 entries for the Half and 700 entries for the Walk.
Late entries (after the closing date) had to be refused.
The race that sees the most number of participants after the Land Rover Malta Marathon, is the Urban Jungle Mdina to Spinola 17km Christmas Road Race. Last December the event, which is also organised by the MMOC again saw a record field of 454 Maltese participants.
There are three confirmed invited African athletes. Morrocans Hajjy Mohamed and Kabbouri Abdelekrim, winner and runner-up respectively in the 2011 Land Rover Malta Marathon are returning and will be joined by Kenyan Sammy Kipkemboi Kiprotich.
All three athletes have run sub 2:20 Marathons. There will be at least two other participants who have run sub 2:25. Everything points to what could be the fastest marathon on our records, given ideal conditions on the day.
Johnathan Balzan who holds the National Best for the marathon, will be the Maltese front runner and favourite in the marathon.
Besides the usual trophies and awards being given to both the Marathon and Half Marathon, prize money is once again being given to the faster marathon runners. The amount is based on their finishing times.
Carol Walsh, wife of the late John Walsh and winner of new fewer than 15 Malta Half Marathon titles as applied to participate in the Half Marathon.
Inspire has been appointed as the Official Charity of the 27th Land Rover Malta Marathon. The MMOC urges participants to collect fund for this charity.
For the fifth consecutive year, chip timing will again be used to record the times and positions of the Land Rover Malta Marathon participants. This is a costly system which is being brought over from Italy each year, Italian personnel will be present to operate this system and to issue the final results.
The electronic chip will be attached to the running number of each athlete, the chip will be assigned with the data of the athlete wearing it.
The start and finish time of each athlete will be electronically registered as they cross the start and finish lines, the system will automatically work out their running time and position. This system is much less prone to errors than manual timing, which was used for the first 22 editions of the Malta Marathon.
Slight route change
There has been a slight change to the 2011 route. This change affects both the Marathon and Half Marathon in the same way. The routes will no longer pass from the narrow and rough lane in Nigret. Instead of turning left towards the lane, the route turns right towards the Mtarfa by-pass. The route still turns left into Triq Ghajn Kajjiet from Vjal il-Helsien before taking the right turn.
The reduced distance is made up later on by a detour through the core of Attard. The routes will no longer pass through Triq Nutar Zarb (so no worries of going too fast past the speed camera) but will pass through Triq Il-Kbira, Triq B’kara, Triq Karm Debono and Triq Il-Belt Valletta to end up in Triq Valletta near the Attard cemetery.
The organisers are asking bicycle owners not to accompany the participants, it is dangerous for themselves as well as for the participants. The roads will already be congested with the participants, let alone having bicycles manoeuvering around them. There is already the hazard of running among traffic, so everyone is urged to help keep the participants and themselves safe so as not to spoil anyone’s day.
Same goes for anyone thinking of participating with their child or pet.
Participants are liable to disqualification if accompanied by bicycles or if participating with a child or pet.
Five years ago we had the first three bands playing along the route. Since then we have increased the number each year and this year there will be 16 bands.
The start and finish will be the same for each event.
The 2012 Land Rover Malta Marathon will be over the classic distance of 42.2 km and will start at Mdina at 8am. The Walkathon will start at 8.30am and the Half Marathon will start at 10am.
The Sliema Ferries is probably the best location to have as the finish of this popular event. The location attracts a vast number of spectators, who with their applause and cheering, help the participants get through their last paces of their feat.The location also allows the participants to run the last 5km on flat ground whilst admiring the picturesque creeks of the Grand Harbour
The first athlete to arrive at the finish will do so at about 10.15am, with the last ones coming in at about 1pm.
All finishers within the allowable time limit of each respective event, will be given a specially minted medal as they cross the finish line. This is the last of many designs that John Walsh has blessed the Malta Marathon with for so many years. The medal has only been altered to include a tribute to him.
As already mentioned there will be a record number of Maltese participants, with 14 females and 61 males running the full marathon and a further 656 females and 784 males participating in the half marathon or walkathon.
The number of British participants has dropped slightly to 349, yet still retaining the lead for the third successive year as the nation with most foreign participants. The Germans remain in second place with 207 participants. The country with the next biggest contingent is Italy with 69 participants followed by France with 45, Japan with 42 and America with 30. The rest of the foreigners come from a variety of other countries, both within Europe and outside.
The presence of many foreign runners is made possible thanks to the promotional work done by the Malta Tourism Authority and the continued support it gives the Malta Marathon. The Malta Marathon Organising Committee would also like to specially thank the Honourable Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment for his continued support.
As in past years there will also be a 2 km Fun Run which starts from the Ferries at Sliema. Like last year, this year’s run is also open to parents rather than just children and should prove to be an enjoyable family activity. All finishers will receive a medal, refreshments and a goodie-bag. The run will start at 9.00 a.m. and is being co-ordinated by the enterprising athletic club Pembroke Athleta (tel: 21433452). Those who have not yet registered may call to register or may do so on the day before the Fun Run. It is anticipated that as in previous years, about 400 children will take part in this run.
Traffic control and road closures
No time and effort has been spared with Transport Malta, Arriva and the Police to ensure that participants can run safely with the least inconvenience to motorists and Arriva passengers. The organisers regret any inconvenience that may occur on the day, despite our efforts.
The Police Force and Local Wardens will be controlling traffic in various streets and roads along the Marathon and Half Marathon Routes. The public is invited to co-operate with directions given by them
Assistance from voluntary
The successful organisation of the Marathon depends upon the assistance of a considerable amount of organisations. The Attard Scouts, St Aloysius Scouts, B’Kara Scouts, Hamrun Scouts, Lyceum Scouts, Mosta Scouts, Marsa Scouts, Sliema Scouts, St. Venera Scouts, Zebbug Scouts provide marshals and man San Michel, Powerade and Sponge Stations.
First Aid is provided by St John Ambulance and the Malta Red Cross Society while the Ladies Running Club provides assistance at Registration.
A good number of individuals also contribute to the organisation of this international event.
Registration (during which runners will receive their race number and chip) will take place in the Urban Jungle outlet in Tigne Street, Sliema. Days and times for registration are the following:
Saturday 18 February from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Tuesday 21 February from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Wednesday 22 February from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Thursday 23 February from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Thursday 23 February from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Friday 24 February from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Saturday 25 February from 6pm to 9pm.