The Malta Independent 7 December 2022, Wednesday
View E-Paper

33rd Malta marathon attracts around 5,000 participants

Thursday, 15 February 2018, 12:51 Last update: about 6 years ago

Report: Henry Brincat



The 33rd Malta Marathon, which is being sponsored once again by Vodafone, has attracted the participation of around 5,000 athletes.

It is to be staged on Sunday 25 February, starting from Mdina at 7.30am (full marathon) and 9.15am (half marathon) and finishing at The Ferries in Sliema.

Addressing the press yesterday morning, race director Joe Micallef said the Malta Marathon now has three established events taking place on the same morning. These are the Full Marathon, the Half Marathon and the Walkathon. Effectively the latter is part of the Half Marathon as the distance and all regulations are the same as those of the Half Marathon. The Walkathon will start at the same time as the Half Marathon, with the Walkathon participants starting behind the Half Marathon participants.

Around 2,000 will be local runners, while the foreigners this year amount to around 3,000 - a record number for the local event.

He added that so far there are 970 entries for the Full Marathon and over 3,700 for the Half Marathon - 600 of the latter will be taking part in the Walkathon.

As for the Maltese, the number of participants is slightly less than that of last year. 17 Maltese females and 85 males have applied for the Full Marathon whilst 709 females and 1,151 males have applied for the Half Marathon or Walkathon.


 Foreign participants

Micallef said the increase in the overall number of participants has come about thanks to a 19.5% increase in the number of  foreigners.

The British as for the 9th consecutive year have the greatest contingent with 724participants. The Italians have the 2nd greatest number of participants with 519, followed by the Germans with 249, the Polish with 152 and the French with 149.

The other countries with the larger numbers are Greece with 78, Sweden with 73, Japan with 72, Ireland with 61, Slovenia with 54, Belgium 44, Hungary 43, Belarus with 38, Austria and Russia with 37 and Spain with 36.

These are followed by a string of other nationalities with a substantial amount coming from far off countries like the USA, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It is worth nothing that quite a good number of participants are coming from various East European countries.


Marathon Race favourites

The race director said six-time winner Mohamed Hajjy will be amongst the favourites to win the Marathon. Hajjy holds the course record of 2:16:06.

But Kenyan Henry Kipsang could make it difficult to Hajjy to retain the title. He has a personal best of 2:15:13 and this should make him Hajjy's main rival but there will also be a handful of other Moroccans battling it out for the podium places.

Nicolina Sustic who has a personal best of 2:42 is the favourite to win the females title. Nicola had won the 2016 Vodafone Malta Marathon in 2:50:26.

The Maltese male favourite for the full marathon this year is considered to be Andrew Grech but Jonathan Balzan should also make his presence felt. Both have won the Maltese title on a number of occasions. There will also be a couple of other foreigners who could also set a fast time.

Josann Attard Pulis will hope to be the first Maltese female in the Full Marathon for the 5th consecutive time.

For the Half Marathon Charlton Debono is top favourite to win the Maltese title and will be in the running for the overall title with a few other foreigners, in particular Fabian Downs from Switzerland. Lisa Bezzina who is having her best year yet is firm favourite to be the first Maltese and with be battling it out with Britain Helena Eastham.


Routes unchanged from last year

Micallef confirmed the route for both the Marathon and Half Marathon will be the same as those used for the 2017 Vodafone Malta Marathon.

After leaving Rabat, the Marathon will pass by Mtarfa, Ta' Qali, Attard, Mosta, back through Ta' Qali and Attard, Mriehel by-pass, Qormi, Marsa, Blata l-Bajda, Floriana, Pieta, Msida, Ta' Xbiex, Gzira and Sliema.

The Half Marathon and Walkathon will bypass the centre of Rabat and exit Rabat earlier and will follow the same route but skip the Ta' Qali, Attard, Mosta, Ta' Qali loop.


Traffic Control and Road Closures

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 the Police and Wardens and are also asked to avoid roads that will be used by the athletes.

Motorists are advised to avoid the roads listed below and to plan alternative routes.

Ta' Qali and all surrounding roads 0800 to 1045; Marsa to Blata Bajda 0930 to 1230;

Attard, most of this village will be affected 0830 to 1130; Hamrun to Blata Bajda 0930 to 1300;

Mriehel By-pass to Marsa 0900 to 1200; Pieta, Msida, Gzira and Sliema waterfronts 0930 to 1330.              

Nesquik Fun Run

As in past years, there will also be a 2 km Nesquik 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 9am 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 650 children will take part in this run.


Commemorative medal

All finishers within the allowable time limit of each respective event, will be given a specially minted medal as they cross the finish line. The design of this year's medal was created with the help of John Zammit AKA Flash. The medal depicts Mdina, the site from where many of the Malta Marathons have started.



Registration during which participants will collect their bib race pack which includes their race number, timing chip, T-shirt and the official race magazine will take place at the Vodafone Destination Store and at the Le Méridien, St Julians Hotel & Spa on the following days and times:

Local participants                                         

Vodafone Destination Store W. Business Centre, Triq Dun Karm Psaila, Birkirkara

Saturday February 17th from 1600 to 1930.

Sunday            February 18  from 1600 to 1930.

Tuesday February 20 from 1900 to 2130.

WednesdayFebruary21 from 1900 to 2130.


Overseas participants                                               

Le Méridien St Julians Hotel & Spa, 39, Main Street, Balluta Bay, St Julian's

Thursday February 22 from 1900 to 2130.     

Friday February 23 from 1800 to 2130.

Saturday February24 from 1600 to 2130.



Sponsor and Official Partners

While Vodafone is the sole sponsor of the event, Micallef revealed that the Official Partners are San Michel, Powerade, Urban Jungle and Fitness.


Bay Radio is again the official Radio Station, Mapfre the official insurer, DHL the official logistics partner whilst Jaguar is the official car for the 2018 Vodafone Malta Marathon. DHL will again be providing every finisher with a foil blanket to keep them warm as they finish.


Official Charity

Inspire has been appointed by the organizers as the Official Charity of the 2018 Vodafone Malta Marathon. The Malta Marathon Organising Committee urges participants to collect funds for this charity.


Assistance from Voluntary Organisations

The successful organisation of the Marathon depends upon the assistance of a considerable number of organisations. The Attard Scouts, St Aloysius Scouts, Hamrun Scouts, Lyceum Scouts, Mosta Scouts, Marsa Scouts, Stella Maris Scouts, St. Venera Scouts, Zebbug Scouts and Inspire provide marshals and man the San Michel, Powerade and Sponge Stations along the route.

First Aid is provided by St John Ambulance and the Malta Red Cross Society.


Kim Dalli, Corporate Affairs Senior Executive, Vodafone Malta, also addressed those present, saying that Vodafone, is proud to be sponsoring the Malta Marathon for the 5thtime, helping enable this fantastic platform to allow people to chase their dreams into a happier and fitter future.

She said that once again this year, in collaboration with GiG, Vodafone will be offering the possibility for all participants to have professional photos of their run or walk uploaded to Facebook live, with statistics measuring their progress such as average time per kilometre and elapsed time from race start. The participants only need to log on to, enter their bib number and follow the instructions on screen.

A number of photographers will be stationed at different strategic points along the route who will be snapping photographs of every participant as they pass by. These, in turn, will be uploaded live to the individual Facebook timeline of each and every runner through Vodafone's 4G+ network.

On to the day of the Marathon itself, Vodafone is inviting members of the public to join the fun and support the participants at the Sliema Ferries finish line where they will be distributing gifts to help cheer the participants as they cross the finish line. 

  • don't miss