News | Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Land Rover sponsors Malta Marathon

The 24th edition of the Malta Marathon will be sponsored by Land Rover. As announced on the 18th July 2008, Land Rover will be sponsoring the Malta Marathon for the next 5 editions. This year the event will be known as “The 2009 Land Rover Malta Marathon”.
While Land Rover are the sole sponsors of the event, the complex nature of the marathon event requires the support of other brands and companies, which will be the Official Partners to the 2009 Land Rover Malta Marathon. These Partners are: San Michel, Powerade, Urban Jungle and eworld.
The marathon this year also has Bay Radio as its official radio station.
After last year’s all time record of 1,098 entries, this year we estimate to have the second highest number of participants with around 1,000 athletes.
The bad news is that the number of foreign participants has reduced from 700 to 500, a reduction of 200 athletes, this being in line with the current trend of visitors to our island. The good news is that we have 500 Maltese participants, a new record in this respect.
This confirms that once the current global crisis is over, the Malta Marathon has the potential of setting new participation records.
240 athletes will be running the 42.2 km of the full marathon and 760 will be running the 21.1 km of the half marathon.
The race that sees the most number of participants after the Land Rover Malta Marathon, is the Urban Jungle Mdina to Spinola 17km Xmas road race. This event which is also organised by the MMOC this year had a record field of 230 participants, all Maltese.

Online registration
Last November, the Malta Marathon Organising Committee successfully introduced the facility for participants to register for the 2009 Land Rover Malta Marathon over the internet. More than half of the participants made use of this facility, others registered in the more traditional way of sending in their application form through the post.
On-line registration makes it easier for participants to register for the event, we will surely see an increase in its usage over the coming years.
Chip timing
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 now 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 electronically be 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 then manual timing, which was used for the first 22 editions of the Malta Marathon and any other road race held in Malta.
Marathon officials will be stationed after the finish line to collect the chips from the athlete’s running numbers. Athletes not starting or finishing their race for whatever reason, are to hand over their chip to a marathon official, there is a €15 charge for chips not returned. A list of those chips not handed in will be published on the Malta Marathon website and on the website of TDS, the company supplying the equipment and service.

New routes for the 2009 Land Rover Malta Marathon and Half Marathon
Finding a marathon route in Malta that has, no hills, good roads, no traffic and incorporates a half marathon that shares the same start and finish, is probably impossible. If one does exist, then even after having changed the route several times over the past 24 years, we still have not found it.
The focus on changing the route this year was to reduce the traffic congestion, specifically in Qormi, Marsa and Pieta. The traffic congestion which is created to allow athletes passage could be a health and safety hazard to them as well as frustration to motorists.
The main changes are that instead of heading to Marsa from Zebbug and Qormi, the route will pass through Attard and the Mriehel by-pass. The route will then go down to Pieta from Sa’ Maison instead of Independence Road, this will allow the athletes to proceed directly on the water’s edge and they will not require to traverse Marina Road.
These changes are about 2 km shorter than the previous route, due to this we were constrained to make other changes to make up for this shortage. The changes here include, the exclusion of the Rabat to Dingli loop, an extension to the Attard to Mosta loop and longer distances in Ta’ Qali and Attard.

New routes but same start and finish
The start
The scenic walled city of Mdina and its surroundings have been found to be an ideal background for the Malta Marathon start and great efforts were made to retain the location.
The 2009 Land Rover Malta Marathon will be held on Sunday 1st March. The Marathon will be over the classic distance of 42.2 km and will start at Mdina at 8.00am. On the same day the Organising Committee will also hold a Half Marathon with a distance of 21.1 km, which will also start from Mdina, but at 10.00am.

The finish
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 1.00pm.
The 2009 Land Rover Malta Marathon will be held on Sunday 1st March. The Marathon will be over the classic distance of 42.2 km and will start at Mdina at 8.00am. On the same day the Organising Committee will also hold a Half Marathon with a distance of 21.1 km, which will also start from Mdina, but at 10.00am.

The 2009 Land Rover Malta Marathon and Half Marathon

Maltese Participation
As already mention there will be a record number of Maltese participants, with 9 females and 45 males running the full marathon and a further 100 females and 356 males running the half marathon.

Foreign Participation
The number of participating Germans has dropped from 300 to 160, there will be 150 British, 5 more than last year. There has been a significant drop in Americans, from 68 to 13, most Americans coming for the Malta Marathon usually come from Germany. It is therefore the German market that has greatly effected the numbers of foreign participation, there was also a slight reduction in other markets.
The MMOC believes that the Malta Marathon has potential to further increase foreign participation as there are numerous countries which we can exploit with advertising and enticing sports travel agents to bring over athletes for this event. Some European countries are not even represented by a single participant, whilst others are represented by a few individuals who hear of the Malta Marathon by chance and make their way here to participate under their own steam. Spain and France, 2 large countries which are close to Malta, have only 1 and 10 participants respectively!

MTA Assistance
The presence of foreign runners is made possible thanks mainly due to the promotional work done by the Malta Tourism Authority and the continued support they give to the Malta Marathon. The Malta Marathon Organising Committee would also like to specially thank the Honourable Parliamentary secretary for Tourism for his continued support.
Fun Run
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
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. The Malta Marathon Organising Committee acknowledges the fact that on Marathon day the presence of 1,000 runners will cause some inconvenience to motorists who habitually use roads that on Sunday 1st March will be taken up athletes. For this reason, motorists are being advised to avoid the roads listed below and to plan alternative routes.

Assistance from Voluntary Organisations
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, 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 Registration (during which runners will receive their race number and chip) will take place in the Land Rover showroom at Muscat Motors, Rue D’Argens, Gzira. Times for registration are the following:

Local runners: Saturday February 21 from 11.00am to 03.00pm.
Overseas runners: Thursday

February 26 from 5.00pm to 7.00pm.
Saturday February 28 from 5.00pm to 8.00pm.



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25 February 2009

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