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Malta International Challenge Marathon passes baton to Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club

Posted By Sportinmalta On February 21, 2016 @ 2:20 pm In Athletics,Featured,Other | No Comments

Note:This article has been published in both English and Maltese

Nota:Dan l-artiklu ġie miktub bl-Ingliż u bil-Malti

Gavin Muscat

Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, which celebrated forty years of sport in 2015, has taken over the baton of the Malta International Challenge Marathon marking a new chapter since its inception back in 1991.
For the past twenty-five years, the Malta International Challenge Marathon, the brainchild of Barry Whitmore, has been Malta’s only multiday race, a staple event on the Maltese athletic calendar, attracting locals and foreigners alike. Spread over a period of three consecutive days, athletes cover a distance which measures exactly 42.195km.

This race has attracted well known local athletes such as Keith Galea, Jonathan Balzan, Brian Magri, Andrew Grech, Charlton Debono, Joe Pace, Joelle Cortis, Josann Attard Pulis, Carol Walsh and Carmen Hili as well as David Mansbridge from England to mention a few. The introduction of relay teams saw a new influx of runners who wanted to be part of this event but not necessarily wanting to cover the marathon distance.

The increase in interest and participation saw race founder Barry Whitmore feel the need to pass on the helm to Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club who have garnered years of experience in race organization and whose experience could lead to this event becoming even more prominent on the map of world marathon running.

The Club has announced some further changes to the structure of this race which will make the race accessible to wider spectrum of athletes without the need of them taking part in the full marathon distance yet at the same time enabling them to compete in standard and officially recognised distances.

“We acknowledge the fact that running a marathon is not everyone’s cup of tea, however we appreciate the interest this race generates in the athletic community thus we felt it appropriate to make changes which will encourage more athletes to be part of this event, the one of its kind in Malta” said Ray Grech, President of Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club. “Barry Whitmore has created an original event and has put in a lot of energy and effort into it since its inception and we at the Club feel a huge responsibility to grow and develop this race further”.

As of 2016, the Malta International Challenge Marathon will see a change in distances covered per day as well as a global change in race venues. The Marathon will kick off on Friday 25th November with a 10 mile (16k) race to be held in Siggiewi, the next stage held on Saturday 26th November in Marsascala consisting of a 5k race and the third and final leg will be a 21km (half marathon) race on Sunday 27th November in Bugibba. Athletes can sign up for the full distance, or any of the three distances individually or as a relay team of three with each member of the team undertaking one day each.

“After careful consideration, I felt the need to pass on the baton to an organization that can help grow what was incepted twenty-five years ago. This race has a lot of potential for growth and I feel that Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club has the necessary expertise and structure to do this”, said Barry Whitmore, Founder of the Malta International Challenge Marathon. “I am thoroughly grateful to all those who over the past twenty-five years have contributed toward the success of this Race from athletes, volunteers, officials and authorities.”

Barry Whitmore will be joining the organizing team which is currently finalizing details prior to the official launch of 2016 Malta International Challenge Marathon.

Barry Whitmore ser jingħaqad mat-tim organizzattiv li bħalissa qed jiffinalizza d-dettalji qabel it- tnedija uffiċjali tal-2016 Malta International Challenge Marathon.

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Malti

Kapitlu gdid għal Malta International Challenge Marathon meta il-Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club tieħu f’idejha l-organizazzjoni tagħha. 

Birkirkara Saint Joseph Sports Club, li ċċelebrat erbgħin sena fl’ isport fl-2015, ħadet f’idejha l-organizzazjoni tal-Malta International Challenge Marathon hekk kif gie immarkat kapitlu ġdid minn meta din tnehdit fl-1991.

Għall-aħħar ħamsa u għoxrin sena, il-Malta International Challenge Marathon, idea originali ta’ Barry Whitmore, kienet l-unika tellieqa mifruxa fuq iktar min gurnata wahda f’Malta, u li saret wahda mit-tlielaq fissi fil-kalendarju tal-atletika u li kienet tattira kemm atleti Maltin kif ukoll barranin.  Mifruxa fuq perjodu ta’ tlett ijiem konsekuttivi, l-atleti jkopru distanza ta’ maratona, eżattament 42.195 kilometru.

Dan it-tellieqa ġibdet atleti magħrufin, ftit minnhom bħal Keith Galea, Jonathan Balzan, Brian Magri, Andrew Grech, Charlton Debono, Joe Pace, Joelle Cortis, Josann Attard Pulis, Carol Walsh u Carmen Hili kif ukoll David Mansbridge mill-Ingilterra. L-introduzzjoni ta ‘timijiet relay rat influss ġdid ta’ atletli li riedu jkunu parti minn dan l-avveniment, iżda mhux neċessarjament xtaqu ikopru d-distanza ta’maratona.

Iż-żieda fl-interess u l-parteċipazzjoni raw il-fundatur Barry Whitmore jħoss l-ħtieġa li jgħaddi it-tmun u it-tmexxija ta’din it-tellieqa lill-organizzazzjoni bhal Birkirkara Saint Joseph Sports Club li issa ġemgħat snin ta’ esperjenza fl-organizzazzjoni ta’ tlielaq ta certu kobor u kwalita.  L-esperjenza tagħhom ser tkun tista’ twassal sabiex il-Malta International Challenge Marathon isir saħansitra iktar prominenti fuq il-mappa dinjija tal-maratoni.

Il-Klabb ħabbar ukoll li ser ikun hemm xi bidliet oħra fl-istruttura tat-tellieqa. Dan it-tibdil se jagħmel  it-tellieqa iktar aċċessibbli għal firxa ikbar ta’ atleti mingħajr il-ħtieġa li jieħdu sehem fid-distanza ta’ maratona sħiħa. Id-distanzi ser ikunu distanzi rikonoxxuti uffiċjalment mill-ghaqdiet internazzjonali tal-atletika.

“Aħna jirrikonoxxu l-fatt li maratona mhux għal kulħadd, iżda napprezzaw l-interess li din it-tellieqa tiġġenera fil-komunità atletika għalhekk ħassejna li jkun xieraq li jsiru bidliet li jinkoraġġixxu aktar atleti jkunu parti minn dan l-avveniment, l-unika waħda ta’ din ix-xorta f’Malta ” stqarr  Ray Grech , President tal-Birkirkara Saint Joseph Sports Club. “Barry Whitmore ħoloq avveniment oriġinali u qiegħed hafna enerġija u isforz mill-bidu tagħha.  Aħna fil-Klabb inħossu ir-responsabilità kbira li nikbru u niżviluppaw dan it-tellieqa aktar”.

Minn din is-sena, il-Malta International Challenge Marathon se jkollha tibdil fid-distanzi individwali kif ukoll tibdil fir-rottot. Il-Maratona se tibda nhar il-Ġimgħa 25 ta’ Novembru, b’tellieqa ta’10 mili (16k) li se ssir is-Siġġiewi, l-istadju li jmiss issir nhar is-Sibt 26 ta’ Novembru f’Marsaskala u ser tkun tikkonsisti minn tellieqa 5k u t-tielet u laħħar tellieqa ser tkun dik ta 21km (nofs maratona) nhar il-Ħadd 27 ta’ Novembru f’Buġibba. Atleti jistghu jieħdu sehen fid-distanza sħiħa, jew kwalunkwe mit-tliet distanzi individwali jew bħala tim relay magħmul minn tlett membri.

“Wara konsiderazzjoni bir-reqqa, ħassejt il-ħtieġa li ngħaddi it-tmun ta’din it-tellieqa lil organizzazzjoni li tkun tista tmexxiha u tkabbarha b’mod professjonali. Din it-tellieqa għandha ħafna ta’ potenzjal biex tikber u inħoss li Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club għandha l-kompetenza u l-istruttura neċessarja biex tagħmel dan”, qal Barry Whitmore, fundatur tal- Malta International Challenge Marathon. “Jiena grati hafna lejn dawk kollha li matul l-aħħar ħamsa u għoxrin sena ikkontribwixxew lejn is-suċċess ta ‘din it-tellieqa – minn atleti, voluntieri, l-uffiċjali u l-awtoritajiet “.

Barry Whitmore ser jingħaqad mat-tim organizzattiv li bħalissa qed jiffinalizza d-dettalji qabel it- tnedija uffiċjali tal-2016 Malta International Challenge Marathon.

Athletes line up for the start of Malta International Challenge Marathon


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