For the ninth consecutive year, yesterday’s Malta Marathon saw a record number of participants take to the island’s streets. With 4,670 people taking part in the 33rd edition of the island’s biggest athletic event, the day was all about amazing stories of determination and charity.
Lovin Malta was in the midst of it all as we took part in the 21km walkathon, and from stories that touched our hearts to others that made us laugh all the way, here’s what we took back home with us apart from a medal and some very sore legs.
1. Pure determination overcame all obstacles
Over the course of the gruelling marathon, a grand show of determination was shown all across the board.
But nowhere was this more evident than with people like Melissa Pace and Noel Cacciotolo, who despite being confined to a wheelchair, completed the whole thing along with everyone else.
Noel, who lost his left leg some years ago, even abandoned his wheelchair and walked the last stretch.
2. A father’s unconditional love
Last year, Jake Vella stole the hearts of millions around the world. The seven-year-old Maltese boy fighting one of the rarest conditions in the world is an inspiration to everyone… especially his proud parents.
The boy’s father, Josie, has been taking part in the marathon for Jake, and yesterday saw him running the entire 42 kilometres again. In a touching moment, the two were reunited at the finish line early on Sunday afternoon.
3. Running across the continent to raise awareness
Benjamin Scott and Mike Harley have been running across Europeto help raise money and awareness for biomedical research to find a cure for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or M.E.
The BenRuns4ME organisation saw Ben completing his 11th marathon on Sunday. “Coming off an Injury enforced month of no running I had no idea how this one would go,” Ben said in a blog entry earlier this morning. Sunday also saw Ben’s brother Jay finishing his first ever marathon, along with fellow EAMS member Craig finishing in a personal record time.
For Mike Harley, who is currently involved in a similar yet slightly more ambitious endeavour (and was actually injured and sick), this was actually marathon number 15!
4. ‘Gear up’ doesn’t always mean what you think it does
Thousands of people might have been frantically buying technical sportswear ahead of the marathon, but for others, it was the perfect opportunity to put some very unconventional attire.
Murphy, for example, was running to raise support for the Malta Hospice Movement. And what better way to stand out than show up in a full pink morphsuit?
Also participating was Sally Orange, who set herself an awesomely weird target a couple of years ago. “I’ve set myself several challenges with the overarching one of running 7 marathons in 7 continents, dressed as 7 different pieces of fruit,” Sally told her followers on a fundraising campaign which has already raised over €3,500. Supporting the Heads Together Campaign, Sally Orange started the year off running across 100 miles in temperatures of -50°C dressed up as a red chilli pepper. Yesterday, she was spotted at the Mdina starting line… casually dressed up as an avocado.
And of course, let’s not forget our very own Chucky… or is it Tolqueen?
5. An unbeatable Moroccan duo
Said el-Bazzouzi was this year’s all-round winner, finishing the marathon in just two hours and 18 minutes.
Mohammed Hajjy, on the other hand, was this year’s runner-up. Hajjy has won the race a number of times before.
6. Who said romance is dead?
Walking or running the marathon with your partner is amazing.
Proposing during the final stretch, though? That’s definitely next level.
7. Above all, yesterday was all about people getting together for charity
Inspire was yet again the official charity of the Malta Marathon, but with some many people participating, a lot of different organisations reached out to a great number of charities.
And whether it was a case of individual people running for a special cause or a group of employees raising money for charities of their choice, it was all one big congregation of solidarity.
This year saw Lovin Malta running (or power-walking) for mental health, and while the Malta Marathon is now over, our fundraising campaign isn’t! We’ve been raising money for The Richmond Foundation, and we’ve nearly reached our goal.