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.