The 16th annual LSR (Lanka Sportsreizen) Colombo Marathon (www.srilankamarathon.org) takes place this Sunday, with over 6500 runners of all ages expected to take part.
More than 200 foreign runners from over 40 countries are also taking part this year, with the increase in competitors seen as a sign of the growing popularity of the event on the global distance running calendar.
This year’s event will begin at 6.00 a.m. at the Independence Square in Colombo and proceed towards the Negombo Beach Park via Borella, Dematagoda, Peliyagoda, Wattala, and around the scenic Muthurajawela Marshes along the Hamilton Canal, Pamunugama, Thalahena, Pitipana and Duwa.
This year’s marathon meanwhile, will be the final year that the Colombo-Negombo route will be used, with next year seeing certain areas of Colombo cordoned off, as the marathon takes on the form of a true ‘city marathon’.
“After atleast two races in the city, we are hoping that the awareness and interest in the event will increase. And in turn we hope to get more sponsors, so that we can grow this fantastic event,” said LSR Chairman Thilak Weerasinghe.
Having secured both Association of International Marathons and Distance Running (AIMS) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF) certification, the LSR Colombo Marathon is also one of just 56 of the 110 AIMS members with voting rights. AIMS and IAAF certification also mean that any world records set or broken at the Colombo Marathon are internationally recognised.
“This is a very good occasion for Sri Lankan Airlines, LSR, and Sri Lanka as a country. We have had a long partnership and this sort of event is really important for us as a nation. If we are to promote tourism, we can’t rely just on leisure tourists, we have to have these sort of carbon-neutral events,” said Sri Lankan Airlines CEO Suren Ratwatte. This year’s event will once again see SriLankan Airlines and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau support LSR in organising the event.
Apart from the main Full Marathon, which is open to men and women 18 years and over, there will also be several subcategories: A Full Marathon - 50 years and above (Veterans); Half Marathon - 17 and above; Half Marathon 50 and above (Veterans); Fun Run 10-15 km and above; and Fun Run 5km-15 and above.
The winners of the men’s and women’s Full Marathon will receive $ 2,500 in prize money, and a return ticket from Sri Lankan Airlines, while the second and third place finishers will receive $ 1500 and $ 1000 respectively. The half marathon winner will receive $ 500 and return ticket from Sri Lankan Airlines, with cash prizes on offer for second and third place finishers as well. Winners will also receive medals, certificates and a t-shirt.
Last year saw Antony Muga of Kenya and Sri Lanka’s B.G.L.A Bogahawaththa win the men’s and women’s Full Marathon events respectively, while in the Veteran’s category Sri Lanka’s Sunil Premarathne and Yen Nguyen of the United States came away victorious.
Registrations for the marathon will be open on 1 October from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Find out more information on www.colombomarathon.com/cm_2015/Registration.