Malta Half Marathon February 25th
When friends staying in Malta for the winter invited me to join them to run the Malta half marathon in February, my first thoughts were “I can run 13.1 miles for a week in the sun”. The down side to this was all the training had to be done during winter when on the days I was facing a blizzard outside I would rather have been staying warm indoors, but my fellow EHH running buddy Sheila Maddison was there, always encouraging and pushing me along to do that extra mile.
All too soon the time came for my Ryanair flight to leave Leeds Bradford on a cold and windy February morning flying to sunnier climates and feeling I should really have put more training in. All the apprehension left me when I saw the beautiful Mdina gate where our start line would be the following Sunday. We drove to pick up our race pack from the Meridien Hotel in St Julian’s on the Thursday before which consisted of our race number, the race magazine, a great quality T shirt and an energy bar.
The full Marathon with around 900 participants started at 7am, at 9.15am around 4000 of us went over the start line for the half marathon and walkathon heading downhill for the first 10k. By this time not surprisingly I was feeling great but for all the talk of a downhill race no one mentioned the ‘slight’ inclines that followed as we headed slowly back up hill to Valletta, by now the sun was baking hot and I was starting to to flag a bit but the bands playing along the route kept our spirits up. Drink stations every 5k and sponge stations in between were really appreciated and we finally headed back downhill for the last couple of miles along the beautiful marina to cross the finish line on the waterfront in Sliema where we were given our medal, water, banana, hydration drinks and an energy bar.
For anyone who doesn’t mind running in the heat I would highly recommend this race. I spoke to people from various running clubs who come over for the weekend every year to run it, and if you are super speedy there are great money prizes for every person who finishes under 2.27.59 in the full marathon, with flights around £80 return you could even end up making a profit.
I may not have got a PB but it’s a lovely course and while it’s snowing in England I’m laid here next to the pool thinking i was right, it was worth running 13.1 miles for a week in the sun.