02 July 2023, 9am
Malta International “Challenge” Marathon
Fri 24 November 2023
It is a flagship event on the Maltese athletic calendar, attracting locals and foreigners alike. Spread over three consecutive days during the last weekend of November, runners cover an overall distance which measures exactly 42.195km.
This race has attracted well-known local athletes as well as multiple winner David Mansbridge from England. The introduction of relay teams in 2014 saw a new influx of runners who wanted to be part of the buzz this event generates but who do not necessarily have the ‘miles’ in their legs to undertake the whole distance.
In 2015 Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club took over the race bringing years of experience in race organisation to this iconic event. The Club’s experience has been pivotal in making the event even more prominent in the marathon running world.
Over the years the race has welcomed over 5000 runners on the starting line, representing over 27 countries from across all continents. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the 2020 and 2021 editions to be postponed but there is now renewed optimism for the race to get back to its pre-pandemic dimensions.
The Malta International Challenge Marathon is held under the auspices of Athletics Malta, following World Athletics rules and is an AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Distance Races) certified race.
Over the three-day marathon the venues take runners to some of the most beautiful locations on the Island. The 10-mile stage on day one takes place in rural parts of south-west Malta, meandering through small unspoiled villages after hitting the picturesque cliffs leading to Zurrieq. The start and finish are in the main square of Siggiewi, a village full of character.
Day two is a 5km breather in the picturesque fishing village of Marsascala. The race route hugs the waterfront for most of the distance, starting and finishing in the shade of the local parish church next to an array of typical Maltese fishing boats.
The crunch in the Challenge comes in day three, an undulating 21.1km route starting and finishing in the tourist-oriented town of St Paul’s Bay. From the bustle of the resort’s hotels, bars and restaurants the race proceeds towards a spectacular rural stretch, including a one-kilometre ‘challenge’ hill half way through, to finish in the open spaces around the National Aquarium.
Further information on this unique event, including registration, is available on the Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club website www.bsj.mt. This year’s event will be held on Friday 24 November, Saturday 25 November and Sunday 26 November.