10th Dec 2018
Charlton Debono retains title, Tara Abdilla takes her first ‘Challenge’ crown
The recently held Eurosport Malta International Challenge Marathon, saw Charlton Debono and Tara Abdilla take this year’s honours in the gruelling marathon spread over three days.
A unique race, the “Challenge” as it is fondly referred to amongst the running community has been a firm favourite amongst athletes wishing to push their limits on some of Malta’s most scenic routes.
The 42km race, is split in three segments. The first segment, kicks off on Friday with a 10 mile (16km) route in the quaint village of Siggiewi on a course which took athletes down towards the southern Maltese cliffs, the historic Ä¦aÄ¡ar Qim and scenic Å»urrieq and Blue Grotto. The second leg was a 5km course along the Marsascala seafront, whilst the last and longest leg of the Challenge the 21km route saw a combination of sea and country views in Qawra, Wardija, San Martin and GÄ§ajn TuffieÄ§a. The routes ensured that athletes had a good mix of flat and hilly roads, just the right mixture to make the title Challenge appropriate.
The Men’s segment was dominated by Charlton Debono who clinched his third consecutive title. Debono won all three segments closely followed by George Ravenhall. The third placed male was different on all three days – Duncan Abdilla, Toninu Dimech and Leigh Marshall took their place on the 10mile, 5k and 21km routes respectively. However it was Duncan Abdilla who took the overall third place in the final classification.
“The Malta International Challenge Marathon is definitely the toughest race in the Maltese athletics calendar. This is my third time winning this race and I always look forward to it. It is a race in which I can really assess my athletic condition. Crossing that finish line at the end of the third day is very satisfying” – Charlton Debono
The Female race saw newcomer to the Challenge Tara Abdilla emerge clear and comfortable winner on all days. Vita Devjanikova and Caroline Ciappara took their place on the podium in second and third place respectively.
“This was my first experience at the Malta International Challenge Marathon. I can truly say that it was one amazingly memorable experience. A whole weekend dedicated to racing. The route is also very scenic, and the challenge to finish it all makes it so special. The tougher the climb, the better the view! Surely not an event to be missed!” – Tara Abdilla
In the Relay Team segment, it was Team Barry made up of Jonathan Balzan, Matthew Xuereb and George Taliana who took top honours, followed by GMD (Glen Zammit, Michael Hughes, Drew Lang) and La Salle Team Relay 1 (Chris Mangion, Imed Ben Moussa, Stefan Debono).
The Eurosport Malta International Challenge Marathon routes are AIMS certified and an International Measurement Certificate was issued by accredited official Francesco La Cara who travelled to Malta purposely for this purpose.
“The AIMS certificate makes the Challenge the only AIMS approved distance running race in Malta. AIMS had very positive comments of the course layout, and mentioned in particular the diverse scenery offered to the runners. This certification is yet another milestone for our Club. ” explained Euchar Camilleri, Secretary General Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club. “The Challenge is one of our flagship events and we always look forward to welcome our local and international friends”.
The 2019 Malta International Challenge Marathon will take place on the 28th – 29th and 30th November. More information can be found on http://www.maltachallengemarathon.com/.