First international marathon race underway in Sfax City

A cross-section of local volunteers at Sfax Marathon / Photo: Babatunde Eludini/ATAF.co

The maiden edition of the International Oliver Trees Marathon (Marathon-Des-Oliviers-Sfax) gets underway in the beautiful city of Sfax, Tunisia this weekend. The first international Marathon to be held in the region.

The two-day event already has over 200 athletes from Tunisia, Ethiopia , Morocco, Algeria, France and Kenya already in town to compete for the close to 15,000 Euros on offer.

Naamen Bouhamed, the brain behind the marathon, in a chat with AthleticsAfrica.Com said the race is a new chapter in the history of Tunisia coming after the recent revolution.

Mr Bouhamed said he was particularly impressed in the enthusiasm shown by the locals in participating and he remains very positive that the marathon will not only meet its set objectives but also surpass them.

“I am very happy with the response from Tunisians; athletes from Kenya, Morroco, Algeria, Kenya are also here which for me is a good start.

“With this marathon we hope to show that Tunisia has the capability to build on this kind of event for bigger events like the Olympics Game this the objective we like to build. He said

Mr Bouhamed also explained that the idea for a marathon came from a simple and nevertheless ambitious project, to revive the city and the area of SFAX as Mediterranean capital.

He said the aim of this race is to bring together history of the men, to bring back to life and rediscover again this heritage which is still alive today. “A city, a region, a capital, a Mediterranean metropolis which aspires to play its role in the future of the new Tunisia. "

There would be five races in all in this edition of the marathon, the full international marathon (42.195 km). This 1st exceptional marathon will see several participants running in the heart of original outstanding surrounded by Olive trees. The Marathon will end at the center of the cultural heritage of Sfax.

The second is the Half Marathon (21.097 Km), third is The Sfaxian (100% Women) 6 Km; this 6 km race is only reserved for women 14 years old and above. The race will take place in the afternoon of Saturday, December 15th in the heart of the Medina.

Also on the cards is the  The Olive Junior Race 500m - 3 km (Five different races from 500 meters to 3 km for kids aged from 6 to 13 will be held on Saturday on marked routes) and the Medina Humor race 300m (two tests reserved for all the ages from 7 to 77 years old and above), which will take place on a 300m route.

(Babatunde Eludini for Athletics Africa from Sfax, Tunisia)

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