NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – Now in its fourth edition, the Hargeisa Marathon in Somaliland is seeking to gain international stature as the road race continue to attract athletes from Europe, Asia and America.
With the region famed to produce top notch marathoners, the marathon this week attracted over 2500 runners from across the globe with the organisers now targeting triple that number in the next event.
There were participants from as far as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Norway, France, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Mohamed Hussein Ahmed won the men’s 42 kilometer race with Mustafa Abdiqadir Mohamed finishing second and Abdilahi Aden Farah coming in third.
The 10km race was won by Said Farah Omar with Abdiqani Hamud and Yahye Mahmud Ibrahim coming in second and third respectively.
The women 10 kilometer women race was won by Hana Muktar with Hamda Abdi Dahir coming in second and Lido Rush Arab was third.
“Our vision is to build this competition to become one of Africa’s leading marathon races. This competition brings together athletes from different nations, cultures, creed and values, it unifies the world and showcases not only the best of the Horn of Africa,” an official of Dahabshiil Group of Companies, the main sponsors, said after the race
“As part of our global CSR programme, we are delighted to support this event. Across all communities that we operate in, Dahabshiil contributes a substantial percentage of its profit into regeneration projects in the areas of sports development, hospitals, agriculture and sanitation’ the sponsors added. “We also want to work with the youth in the Horn of Africa to excel in sports.”
Somalilanders have a natural talent for running but don’t currently have a marathon culture and now that’s changing.
Asma Dhamac, one of the participants said: “When you run a marathon, you run against the distance and not against other runners or against time. The Somaliland marathon is making us believe it until we make it.”
Organisers of the Somaliland Marathon, run in the capital city Hargeisa are out to learn from neighbouring Kenya whose Nairobi marathon has gained international status.