Now in its fourth edition, the Hargeisa Marathon in Somaliland is seeking to gain international status in the Horn of Africa as the road race continue to attract athletes from Europe, Asia and America.
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With the region famed to produce top notch marathoners, this week’s event attracted over 2,500 runners from across the globe with the organizers 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 US.
Mohamed Hussein Ahmed won the men’s 42km race. Mustafa Abdiqadir Mohamed finished second followed by Abdillahi Aden Farah.
Said Farah Omar won the 10km race followed by Said Farah Omar and Abdiqani Hamud in that order.
The women’s 10km race was won by Hana Muktar. Hamda Abdi Dahir came second followed by Iido Rush Arab. The annual event is slowly attracting international interest.
“Our vision is to build this competition (Hargeisa Marathon) to become one of Africa’s leading marathon. 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 program, 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 want to work with the youth in the Horn of Africa to excel in sports,” he said adding that Somaliland has talent and the marathon culture is now changing.
“When you run a marathon, you run against the distance and not against other runners or against time. Somaliland marathon is making us believe it until we make it,” said Asma Dhamac a participant.
Organizers of the Somaliland Marathon are out to learn from neighboring Kenya, whose Nairobi Marathon has gained international status.