Sunday, August 20, 2017

Fifth annual Yoma Yangon Marathon kicks off on Sunday

Get ready, get set, and make sure you’ve got a good pair of runners: the fifth annual Yoma Yangon International Marathon kicks off January 8, with the starting line at Thuwunna Stadium.

Relief: runners approach the finish line at Thuwunna Stadium last year. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar TimesRelief: runners approach the finish line at Thuwunna Stadium last year. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar Times

The event has come a long way since 1000 athletes ran the inaugural course in People’s Park in 2012: This year’s edition will see 8000 runners, according to organisers, which is a third more than were reported last year. January 8 will see 7475 local and 525

international registered runners compete in four categories: the marathon (42 kilometres, 26.2 miles), starting at 5am, the half-marathon (21km, 13.1 miles) at 5:30, the 10km (6.2 mile) challenge at 6:45 and the 3km (1.8 mile) fun run at 7:30.

The marathon will follow last year’s route, hugging Pazundaung Creek the south before turning to right at Strand Road, following the river north and wrapping around Inya Lake’s west banks, giving runners views of such Yangon iconic landmarks as the old colonial Customs House and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside residence. The half marathon track, meanwhile, will cut out the northern section to bend around Shwedagon Pagoda and Kandawygyi Lake.

“This year’s tournament will see 8000 runners compete, which is a huge increase in the number of contenders over last year,” marathon organiser Ann Mon San told The Myanmar Times.

“We aim to inspire athletes and connect communities, both locally and internationally, through a mutual passion for running,” she added, noting that last year’s champions, Kenyans Joseph Gitau Kariuki and Valentine Jepkemoi Serem, would be returning.

Kenyan runners have something of a dominant pedigree at the Yoma Yangon International Marathon.

Kariuki won last year’s race, his fourth consecutive gold, by over a full minute, with a time of 02:24:42, while compatriots Bosuben Benard Kipkemoi took silver (02:25:51) and Nelson Kiptoo bronze (02:26:44).

The 2016 women’s marathon podium was also a Kenyan wash, with Valentine Jepkemoi Serem edging Viola Jepchirchir Kimeli by just 33 seconds for the gold, 03:09:03 to 03:09:35.

Cecilia Wangui Warutumo finished third at 03:13:09.

“An important part of the YYIM [Yoma Yangon International Marathon] is fundraising for charity. With this year’s theme being ‘Run for Children’, proceeds will be donated to improve the lives of Myanmar’s youths,” Ann Mon San said.

One-hundred percent of registration fees will be donated to five organisations: The YCDC Non Profit Child Day Care Center for Low Income Citizens, Zeyar Shwe Myay Youth Development Center (Hlaing Tharyar), Nan Oo Youth Development Center (Mayangone), Su Htoo Pan Youth Development Center (Thanlyin) and to fund youth development programs at No (3) Basic Education Middle School (Hlaing Tharyar).

For more information, or to register, visit

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