Colombo, October 25, 2017: SriLankan Airlines, the National Carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the oneworld alliance, in view of its operations to Melbourne commencing this month was the title sponsor of the Half Marathon event of the coveted Melbourne Marathon Festival, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.
The event provided plenty of excitement with Australian of Ethiopian origin Ms. Makda Haji, turning up unexpectedly on race morning to win the women’s race in a record time of 1hr 10min 39sec, while Aussie Brett Robinson was the first male across the line in 64.01.
Ms. Haji, commenting on her victory said, “I hope I can inspire other young women with refugee backgrounds to participate in marathons, demonstrating their talent and strength of spirit to the broader community.”
The winner of the male category, the 26-year-old Robinson is a professional runner, having represented Australia in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the final of the 5000 metres. He has raced in Moscow, Beijing and Oman and is keen to add Colombo to his list of international running destinations.
Brett described his participation in the SriLankan Half Marathon as a brilliant day, “Running with 30 plus thousand people of all levels and different goals is amazing. You’re out there with people who want to beat you and others who just want to make it to the finish line.”
“Melbourne is a great course because you get to take in a lot of the city as well as the magnificent view over Port Phillip Bay, finishing up at the MCG.”
Over 40,000 spectators cheered on participants as they ran past some of Melbourne’s famous landmarks including Flinders Street Station, Albert Park Lake, St Kilda Beach, the Shrine of Remembrance and the Royal Botanic Gardens before finishing with a lap of the iconic MCG.