Burma to host international marathon

Burma to host international marathon

Burma to host international marathon

Updated 24 January 2013, 14:31 AEDT

Burma will host its first international marathon since 1996 on Sunday, with about 1,000 runners from 20 countries expected to compete.

Burma will host its first international marathon since 1996 on Sunday, with about 1,000 runners from 20 countries expected to compete in the event being held in Rangoon.

Runners participating in the YOMA Yangon International Marathon have the option of competing in a full marathon, a 10km run or a 3km event.

The races will start and finish at the People's Square which is situated close to the city's iconic Shwedagon Pagoda.

The spokeswoman for the YOMA Yangon International Marathon, Khin Thu Thu, told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program the event will help raise Burma's international sporting profile.

"By hosting such international events, we can always say that Burma, or Myanmar, is capable of hosting an international level sporting event and accommodate foreigners coming into our country," she said.

Ms Thu Thu says the biggest challenge in organising the event has been educating local people about the importance of sport and the benefits of exercise in terms of health and lifestyle.

International event

As well as locals, runners from all over the world have registered to attend including from Kenya, Ethiopia and several ASEAN countries.

Ms Thu Thu says locals are very excited to be hosting the event.

"They haven't seen a marathon since 1996 so we expect a lot of people living in townships to come out and cheer for the international runners and local runners alike," she said.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to charities including World Vision Myanmar, Muslim Free Hospital and Medical Relief Society, Myanmar Christian Fellowship of the Blind, Mingalar Youth Development Parahita School and Parahita Training School for Boys run by the Department of Social Welfare.

Topics: