SARAJEVO, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — The 12th Sarajevo Sberbank Half Marathon gathered some 3,000 runners from 45 countries and regions to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) capital of Sarajevo on Sunday.
The event was opened in the morning hours by Minister of Culture and Sports of Sarajevo Canton Mirvad Kuric, who emphasized that it is of great importance for the citizens of Sarajevo to support these kinds of events.
In the 21.1 kilometers-long race, the first place in men’s category was taken by Kenyan Kipruto Stenli (1:07:11), second by Turkish Aykut Tesdemir (1:07:57), and the third place by Bulgarian Ivo Balabanov (1:08:00).
On the women’s side, Serbian Olivera Jeftic took the first place (1:14:41), the second was taken by Croatian Bojana Bijeljac (1:16:38), Moldavian Oleseca Smobljenko came in third (1:16:42).
The director of Marathon Sarajevo Association Erol Mujanovic pointed out in an interview for Xinhua on two records that were broken by this year’s event: the record number of participants and the record number of countries and regions that they come from.
“The share of women participants this year was 33 percent, which is a record one, which means that every third person who ran the marathon was women,” Mujanovic said, adding that twelve years ago, that number was 5 to 8 percent.
Almir Panjeta, one of the participants, pointed out that this year’s Sarajevo Half Marathon is his second one.
“I can only say that the run was better than I expected, and on races like this one, it is a victory for amateurs to run the race to the end, socialize and have good fun,” Panjeta said.
“The organization is great, the atmosphere as well, a great number of participants contributed to running being a true satisfaction,” Panjeta concluded.
Similar to last year, this year’s half marathon saw a slight increase in the number of women participating. Lejla Sabic, one of the women participants, pointed out on the need for women to invest more in their health and run as many races as possible.
“In BiH, women are not very active, they work a lot, and events like this are of a tremendous importance for their health. I ran some 10 marathons since 2007 worldwide, and this is my second one here,” Sabic said.
“For the first time, more than 50 percent of the participants are from BiH, which indicates a quality long-term work on massification of this sport in BiH,” director of Marathon SarajevoAssociation Erol Mujanovic said.
In parallel with half marathon, a “G-Drive half marathon” for teams and a light race “Novo Nordisk Fun Run” for citizens who are not professionals were held.
Started in 2006, the Sarajevo Half Marathon aims to empower individuals and society, to promote healthy lifestyles through sport in a positive and friendly environment, and to encourage overcoming personal boundaries in a supportive atmosphere.