Havana marathon attracts new record number of runners

havana-live-marabana 2015HAVANA, Nov.14 (Xinhua) A record number of 4,808 runners have confirmed their attendance at the Havana Marathon “Marabana 2015” on Sunday, a sports official highlighted on Friday.

The number includes 1,505 foreigners from 60 countries and regions, according to the President of the event’s Organizing Committee, Carlos Gattorno.

The United States currently has the largest foreign representation with 567 runners, a result of the thawing between both nations. There are also 107 Mexicans, 97 Italians, 80 Germans, 73 Spanish, 71 French, 55 Danish and 44 Brazilians, among other nationalities, registered to participate, according to Gattorno, cited by local daily Granma.

Athletes who meet the required times and points in this marathon will be granted tickets to compete in the 42 kilometers and 195 meters race at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gattorno said that Cuba’s main marathon will be an “extraordinary performance” this year and a worthy preamble to its 30th anniversary in 2016.

Marabana is a traditional race held every third Sunday of November to celebrate the National Day of Physical Culture and Sport, and Havana’s founding in 1519.

Havana was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1982.

Marabana 2014 had 3,850 participants, including 664 from 52 nations.

The winners last year were the locals Jorge Luis Suarez and Misleidis Vargas.

One day before the marathon the “Maracuba”, a popular and non-competitive race, is held simultaneously all over the country. About a million people are expected to participate.