Marathon of Isalo, a first successful edition
On June 18th, the village of Ranohira in Isalo hosted the first Madagascar Marathon and Half Marathon. Defined as the International Marathon of Isalo, this first edition saw the participation of several riders including several Malagasy and foreign tourists. The organizers of this marathon say they are satisfied with this first edition. The success was highlighted, seen the number of participants and the enthusiasm of the local population during the marathon.
Professional organizers at the origin of a big hit
If the marathon was a success, it is certainly because of the organizers, professionals and specialists. As always, the ONTM and the Regional Tourist Office in Isalo contributed greatly to the realization of this marathon. However, foreign organizers were also at the origin of this big hit. Among these foreign persons in charge, there was this American tour operator called Marathon Tours and Travel which was in close collaboration with another Malagasy tour operator Madagascar National Parks. The partnership between these tour operators and these Malagasy tourist offices has brought a rather positive and satisfactory result, with a view to a second edition as of next year.
Strong international participation
During this type of marathon, Malagasy are numerous to participate. In parallel, foreign riders were also present at this unmissable event. According to the organizers, there were 84 tourists from all over the world, an amazing figure that the organizers did not expect. Tourists from different nationalities participated in the Isalo marathon. They arrived directly from their country of origin, namely the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. In the Marathon category, there was the participation of Brent Weigner, American athlete of 67 years from Wyoming. According to him, Madagascar is the 133th country where he ran the full marathon. In the Half Marathon or Half Marathon category, another Olympic athlete named Gary Morgan was contributing to the race. This American is a member of the United States Olympic team walking and is known for his participation in the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988.
A tourist marathon
Even if the marathon was a real sporting competition, it was still associated with tourism. The place where the contest took place was one of the most beautiful tourist sites in the southern part of Madagascar. To discover this locality as well as other regions of the island, foreign participants landed on Malagasy soil 5 days before the date of the marathon. From June 13th, these tourists had the chance to visit and discover the natural resources of Madagascar. After June 18th, the day of the race, they stayed a few days on the island to complete their visit.
On D-Day, the riders were able to see the authenticity of the Isalo region, as the race took place in the heart of this locality. The marathon started in the Isalo National Park and then joined the reserve of Analamazaotra then Morondava and the forests of Menabe. In addition to this first circuit, another route was taken by the riders. They crossed the western part of Isalo then RN7 before traveling the towns of the commune to the garden of the king in Isalo.
With this inescapable success, it is clear that the second edition will bring together even more foreign participants. An advantage for the ONTM which aims to promote the sector thanks to its branding «Madagascar Treasure Island».