The Nestomalt All Island Schools Games Marathon, organized by the Education Ministry, is all set to begin in Galle. The marathon, which is scheduled to commence on November 11th at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, will be inaugurated by Southern Province Governor Dr. Willy Gamage at 6:30 AM and expected to conclude between 9 AM and 9:30 AM.
There are two marathons planned for the event. The first, spanning a distance of 21.0975 kilometers, is a half marathon for 300 both boys and girls. Starting at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, the route will lead participants to Thalpe beach and back to the stadium.
The second marathon, known as the ‘fun run’, covers a 5-kilometer distance. This shorter run aims to attract budding runners to long-distance running, expecting around 900 participants.
The road will be closed for vehicles during the marathon. Winners in the top 10 places for both boys and girls in the four events (40 winners in total) will receive cash prizes and certificates from the main sponsor, Nestomalt, the flagship brand of Nestle PLC. The Education Ministry will also award certificates and medals to the winners.
The age category for all runners will be between 15 and 20 years. It is expected that around 300 selected runners will participate in the half marathon and around 900 in the ‘fun run’, representing all nine provinces.
The event aims not only to identify talented long-distance runners but also to create a national pool of capable athletes, especially after a decrease in the number of long-distance runners due to medical issues following the recent global pandemic. A team of medical officers from the Sports Medical Unit is stationed in Galle to conduct medical tests for all participants in both the half marathon and the fun run.
For the half marathon, runners have been selected based on their performances in school-level games across the island’s provinces. This initiative by the Education Ministry, sponsored by Nestomalt, aims to identify potential talents and revitalize interest in long-distance running.