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London Marathon 2009, A Gambian View

May 18, 2009, 10:05 AM

The London Marathon began in 1981 by Chris Brasher a British Olympic Champion who attended the New York Marathon in 1980. Mr. Brasher was supported by New York Marathon organisers to effectively organise London Marathon and eventually the event has now become world's largest marathon event with 350, 000 participants this year, an estimate of 440,000 participants over the past 29 years. The organisers claimed to raised £422,000.000 (Four hundred and twenty two million pounds) and support numerous projects in Great Britain. The event is well attended by people from all over the world, application process and ballot is done online. The 2010 event is scheduled Sunday 25th April; all interested participants can log on to the Virgin London Marathon website at www.virginlondonmarathon.com and click on 'Enter the Race'. The male event continue to be dominated by African athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia respectively, Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya took first with timing of 2;05:10 (Two hours, Five minutes and Ten seconds). German's best long distance runner Irina Mikitenko with a timing of Two hours, Twenty-two minutes and Eleven seconds wins the female event. The male wheelchair winner was Kurt Fearnley and female winner Amanda McGrory.

According to reporters, London Marathon is one of the most popular marathon events in the world in fact now there are few marathon events which top marathon runners for both male and female have to challenge to earn points just like the formula 1 car race. The event is held at the following cities, New York, Berlin, London, Boston and Chicago.

The winners of the World Marathon Majors series would split one million US Dollars cash prize. Indeed a marathon run would soon become a world competition event just like football world cup. Many people who participate in marathon events do raise funds and support charity projects while some run in memory of their departed love people, others run for fun of course others run to win prizes. The most fascinating things about London marathon runners are how some participants dressed up just like Spiderman, superman, some in fancy costumes and colour their bodies. They make spectators laugh all day long and chanting, keep it up!! Well done! , You can do it.

The London Marathon event symbolise greatness of London and its people. The event goes through historic places in the city and ends right at Bucking Ham palace where the Queen of England and her family live. The city movement is brought to halt except train services, all eyes focus on the people running or doing wheelchair. It's a real joyful day in London. A Londoner told me is the largest crowd in the city annually. The event is covered live on BBC TV as well as local Radio stations around UK. People travelled from all parts of UK to come to London, they line up from start to finish to cheer up the wheelchair race and marathon runners.

Participants are motivated right from the start to end. There are volunteers all over the running course to ensure participants given maximum support especially at the finishing point physiotherapists and Red Cross volunteers help tired participants. The police and soldiers help to control the crowd in a friendly atmosphere.

Well having attended London Marathon from 2006 to 2009, I am highly motivated and committed to help sustain the famous annual Brufut Marathon, which I initiated in my local community of BrufutVillage, Kombo North in The Gambia.  I heard about London Marathon and saw the event on TV before coming to London. I was long distance runner during my high school career but never had the chance to run a real marathon. I love marathon run eventually in 1994 created road race within Brufut and calling it Brufut Marathon Run. I am aware Brufut Marathon is not yet a real marathon but with time it would be.  I am now optimistic my vision organising a marathon would come true with the fantastic support and commitment of my dear friends in and out side of Brufut. Brufut Marathon has become a household name in The Gambia therefore by 2012 with the continue support from our sponsors, The Gambia would produce world-class marathon runners taking part to all major marathon events in the world. I have no doubt Gambia's best long distance runners Ansu Sowe and Mariama T. Jallow could be a winner to London Marathon, New York, Berlin, Boston or Chicago

My primary focus now is to communicate effectively with the London Marathon organisers, make them committed to support Brufut Marathon. I will continue to support Brufut Marathon Run Association (BMRA) under the dynamic leadership of Ba S Jabbi and encourage more people to participate each year. However, the event cannot not be organise successfully without volunteers and sponsorship thus new techniques learnt from London Marathon and experience would be put in place to attract more sponsors and participants from all over the world. The support of ever Gambian and well wishers of Marathon Run are encouraged to help BMRA achieve its aim and objectives. I would like to solicit support of The Gambia Government and the private sector to make Brufut Marathon Run Africa's best marathon event in the future. The Gambia lies at a strategic place in Africa while the event is organise along the coast with good road network. The cooperation of the print and electronic media in and out side The Gambia promoting Brufut Marathon would be highly appreciated. Please visit www.brufut-mra.org for more information about Brufut Marathon.

Mamudou Max Jallow