By Yankuba Jallow
Bajana International Marathon has switched from 21km to 42km beginning with this year’s edition.
Scheduled for March 31st, organisers opted to break away from tradition by switching to 42km with a view to helping Gambian athletes get use to the category in future international events.
As the name suggests, the annual long distance activity begins in Bajana in what would be its 6th edition drawing athletes from length and breadth of the country.
Previous winners of the 5km, 10km and 21km have had chance to compete in events abroad spanning in 2012 from the time the marathon was conceived, according to organisers.
‘Bajana Marathon is here to set a pace and send athletes to international arenas to compete in order to promote athletics in the Gambia,’ said chairman Lamin Jatta.
‘We came up with the 42km because it is very difficult to compete 42km outside (International arena) than any other kilometre,’ he said.
Being sponsored by Gamtel/Gamcel, GPA, British Embassy, Gambia Experience, Banjul Breweries, Governor’s Office WCR, amongst others, the marathon is to be refereed by Gambia Athletics association’s arbiters.
In breakdown of itinerary, children competing in the 5km begin their race from Besse village with institutions vying in the 10km to kick-start theirs in Somita while the 42km commences in Busumbala.
On the preparations, Jatta revealed athletes will be responsible for their medical check-ups before D-Day but their transportation, feeding and other logistics will be financed by the organisers.
Proceeds driven from the one-day occasion is to be used in developing the Bajana Nursery School.
Trophies, cash prizes will also be there for the taking. The event commences at 7:30 am.