Do you love running? Looking for a fresh challenge that really pushes your endurance, with a beautiful backdrop and the chance to recover in the sunshine afterwards? The Malta Half Marathon is part of the Vodafone Malta Marathon, which welcomes thousands of runners and spectators every year. It’s also a unique and exciting way to explore Malta’s superb sights by foot while supporting one of the island’s biggest charity events.
The purpose of the Malta Half Marathon
This annual event raises funds for adults and children with a variety of disabilities such as Autism and Down Syndrome, so they can lead a more independent life. Everyone taking part can choose to run or walk on their own, or in a team, and applications can be made about five months in advance, so you’ll have plenty of time to plan your trip and get a few training laps in!
When does the Malta Half Marathon take place?
Both the Half Marathon and Full Marathon take place in late February or early March, the dates of which are usually published several months ahead. The Half Marathon has a 3-hour time limit, while the Full Marathon has a 5.5-hour time limit and begins almost two hours earlier. However, bear in mind that times and routes may change in future events, so it’s a good idea to check this out beforehand.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the Half Marathon, like the full Marathon, is mainly downhill! It descends 200 metres from start to finish. The race starts in the enchanting old capital of Malta, Mdina, where you can see over 4,000 years of history on display. This area was also known as the city of Melita during the Roman Empire, and you’ll find much of the architecture and artwork from this era is still preserved today. In fact, legend has it that the Apostle St. Paul lived in the Fuori le Mura grotto here after his ship sank nearby almost 2,000 years ago.
The next stages of the Malta Half Marathon
The route continues through the Roman Villa and Nigret before progressing to the Mtarfa by-pass, the Military Cemetery, and Rabat Road towards Attard. In Attard, you will pass the pretty little 17th century Parish Church, and the San Anton Palace and Gardens, which is the residence of the President of Malta. This village is also home to an early-17th century aqueduct, and the luxurious Villa Bologna, which probably has the biggest private garden on the island.
The finishing point
The Half Marathon joins the Full Marathon Route until it reaches Sliema, the finishing point. Sliema, a vibrant holiday resort, offers you some of the best restaurants, bars and shopping in Malta. It’s roughly a 20-minute walk from St Julian’s, renowned for its 17th century Spinola Palace. You’ll also find plenty of clubs and bars packed around the Paceville area, which attract some of the most famous DJs from around the world
Itinerary for the Malta Half Marathon
A typical tour package for the Malta Half Marathon includes a three-night stay at a hotel and two full days of sightseeing, excluding the day of arrival. As a participant, you can book a private transfer to your hotel before you register for the marathon. Once you’ve made it around the course, you’ll receive a medal for completing the circuit, and a (well-deserved!) celebratory drink, too.
These packages typically include breakfast, deluxe double or twin rooms, and return transfers between your hotel and the airport. By booking a three-night stay, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to see Malta’s prehistoric, medieval, and colonial landmarks, and dance the night away (if you’ve got any energy left) in the island’s nightclubs.
What weather can you expect during the Malta Half Marathon?
In late February and early March, when the Malta Half Marathon takes place, the air temperature typically reaches the mid to late teens °C by day, falling to around 10 or 11°C by night. While this is far from beach weather, it’s still warmer than virtually anywhere else in Europe in late winter or early spring. However, from time to time, warm winds from North Africa can occasionally push daytime temperatures into the early to mid 20s °C.
Although heavy rain showers are common in February and March, too, the sun still shines for an average of 5 to 7 hours per day, which is closer to what you would expect in London in July. Sea temperatures are at their lowest at this time of year, hovering around 15°C, which is too cold for comfortable swimming, although you might be tempted to dip your toes in, at least! Temperatures at this time of year are ideal for your Malta Half Marathon and other outdoor activities like hiking and cycling.
Have you ever been to Malta before? Or taken part in a marathon abroad? Let me know in the comments below.