Over the last year, the Almaty Marathon has been brought up to international standards, including an exact distance of 42 kilometres and 195 metres, and is now seen as on par with major runs in Paris, New York, Boston and Amsterdam.
Another novelty at the marathon this year was the use of electronic chips that attached to the racers’ number and automatically tracked their participation. Chips used in the past required runners to stop and manually register them during the race.
Racers seemed pleased with the organisation of this year’s event, including the track, catering and healthcare facilities, but some complained about the lack of differing age groups that are found in races in other countries.
The men’s winner was Almat Imashev, who finished in two hours, 36 minutes and 21 seconds. Imashev also won last year and says his goal is to reach the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Gulzhanat Zhanabek won the women’s race.
The event also included a philanthropic element. Astana Motors President Nurlan Smagulov, an active participant in sporting events in Almaty, donated an ambulance to the Institute of Oncology and money was raised to provide medical care for two children in South Korea.