The International Almaty Marathon was held on April 26, the same day as the country’s presidential election.
The fourth charity marathon, “The Courage to be First,” attracted more than 15,000 participants from 40 countries. The marathon has seen its numbers increase every year, from 3,000 when it was launched to 10,000 last year.
“Every year the marathon brings together more and more participants. The most important thing is that Almaty citizens are attached to a healthy lifestyle,” said Akhmetzhan Yessimov, akim (mayor) of Almaty, speaking at the opening ceremony. The mayor also commented on the sport infrastructure the city has commissioned for sporting events and noted that the city’s chances of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics were good.
The first Almaty marathon was organised on May 27. 2012. At the end of 2013, the Almaty Marathon was included among the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), which also includes the Boston Marathon, the Amsterdam Marathon, the New York City Marathon and others.
From the beginning, supporting national charitable projects was among the key purposes of the Almaty Marathon. In addition to popularising a healthy lifestyle and running, the marathon also encourages social responsibility and gives participants a chance to contribute to good causes. Everyone aged 10 years and over can take part in the marathon after paying an entry fee. All money raised by the marathon will be used for charity.
In 2012, Almaty Marathon funds were sent to support a programme for the rehabilitation of children with ICP (infantile cerebral paralysis). In 2013, the money went to the Ardi Rehabilitation Centre for the construction of a mini-water zone adapted for children with ICP. This project will help improve the children’s physical and psychological health significantly. In 2014, the funds helped equip the Department of Oncology Research of the Institute of Paediatrics and Paediatric Surgery of Almaty. This year, the funds raised from the marathon will go to the construction of a modern stadium for a boarding school for children with severe speech disorders.
In this year’s marathon, 28-year-old Andrey Leimenov among men (2 hours, 35 minutes, 51 seconds) and 23-year-old Gulzhanat Zhakypbek among women (2:52:18) showed the best results.
In addition to the marathon, races of other distances were also held, including a 21-kilometre run, a 10k and 3k run for teenagers. The oldest runners were Larissa Veselova, 78, and Torekhan Fazylzhanov, 76. Kazakhstan’s Minister of Finance Bulat Zhamishev won among runners aged 55-59 with a time of 4 hours 3 minutes and 54 seconds.