Almaty to host first marathon of 2019

ASTANA – The Almaty Marathon, which gathered 14,000 participants last year, will take place April 21. Funds raised from the charitable event will be used to build sports facilities. The 1,200-person preparatory race, the season’s first, will be held Feb. 23 in the city’s First President’s Park.

2018 Winter Marathon participants. Photo credit: The Almaty Marathon Facebook Page.

The 10-kilometre main distance will be divided into three age categories (15-34, 35-49 and over 50). The children’s distance (three kilometres) is available to those 10-14. The starting time for adults is 9.30 a.m.; for children, 9.00 a.m.

The winners will be designated by age for both distances. Every participant will receive a finisher’s medal.

Registration is open through Feb. 17 at www.almaty-marathon.kz.

The marathon is organised by the Courage to Be the First corporate fund, World Class Almaty fitness club and Shakhmardan Yesenov research and educational foundation with the support of the Almaty Akimat (administration).

Beginning Feb. 2, the fund will offer a three-month open training with professional trainer Igor Nemovcha. He will prepare marathoners and guide them towards successful results without harming their health. After the individual sessions, participants may ask questions about proper nutrition, exercise and running techniques.

“Basic training is required for any race. Even at a distance of 10 kilometres, you need to start training at least three months in advance,” said the organising committee.

Almaty Triathlon Federation Coach Maxim Mzhelsky has prepared a special monthly training plan divided into weekly sessions. It includes individual plans for those aiming to run 10, 21.1 (half marathon) and 42.2 kilometres (marathon). The exercises are designed to improve overall fitness, endurance and speed. The plan also includes recommended dates for passing a medical examination.

The organisers are also providing lectures and master classes, where participants will be invited to talk about correct running techniques and related topics. The list of master classes and lectures is available on the marathon website.

Several children’s institutions will receive charitable assistance from the event. This year, the proceeds will be used to build two sports facilities for Almaty regional boarding school No. 15 for children from low-income families and for a project to provide adaptive skiing and snowboarding for children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental features. In addition, a climbing wall will be built for the Kirov military-patriotic club of young army soldiers.

“We are often asked how we raise funds for charity,” said Courage to Be the First Director Saltanat Kazybayeva. “Each participant of the Almaty Marathon contributes to charitable purposes by registering and paying for participation. This is how funds are collected. We do not transfer funds to selected institutions, but on an individual request. We create the necessary sports infrastructure; we build sports fields or climbing walls and we buy sports or medical equipment. In 2018, we collected more than 16 million tenge (US$42,416) and in 2019, there are plans to allocate 26 million tenge (US$68,926) for charity.”

Courage to Be the First seeks to promote an active lifestyle, involving more people in physical training and sports both as amateurs and professionals, in accordance with the highest international standards. The first Almaty Marathon in 2012 had 2,500 participants, a figure that by last year had increased nearly six-fold.