The inaugural Urban Jungle – House of Sport 10K series got underway last Sunday with the Valletta race that saw the participation of 250 runners, including foreigners some hailing from as far as Brazil, the US and Australia.

The circular route, anything but flat, took runners twice around Valletta. Although slightly different from the original race in the city surroundings, last held almost 20 years back, the House of Sport 10K brought a bout of nostalgia to the ‘veterans’ and a wave of anticipation to the newer generation.

With the current two top runners, Charlton Debono (Gozo Athletix) and Andrew Grech (Mellieħa AC) both at the starting line, this was certainly going to be a keenly-contested race.

Underlining his top form, just like the Sunday before in the MAAA Road Running League, Debono overcame Grech’s challenge by winning in a time of 32.05.

Apart from being a personal best for Debono with an improvement of 24 seconds, it was also the fastest time registered over the distance on the road this season.

Grech came in second place, 22 seconds adrift, with Mark Herrera, (Athleta Pembroke), who also had a satisfactory race, finishing third in 33.01.

Likewise, in the women’s race, Lisa Bezzina also followed up her win the previous weekend with another first place, clocking 38.27.

Second in was Josann Attard Pulis, 39 seconds behind, with triathlete Hannah Pace third in 41.21.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this race, the feedback we received from athletes has been extremely positive especially in view of the fact that this is a new route,” Charles Demanuele, the Race Director, said.

“We are particularly grateful to Urban Jungle for sponsoring this event as well as the Malta Police and Transport Malta who were instrumental in ensuring our athletes’ safety throughout the race.”

The second leg in the series, also supported by Go & Fun, emvigee and Starmax, will be the women’s only race on January 31, with both start and finish lines at Tignè Point, Sliema.

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