Charlton Debono and Lisa Bezzina are two runners that certainly need no introduction – both have been dominating the athletics headlines with their consistent performances.

Sunday’s Urban Jungle House of Sport 10K Valletta Race was no exception despite the inclement weather.

Close to 200 athletes braved the incessant rain on a tough and technical circuit which saw them taking a circular, scenic route around Valletta tackling some steep hills in the process.

From the outset, it was clear that 2016 winner Debono was out to attempt a repeat performance even though his efforts were going to be challenged by Mario Grech, Keith Galea and Chris Bezzina.

But Debono soon started to widen the gap between himself and the rest to win the race with a comfortable 66-second lead over Grech as Galea reached the gantry third.

“This was another great race despite the awful weather,” Debono said.

“After winning last year’s first edition, I wanted to make it a double especially since Urban Jungle are one of my main sponsors. The rain, wind  and the uphills did not make life easy but into four kilometres of the race I started building a comfortable lead over my closest contenders and I never looked back.”

Bezzina was up for a good fight in the women’s race having Roberta Schembri, winner of the previous Urban Jungle 10K in Kalkara, Josann Attard Pulis, Margaret Seguna and Caroline Ciappara all vying for a top placing on the podium.

Not to be deterred by the poor conditions, Bezzina soldiered on to take top billing over the route once again. Schembri was the runner-up ahead of Attard Pulis.

“I am very satisfied with my performance, especially due to the challenging nature of the route and the weather,” Bezzina said.

“I am grateful towards my coach Ivan Rozhnov and my sponsors in particular Urban Jungle, Garmin, Nyoo, Metalform, Athletics Malta and Sport Malta.”

Race organiser and director Charlie De-manuele said it was inspiring to see athletes of all levels on the start line.

“Really, all this becomes even more remarkable when these athletes are not fazed by challenging weather conditions,” he remarked while thanking the sponsors, officials and the authorities concerned.

“With the first stage of this year’s series over, we now look forward to the next races which we hope will be held in better weather conditions,” he added.

The 10K series is also being supported by emvigee pr & marketing, Garmin, Pro Active and Starmax. Official timing is provided by Arrts.

The next race will be the Ladies Edition, at Tigne Point, on February 12.

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