Marabana 2010, Sports Party in Cuban Streets
By: Ilsa Rodríguez / Photos by José (Tito) Meriño
Considered Cuba's most popular sports competition, the national marathon, MARABANA, a long distance 42, 195-metre race through the avenues and streets of the city of Havana, was held November 21st with some 3,000 runners from 74 countries, all trying to surpass their personal best to reach their own Olympus.
Cuban long-distance runner Liván Luque was the first to cross the finish line; 13 minutes ahead of his closest rival. As a Central American champion in the 10k track event, this was Luque's debut in such a fatiguing event, for which he started preparing just four months ago.
According to Luque, he wants another prize, that in the prestigious Madrid Marathon (MAPOMA), but his main goal is to get a medal in the upcoming Guadalajara Pan American Games.
The women's record for the race was maintained by only two minutes. Cuban winner Yailín García threatened the record from the very beginning with an impressive pace, but lost some momentum by the end, finishing at 2:45:12 - two minutes over the 2:43:29 set by Emperatriz Wilson in 2001. Both Luque and García have assured their participation in the Madrid Marathon.
MARABANA-2010 awarded half-marathon winner status to Norbert Gutiérrez, men, and Dailín Belmonte, women.
Among non-Cuban runners, who have not won a Marabana since 1993, Denmark was the best represented, with 52 runners. One of them, Brian Tomasson, expressed his satisfaction at finishing the 21 km race-the one with the largest participation of 1,500 athletes.
Prizes were also awarded in the categories of blind, hearing and visually-impaired runners.