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Fifth straight win for dominant Balzan

Jonathan Balzan crosses the finish line to win the Żurrieq half marathon.

Jonathan Balzan crosses the finish line to win the Żurrieq half marathon.

Jonathan Balzan continued to cement his name in the record books of long-distance running on our islands after winning the 15th Żurrieq Half Marathon on Sunday.

Balzan crossed the finish line at the main square in Żurrieq after one hour, 16 minutes and 11 seconds of solo running for his fifth successive victory, an unprecedented feat in a half marathon race organised by the Żurrieq Wolves Athletics Club in conjunction with the village’s Local Council.

Eighty runners took part in the race, including some foreigners, with veteran Drew Lang coming home second behind Balzan in 1:19.20, just ahead of Brian Magri who made it past the gantry in 1:19.25.

Runners covered the distance of 21 kilometres after passing through the picturesque villages of Safi, Mqabba and Siġġiewi before returning to Żurrieq via Blue Grotto Avenue, enjoying the spectacular seascapes of the south of the island.

Carmen Hili was the winner of the women’s half marathon in a time of 1:27.10.

Sandra Schembri was second in 1:34.18 and Josann Attard Pulis third in 1:36.41.

Apart from trophies to the first three in both male and female races, other awards were distributed to the top runners in each age category.

These were Antoine Abela and Jacqueline Booker (over 35), Balzan and Hili (over 40), Lang and Schembri (over 45), Jimmy Sacco (over 50), Martin Agius (over 55) and Louis Cutajar (over 60).

The team award went to Pembroke Athleta while Joe Saliba and Joe Abdilla were the top two Żurrieq Wolves runners in the half marathon.

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