KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s biggest sporting event, the 10th Borneo International Marathon, ended on a high note recently.
Over 10,000 took part in the race on Sunday, 20 folds from when it was first held in 2008, and a promise of more runners in the years to come.
Partnering the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) this year, the race saw half the field of runners who were from outside of Sabah.
Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai yesterday said the race attracted many people from outside the state, 1,000 foreigners and 4,000 from other states in the country.
He believes the state’s charm and reputation as a natural holiday destination was probably the main reason why many came for the race.
“From few hundreds of runners when BIM was first started, it has now become a prestigious sporting event that helps to spur the tourism industry.
“Numerous direct international flights from Japan, China and Korea have also significantly improve connectivity, bringing in more runners and tourists,” he said.
Local runner Fabian Osmond Daimon, who took part in the event for the 7th time, said there were indeed more international runners as compared to previous years.
Many of the international runners were from United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, Japan, China, Kenya, Singapore, the Philippines and brunei among others.
“Perhaps they are excited to try out the new route in the 42-km category. It was a scenic route as it brought them to the many parts across the city centre, Likas Bay and Universiti Malaysia Sabah,” he said.
This year the race also saw 500 children with disabilities taking part in a special race where they were ushered by their caretakers.