Thousands participate in Caucasus’ first official half marathon in Tbilisi

Funds raised from this year's Tbilisi Marathon will be donated to a centre that supports people with disabilities in Rustavi., 26 Oct 2015 - 17:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

Thousands of runners, joggers and walkers gathered in central Tbilisi yesterday to take part in the first official half marathon in the Caucasus.

The HeidelbergCement Tbilisi Marathon, as the event was formally called, was held annually since 2012 however this year the run was officially recognised as a member of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.

This meant the race was the first international marathon in the Caucasus.

Around 3,000 runners took to the streets in Georgia’s capital on Sunday to participate in the fun-fun. As well as the annual 21km half marathon, the event included a 10km race and a kids run.

First time kids also took part in Tbilisi Marathon. Photo from Georgia's Ministry of Defence/Facebook

The start/finish line was on Rustaveli Ave – the main street of capital Tbilisi – and the course navigated past several main sights of the city, including the old Parliament building, Kashveti church, the National Museum of Georgia, the Opera House and the National Theatre of Tbilisi.

At the top of Rustaveli Ave, runners crossed the Mtkvari River to get to the other side of the city, ran towards Dinamo Arena and back past Marjanishvili Square to Dry Bridge, passed the Justice House and through Old Town before heading back to the start/finish line, via Freedom Square.

The winner of the men’s half marathon race was Georgian man Davit Kharazashvili, who ran the 21.6km race in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 3 seconds, while the women’s half marathon race was won by Valia Avagiani with a time of 1 hour, 37 minutes and 55 seconds.

A total of 297 males and 57 females took part in the half marathon race, while 458 men and 338 women took part in the 10km race. Hundreds more competed as a team.

People with disabilities also run for charity. Photo from Georgia's Ministry of Defence/Facebook

Organisers of the Tbilisi Marathon said the event aimed to promote a healthy lifestyle while also raising money for charity. This year the funds received from Tbilisi Marathon registration were doubled by main sponsors HeidelbergCement, and will later be donated to expand and renovate a centre for people with disabilities in Rustavi, just outside Tbilisi.

The event was all-inclusive and welcomed amateur and professional runners, businessmen and women, students, foreign guests, people with disabilities and more.

The results were tracked using international technology by German company Mika Timing Official Timekeeping and Data Processing.

This year’s October 25 event was organised by Heidelberg Cement Caucasus under the patronage of Tbilisi City Hall, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Georgia.

The first Tbilisi Marathon was held in October 2012 and has now grown into an annual international event.

To understand what do you feel when running half-marathon for the first time in your life, read the blog written last year by the journalist of Genevieve Helliwell 'Just do it! I ran the Tbilisi Marathon' . This year she did it again!