ISLAMABAD: Serena Hotels hosted the award ceremony for the 1st Pakistan Airforce (PAF)-Serena Hotels Karakoram Marathon 2018. The chief guest on the occasion was Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, who is also the Patron in Chief of the Pakistan Ski Federation (PSF).
A brief video compilation of the key moments of the high altitude marathon was shown. Naltar, the stunning valley in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) district situated at over 11,300 feet above sea level, was the location for the high-altitude full marathon (42.2km) and half-marathon (21.1km). The compilation will be followed by a documentary of the event showcasing the entire marathon experience.
CEO Serena Hotels Aziz Boolani, said, “I was touched by the glimpses of the marathon that we all shared. This country provides beautiful spaces, scenic views and hospitable people, and we must appreciate the immense contribution of the PAF in taking this initiative to project the right image of Pakistan”.
A total of 32 foreigners, 40 PAF athletes, 30 runners from GB Scouts, 18 locals and 7 from other parts of the country participated in the marathon along with the marathon globetrotters from 24 countries. Many of the runners have broken world records and won accolades globally.
Boolani added, “The 32 foreign athletes will be ambassadors of Pakistan. One of the best aspects was that the youngest participant was ten years old and the oldest was 80 years young. Serena entered into this form of diplomacy to provide a platform to the young talent in Pakistan that needed hand-holding and encouragement to excel. Our association began some five years ago with squash, and since then we have worked together to promote skiing and now this marathon and over the years we have brought an increasing number of foreign sportspeople and athletes to Pakistan”.
Serena Hotels sponsored the event as part of its Adventure Diplomacy initiative that encourages human engagement with nature in ways that test physical prowess, endurance and commitment.
Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said, “It gives me great pleasure to be among world-renowned athletes from all over the globe. The participation of world record holders, men and women of all age brackets, from around the globe made this event even more significant. I am grateful to the international athletes from 24 friendly countries who have participated in this event which took place in one of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere in the world. I hope you have enjoyed the picturesque northern areas of Pakistan and will carry fond memories of your stay with us”.
The air chief presented medals and trophies to the first, second and third place male and female winners for both the 42 km and 21 km marathon.
In 42 Km race, Aslam Khan from Ghizar, Gilgit clinched the 1st position; whereas the local sensation Ishaq Khan remained runner-up. Third on the podium was Ubaidur Rehman, hailing from Gilgit. In the female category, the foreigners dominated the race and won the first three coveted positions. Caroline Drew from U.K was the first to complete the race; while, Canadian Heather Lee got the second position. The Hungarian Edit Kiss finished third in the race. In the 21 Km race, Shahid Ali got the first position; whereas, Adnan Khan and Nazar Shah won the second and third spots respectively. In the same category for females, Nadia Rahim outpaced her rivals while Kokab Sarwar and Sobia Ali trailed behind at the second and third position.