Hello, on October 26th, you are organizing the International Marathon of Tana. Could you tell me where it will take place?
The International Marathon of Tana will take place in Antananarivo itself, the capital of Madagascar. Tana is actually short for Antananarivo. Both the starting and finish lines will be in front of the Town Hall of Tana on Independence Square.
How long has this race existed and why was it originally created?
It will be in its 14th year this year! When I arrived in Madagascar and specifically in Antananarivo, I was very surprised to see so many people running. The Malagasy are very passionate about running and begin their training very early in the morning. It therefore made a lot of sense for the Malagasy Athletic Federation to create a Marathon in 2000.
Have you planned several races and if so, what distances?
First of all there is the legendary and well-known Marathon (42,195km), then Les Foulées de Tana, followed by the HandiRun. These two events of 5km will pass by the famous Lac Anosy. The Foulées de Tana is a run open to all and the HandiRun is reserved for disabled people.
The International Tana Marathon and its related events are intended for a very large audience: professional or experienced runners, amateurs, young and old runners, disabled people, residents of Tana, or of all Madagascar, the Indian Ocean, Africa and Europe.
What type of course are the runners expecting? Could you describe it?
The marathon will enable the discovery of the city of the Thousand. The start will be given in front of the symbolic Town Hall, then the runners will pass through the southern district of Tana and alongside the Ikopa River. The runners will then climb towards the North of Tana, to reach the finishing line on Independence Square via the business district of Akorondrano. It is quite a technical course with some uneven terrain, which will allow the better runners to come out on top!
How many competitors are you expecting Sunday morning and what kind of runners are you hoping to attract?
There were approximately 1200 runners over all of the races in the 13th edition of the marathon. This year we are hoping to reach 2000. In the 14th edition, there will be runners from Kenya and South Africa, as well as runners from the Indian Ocean…
This time of year, what will the weather conditions be like?
At this time of year it will be hot in Tana, hence the early 7am start for the marathon and 8am start for the Foulées de Tana and HandiRun.
Have you organized any celebrations?
On October 25th, the day before the race, a Marathon Village will be held in front of the Town Hall of Tana. The village will be an information and meeting point, but more importantly a friendly meeting place for people who are passionate about sport and where there will be several entertaining activities.
After finishing the run, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Antananarivo to allow him to discover the town and its outskirts?
Tana is one of the most picturesque capitals in the world. You can visit the Royal Palaces, the most well known being the Mankajamiadana in Anatirova. Two and half hours away from Tana, you can also visit the National Park of Andasibe Mantadia. It is known for its rare orchids that flourish in the forest, its Indri Indri (lemurs) that you can see all year round as well as its amazing waterfalls. Before arriving in Andasibe, the runners will enjoy very diverse and surprising landscapes where both fauna and flora have a million faces.
In one sentence, what would you tell the readers of Ahotu Marathons to encourage them to take part in the International Marathon of Tana?
It is a beautiful course to add to your list of must-do runs. The Malagasy await you with their legendary hospitality! Running is an excuse for travelling and a very good way of meeting people.
Interview by Gilles Cabillet, director of the International Marathon of Tana. Gilles is a sports fanatic who has worked in this field for more than 15 years. He started his carrier in the car racing industry (F1, 24 Heures du Mans, WRC), then for several years as Marketing Director at NBA (National Basketball Association) in Europe, before joining the headquarters of Reebok Europe as Marketing Director. He then worked with various sports federations, as well as the 2012 London Olympic Games organizers.