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Seventh edition of the Seychelles popular Eco-Friendly Marathon proves to be a huge attraction for local and visiting athletes alike

Seventh edition of the Seychelles popular Eco-Friendly Marathon proves to be a huge attraction for local and visiting athletes alike (Forimmediaterelease.net) Early in the morning of Sunday, February 23, a large crowd and nearly 1,500 marathon runners gathered at the Beau Vallon Promenade and signaled the start of the 2014 edition of the annual Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon.

As athletes swarmed around the starting line beneath a bank of giant, blinking stop-watches and went through their warm up routine to the vibrant sounds of motivational music, the atmosphere spoke volumes of the rising stature of an event which began from the humblest of beginnings with its first edition in 2008.

Today`s Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon started off as the Eco-Healing Marathon, the brain-child of Seychelles` dynamic Honorary Consul in Korea, Mr. Dong Chang Jeong, and his assistant, Ms. Julie Kim, who over the years have poured their considerable energies into making the event the resounding success it has become in collaboration with the Seychelles Tourism Board and sponsors.

Since that time, slowly but surely, the event which features 5&10 km runs, and both full and half-marathons, has grown in stature to the point where the 2014 edition boasted no less than 1,465 participants, comprising 890 Seychellois and well over 500 foreign runners from a grand total of 35 nations.

The Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon is recognized internationally through the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) label. It is organized jointly by the National Sports Council, Seychelles Tourism Board, and INOCEAN M&C (a South Korean company headed by Mr. Dong Chang Jeong) which is also the main sponsor for the event.

Beginning in the cool of the early morning, the longer races kicked off at 0700 on a course that would take runners first to the north and northeast of the island, as well as Victoria and beyond, with the shorter 5&10 km runs and walk commencing an hour later and keeping the runners in the north between Bel Ombre and Glacis. It was Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who had the honor of opening this year`s Eco-Friendly Marathon as he fired the starter`s gun.

Judging by the impressive turnout and by the smiling faces of the participants which consisted of athletes of all ages, (including a couple pushing a pram containing their baby) the 7th edition of the Eco-Friendly Marathon was especially well-received and appreciated by athletes and spectators alike. Seychellois Simon Labiche registered his 6th overall win of the full marathon in a time of 3h03:15 with Swedish runner Anneli Sodergards the new woman`s champ in 3h48:30.

The event culminated with a special Korean evening at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort on the evening of Sunday, February 23, which doubled as a prize-giving ceremony for the marathon winners.

“I am delighted with the success of the Eco-Friendly Marathon,” enthused Korean Dong Chang Jeong, the event`s chief organizer, “and have ambitions to grow it to the point where we will have as many as 3,000 runners in future.”

On his part, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, said that the annual Eco-Friendly Marathon is the result of the partnership existing between the Ministry responsible for Sports and the Ministry responsible for Tourism. “Cooperation between Ministries continues to bring positive results for Seychelles. This marathon event sees the consolidation of sports tourism for Seychelles as it brings marathon enthusiasts from all over the world together to participate in the event they all like and appreciate. But what better place to run a marathon than in paradise?” Minister St.Ange said.

MEDIA CONTACT: seychellesupdatednews@googlemail.com

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