Ambassador of the Maldives International Marathon, Milind Soman arrived in Maldives on Sunday.
The Indian supermodel and film star is set to take part in the marathon which will be held from March 8 to 9 in the reclaimed suburb of Hulhumale'.
He remarked that the event would foster local enthusiasm for running and would give foreigners reasons beyond the physical beauty of Maldives to visit.
Soman, aged 53 and visiting the country for the first time, expressed eagerness to experience running in Maldives, gain gratification from pleasant coastlines and witness underwater beauty.
“This trip is an extraordinary experience. I am delighted for the opportunity to visit the country, to travel, to dive, and to participate as a runner in the Maldives International Marathon,” articulated Soman.
“I love meeting with runners. Runners are very empowered people. I want to entice non-runners into getting involved in running. I believe it would happen through Maldives International Marathon", stated Soman while discussing his excitement for the upcoming marathon.
He elaborated that the “unforgettable” event would serve to make Maldivians more fitness-oriented and attract international runners to the country.
The full marathon race is set to begin at 0200 hours on March 8 and the half marathon will commence at 0530 hours on the same day. Meanwhile, the 10km run and 5km race are scheduled for 0630 hours and 1630 respectively.
The events for March 9 include three family races and the closing medal hand-over ceremony. 'Senior’s Power Walk', 'Kid’s Mile' 3.2km, 1.6km and 800-metre runs are the scheduled races for Saturday. The finisher party and the closing ceremony will take place at 1700 hours.
Excluding the 5km run, participant slots have been filled for the three races scheduled in the marathon which is intended to make Maldives a renowned destination for long-distance running and promote the country's sports tourism.
Every component of the marathon is linked to the preservation of Maldives' natural beauty. T-shirts and medals used during the race have been designed to depict the environment and marine life of Maldives.
Race Director Hussain Shujau stated that a world-famous celebrity like Soman was chosen as the international ambassador for Maldives International Marathon because the event would be an international promotion activity of the country. Shujau also highlighted Soman's involvement in physical fitness promotions as a factor in the decision.
In addition to running in the full marathon and 5km race, Soman will conduct a presentation on physical fitness in the race expo to be held on Thursday.
Soman had won four consecutive India National Swimming Championships since 1984 as well as earning a silver medal in the same year.
Four years after beginning to model, Soman gained fame in 1995 for his starring role in Alisha Chinai’s “Made in India” music video and subsequently launched his TV series and Bollywood film career.
After showing great promise as a swimmer, model and actor during his career in the Bollywood film industry, Soman is now solely dedicated to the promotion of running, physical health and fitness.
In 2012, he launched Pinkathon, one of India’s biggest running athletic events. The event created breast-cancer awareness and promoted physical well-being in women expanded vastly and currently is an activity to empower women, making a statement to families, the society and the entire country that women are an important component.
The Pinkathon was introduced to Maldives in 2018.
Soman also ran in 2017’s Ultrathon, an athletic event where participants must run across 520 kilometres during the course of three days. Soman, a champion of barefoot running was the only participant to complete the event barefoot.
Maldives International Marathon is a collaborative effort of famous local athletic group ‘iRunners’ and local event management company ‘Object’.