Project director and BII managing director (finance) Thila Nadason told the Malaysian media that this year’s marathon is in the sharing spirit of the bank.
“Sports have always been an important aspect in our CSR pillars, and this is one way we can promote healthy living. By engaging the young, we can adopt a meaningful approach to educating them. We also strive to help the Gianyar area, and this year we have given a total of US$32,000 (RM103,451) to all schools here to support their educational activities.”
She added that for the marathon, Indonesia has the largest number of participants, along with those from 43 other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kenya. “We are actively encouraging Bali folk to run with us as well,” she said.
The Gianyar marathon route has also recently been confirmed as one of the qualifying races for the world famous Boston Marathon. In addition to the full and half marathons, the BII Maybank Bali Marathon 2014 included a 10km run, a 5km wheelchair race, and a children’s sprint category of 100m and 450m. A total of US$154,000 (RM498,575) in cash prizes were offered to all winners.
Belgium-born Stany Appermont was the only participant on a wheelchair who signed up for the full marathon. Appermont, 51, has been on a wheelchair since the age of 20 due to a car accident. He moved to Bali in 1999 but never gave up his desire to run.
“I wake up at 5am to exercise every morning and can normally cover a distance of 40-70km each day in a bicycle specially-designed for me. I wanted to participate because I wanted to be a beacon of hope for everyone who is in a wheelchair like me. There are no difficulties – everything is merely in your head,” he said with conviction.
One of the over 200 Malaysian runners who took part in the marathon was Hafidz Mohd Zihim, 38. “Running in Bali is completely different from running in Kuala Lumpur because the village scenery here is calming. The children were amazing in doing their part to cheer on the runners,” he said.
First time marathon runner Made Widhiasti, 45, said she was impressed with the efficient organisation of the event. “The hydration points, the toilet stops, and the involvement of the village children… this was indeed a memorable experience for me,” said the mother of one who lives in Denpasar, Bali.