Sport: The 10th edition of the ING Night Marathon brought a contagious party atmosphere to the capital over the weekend.
Photo: Steve Eastwood
Luxembourg City was transformed into a sea of bright orange on Saturday night with the 10th edition of the popular ING Night Marathon. With over 11,000 participants from more than 39 countries the 2015 marathon saw a 38% increase in registrations from 2014, cementing itself firmly on Luxembourg’s annual cultural calendar.
At the LuxExpo where the race officially began, the air was filled with anticipation, excitement and a few last minute nerves, “I’m getting a little scared now”, said Natalie, taking part in the team run for the first time, “but I know once I start running, I’ll get into the spirit of things!”
Many of the runners were quick to comment on the charged and invigorating atmosphere. “It’s a really great, lively party mood,” said Julie, originally from New York but now resident in Norway. “Norwegians tend to be a lot more reserved, but everyone here is super energetic and welcoming.”
João, originally from Portugal, was running the half marathon for the second time. “There is just a buzz about the city tonight,” he said. “It’s great just to be part of the experience!”
Thousands of supporters lined the marathon route, waving banners, shaking rattles and cheering on the tide of runners weaving their way around the course.
Musical entertainment was in abundance, with samba groups, brass bands and DJ sets urging the runners on and entertaining the spectators. Thionville’s popular Samba Band, playing in the place Guillaume, had both young and old swaying to the beat, whilst the “City Sight Seeing” bus parked at the Gëlle Frau was transformed into an outdoor nightclub for the evening.
Many competitors decided to use the marathon as an important opportunity to promote unanimity and raise funds for charities. The InterFaith run for a united world saw teams of runners from different faiths run together for a common goal. “By taking part in the InterFaith run, we are showing that individuals from different religious backgrounds can work together in unity”, explained Joachim, “an important message given current world conflicts.”
Christophe from Germany was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer 10 years ago and now takes part in the marathon to raise awareness of the disease. “To me the marathon is a bit like my own experience,” said Christophe. “It’s chilling, tough and at times you are utterly exhausted; but when you cross the finish line you know it was all worth it.”
Kenyans top competitive race
From a competitive perspective, the night belonged to Kenya, with John Komen the first male to cross the line at 2h13m55s and compatriot Tuei Naomi, the first female finisher at 2h34m23s.
Pierre Weimerskirch and Karin Schank were the first Luxembourg athletes to finish the marathon.