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September 3, 2018

PAF chief honours Karakoram Marathon winners


September 3, 2018

Islamabad: Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan gave away medals and trophies to the first, second and third place male and female winners for both the 42km and 21km segments of the First PAF-Serena Hotels Karakoram Marathon.

In the 42km race, Aslam Khan from Ghizar Gilgit clinched the first position and local resident Ishaq Khan remained runner-up, while the third position went to Ubaid Ur Rehman of Gilgit. In the women's category, the foreigners dominated the race and won the first three top positions.

Caroline Drew of the UK stood first, Canadian Heather Lee second and Hungarian Edit Kiss third. In the 21km race, Shahid Ali got the first position, Adnan Khan and Nazar Shah second and third respectively.

In the same category for women, Nadia Rahim outpaced rivals, while Kokab Sarwar and Sobia Ali trailed behind at second and third positions. A brief video compilation of the key moments of the high altitude marathon was shown. Naltar, the stunning valley in Gilgit District situated at over 11,300 feet above sea level, was the location for the high-altitude full marathon (42.2km) and half-marathon (21.1km). The compilation will be followed by a documentary of the event showcasing the entire Marathon experience.

Mr. Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels, said, “I was touched by the glimpses of the marathon that we all shared. This country provides beautiful spaces, scenic views and hospitable people, and we must appreciate the immense contribution of the Pakistan Air Force in taking this initiative to project the right image of Pakistan.”

A total of 32 foreigners, 40 PAF athletes, 30 runners from Gilgit Baltistan Scouts, 18 locals and 7 from other parts of the country participated in the marathon along with the marathon globetrotters from 24 countries. Many of the runners have broken world records and won accolades globally.

Mr Boolani added that the 32 foreign athletes will be ambassadors of Pakistan. "One of the best aspects was that the youngest participant was ten years old and the oldest was 80 years young."

He said Serena entered into that form of diplomacy to provide a platform to the young talent in Pakistan that needed handholding and encouragement to excel. "Our association began some five years ago with squash, and since then we have worked together to promote skiing and now this marathon and over the years we have brought an increasing number of foreign sportspeople and athletes to Pakistan.”

The Serena Hotels sponsored the event as part of its Adventure Diplomacy initiative that encourages human engagement with Nature in ways that test physical prowess, endurance and commitment.

Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said, “It gives me great pleasure to be among world renowned athletes from all over the globe. The participation of world record holders, men and women of all age brackets, from around the globe made this event even more significant.

"I am grateful to the international athletes from 24 friendly countries who have participated in this event which took place in one of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere in the world. I hope you have enjoyed the picturesque northern areas of Pakistan and will carry fond memories of your stay with us.”

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