The Great Mdina Marathon Mix-Up

Marathon Madness in the Silent City

In the typically tranquil streets of Mdina, the unthinkable had happened. The annual marathon, a beacon of sweat and sportsmanship, was about to start under the watchful eyes of the city’s ancient bastions.

Participants lined up, stretching in their colorful gear, many of them fixated on the promise of post-race ħobż biż-żejt waiting at the finish line. Spirits were high, and so were the stakes—with the winner set to be crowned Malta’s “Harrier of the Year,” a title that came with a year’s supply of pastizzi, no lesser prize for a true Maltese athlete.

Characters on the Run

Among the racers was one Carmelo, a local butcher, renowned for his ability to chase after stray chickens with the grace of a gazelle. Then there was Rita, the librarian from Gozo, who had trained by running between bookshelves and was now determined to ‘check-out’ first place.

Plot Twist in the Starting Blocks

As the starting pistol fired, chaos broke loose. A stray dog, Sausage by name and nature, had wandered onto the course, chasing a mischievous cat with an uncanny resemblance to the Maltese Falcon. The runners, half of whom followed Sausage, inadvertently embarked on a wild zigzag chase through the labyrinthine streets.

Turning Maltese Streets into a Comedy Sketch

Unbeknownst to the athletes, Sausage led them on a merry dance around Valletta instead of Mdina. Tourists snapped photos while some runners stopped for selfies by The Triton Fountain, mistaking it for the midway water station. Others, seeing a queue outside a nearby pastizzeria, ducked in for a mid-race snack, their hunger for victory momentarily replaced by one for ricotta-filled pastries.

An Interactive Apology

“We wholeheartedly apologize for the marvellous mishap at today’s event,” the race organizer, Benny, stated in a Facebook live post that quickly went viral. “In lieu of a traditional finish line, let’s embrace the Maltese spirit and convene at the Pub in St. Julian’s for a round of drinks, on us! Uwejja, everyone’s a winner today!”

A Reward with a Maltese Twist

You see, in Malta, we turn muddles into merry moments, and so the Mdina Marathon became an impromptu pub crawl. With every racer declared a winner, the supposed athletes traded running shoes for dancing ones, accompanied by the beats of a local ġanna (guitar).

“Mela, this is the best race ever!” Carmelo exclaimed, his voice slightly slurred, his hand gripping a Cisk beer rather than a trophy. Rita, now adorned with a garland of festoon lights, beamed beside him, holding her certificate made hastily from a beer coaster. “Kollox is alright when you’ve got good company and good times to share.”

The Final Sprint

As night fell over the Maltese archipelago, the stories of the Mdina Marathon Mix-Up spread faster than Sausage on the scent of rabbit stew. It was a tale of unexpected turns, solidarity found in shared missteps, and, most importantly, the unfailing ability of the Maltese to find joy in jest.

The Times of Mela now had a new Maltese sporting event to chronicle: one that began as a race but finished as a reminder that sometimes life’s richest rewards aren’t at the finish line, but in the laughter shared along the way.

What’s Next?

Stay tuned as we bring you live coverage from the rabbit stew eating contest in Gozo next weekend. Will it run more smoothly than the marathon? With us, you never really know. Mela, brace yourselves!