The Unlikely Champions of The Mdina Marble Marathon

The Starting Line

On a typically sunny and slightly too warm afternoon in Mdina, the ancient silent city was anything but quiet. A peculiar sporting event was about to unfold: the annual Mdina Marble Marathon. Locals and tourists alike lined the streets, ready to witness this historic competition that could only be the brainchild of someone who had enjoyed far too many kinnie the night before.

Meet the Contenders

Leading the pack was Carmenu, the reigning champ and self-proclaimed “Sultan of Swerve,” known for navigating the twisty Mdina alleyways at breakneck speeds. His arch-rival, Żeża, a feisty Sliema granny with a customized walking frame, claimed to have a secret strategy that would leave Carmenu in the dust—or rather, in the cobblestones.

In the underdog corner was Spiro, a Xlendi fisherman with a peculiar talent for marble-rolling—a skill developed during long bouts of boredom at sea. He’d fashioned special marble-shooting shoes that had become the talk of Gozo, and he was ready to unleash them on the Maltese mainland.

Twists, Turns, and Tikka!

The referee—a retired traffic policeman who still wore his sunglasses even in the shade—blew his whistle, and they were off! Marble madness ensued as marbles clicked and clacked down the lanes. The competitors had to dodge tourists munching on pastizzi and navigate around street vendors selling ħobż biż-żejt.

But wait! Kif? A rogue band of rabble-rousing rabbits (probably escapees from a nearby rabbit stew cooking class) hopped onto the course, causing a commotion. Carmenu swerved majestically, Żeża powered through with her frame’s built-in horn, and Spiro… well, Spiro slipped on the signature ġbejniet from his own lunchbox.

The Unthinkable Upset

“Uwejja! I can’t believe what I’m seeing,” cried the commentator as the marbles approached the finish line.

Just as Carmenu was about to claim victory, Żeża’s secret strategy was unleashed. With a mighty cackle, she flipped a switch on her walking frame, deploying a mini jet engine that whooshed her ahead. But it was Spiro who had the last laugh. A lucky bounce off a stray cat (who seemed quite unbothered by the ordeal) sent Spiro’s final marble soaring ahead to narrowly take the win.

The Aftermath

The crowd erupted into cheers and claps as Spiro, in disbelief, was hoisted up by the locals. His marble-shooting shoes became the stuff of legend, forever enshrined in Maltese folklore.

Carmenu, a good sport at heart, laughed off his loss, and Żeża, whose jet engine had sputtered out just short of glory, vowed to come back stronger next year, perhaps with a new gadget or two.

The Taste of Victory

That evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon, the spirited competitors and their fans gathered at a nearby taverna to celebrate with a feast of fenek and pints of cisk. Spiro, Carmenu, and ŀeża clinked glasses and shared laughs, already plotting for next year’s madness.

And so concluded another thrilling chapter in the great Maltese sporting annals. The Mdina Marble Marathon was, and always would be, a race that encapsulated the quirky charm of this island nation—charmingly haphatic yet full of heart. The Times of Mela salutes the fearless competitors and their marbles, both the ones they rolled and the ones they’ve clearly lost. Till next year, dear readers, and may your own marbles always roll true.

Mela, for all the surprising moments in sports, stick with us! Times of Mela—where the news is as unpredictable as a marble on Maltese pavement.