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From Start to Finish: Winners of the recent Malta Marathons share their stories

Each year the Malta marathon attracts many runners from across the world, who come to push their physical limits and find out what they're capable of achieving. This year's race was no exception; dozens of stories emerged from participants who conquered the challenging but beautiful course.

As these inspiring athletes share their experiences of going from start to finish, we are all reminded of what can be accomplished with hard work and determination. As a brand at the forefront of supporting athletes from Malta, Eurosport are proud to see two sponsored athletes emerge as winners in two categories.

Congratulations to Jemima Farley (JF) & Luke Micallef Perconte (LMP). Jemima finished as the first female in the full marathon by running a personal best time of 2:36”51. 

Luke finished as Winner of the Malta Half Marathon, setting a Course Personal Record of 1:06”55.


We sat down with Jemima and Luke for a chat to discuss their journeys and how they achieved this feat.

Eurosport: Hello, and congratulations on your win! Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves and how you got into running?

JF: I started running because of my dad; he was an avid runner and took part in different races, so that’s where I first got introduced. You can say my dad was the inspiration.

He registered me for my first marathon race in Amsterdam at 16 or 17 years old. So that’s where it all started, and I haven't stopped since.

LMP: It was a hobby. First, I did it for leisure. I was always into sports, football in particular. I had a friend who was a licenced coach then, and we used to go to the race course in Marsa. Then over time, we started to focus on running, building my endurance levels from when I was 21.

At age 26, I turned pro and haven’t looked back since.

Eurosport: What was the course like, and how did you approach preparation for the big day?

JF: I started training for the marathon fully in December since the aim was to ensure I arrived on the day in peak shape. I pushed myself in the early periods of my prep[aration but gradually reduced the intensity as I got closer to D-Day.

The race for me was in two parts; I found the first half of it a bit challenging, I was running behind a group of three guys and using them as a windbreak (laughs), but later I fell back and had to refocus and set a target of just competing for each kilometre in good times.

LMP: I knew I would participate in the marathon this year, so I trained normally. But in the final weeks of the event, I ensured I was getting enough sleep, paying even more attention to my diet, and just preparing my mind for the big day. The goal for me was to relax my mind and give my best on race day.

Eurosport: What will you say to someone who isn’t a keen runner and looking to take it up as a hobby or maybe run a marathon one day:

JF: What I would tell them is pretty simple; the first thing is to determine what you like by doing a few sessions first, don’t rush into doing  5K runs; take it easy and build consistency.

LMP: Enjoy it; that's the key part. Don’t rush your body; build slowly. Work with a coach to get guidance if you want to run a marathon. In summary, just have a plan and stick to it, and be patient with yourself.


Eurosport's guide to preparing for a marathon: Ready, Set, Run! The Ultimate Guide to Prepare for a Marathon

Eurosport: During the race, what goes through your mind? How do you focus when the body is starting to get tired?

JF: This is something that would happen to athletes, and people have different ways of getting through it. I listen to podcasts to distract me, so I'm not thinking of running constantly; it keeps me focused.

The race also finished in Sliema, a course I know well, so that familiarity helped a little.

LMP: Experience plays a part here; for me, I always used to get tired when I had just started running; I would run the first laps well and begin to tire. But with time and more races under my belt, I have learned how to pace myself, not go too fast at the start and trust that my preparations will get me through.

Eurosport: How important is your running gear on race day?

JF: Asides from training, your running gear plays a vital role in performance. I wore the adidas adizero Pro 3 shoes, which are incredibly comfortable and provide good running balance. 



Shop adidas Adizero Pro 3 Running Shoes

LMP:  Your gears play a big part on race day. My go-to shoe on race day is the adidas Adizero Pro 2.

0138549-adizero-adios-pro-20-shoesShop adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.

Eurosport: What was the feeling like when you crossed the finish line and realised all your hard work had paid off and you won the race?

JF: Relief! Joy and elation at finishing and winning the race; the best part was seeing my husband and two kids cheering for me at the finish line. Also felt proud of running my personal best.


Image Credit: Jemima Farley/Facebook

LMP: It was an incredible sensation! Finally, I had done it. I had made good runs before, but this was my first win in this event. I was grateful to my coach.


Image Credit: Luke Micallef/Facebook

Eurosport: What's next for you? Do you have any upcoming races you are preparing for?

JF: Trail Running, looking to take that up, so I’m preparing for that. I’ve got the XTERRA race in Gozo, which is a 50K distance - looking forward to that running in the serenity and calm of Gozo.

LMP: The focus now is preparation for The 2023 Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE Malta) in Malta. I am looking to run a few races abroad to get the qualification times for this event. I’m looking forward to it, knowing it has been hosted here in Malta and looking forward to performing well in front of our home crowd.

Eurosport: What advice would you give aspiring runners or ordinary people running out there?

JF: Anyone can run or even win a marathon by being consistent with their training and fueling their body well. The most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing. 

LMP: Start running shorter distances, take it easy with yourself and never give up.

Eurosport: All the best in your upcoming events, and congratulations once again

JF: Thank you!

LMP: Thank you, my pleasure.

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