Saudi Sports for All Federation welcomes more than 20,000 participants for 2024 Riyadh Marathon
- The marathon saw competitors from 125 nationalities, with a record of more than 60% Saudi nationals
- The Riyadh Marathon was sponsored by a number of key partners, including Saudi Awwal Bank, ROSHN, PepsiCo, ASICS, and Al Arabiya
- A total of US$197,000 was awarded in cash prizes to professional race winners
Ain Alalam – Rashad Iskandrni
More than 20,000 male and female competitors from 125 countries, including Saudi Arabia, took part in the third edition of the Riyadh Marathon this weekend. The numbers signify an increase over the previous year of more than 33%, with 15,000 people running in 2023. Organized by the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Sport, the Saudi Arabian Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and the Saudi Arabian Athletics Federation, the Riyadh Marathon welcomed people of all ages and abilities for the event held on February 10.
For the first time, the start and finish line, and the accompanying Marathon Village, were located next to Kingdom Arena and Boulevard World, with the previous editions at King Saud University. From here, runners of all ages and abilities were able to compete in four races – the full marathon, comprising 42.2km; the half marathon of 21.1km; the 10km; and the family-focused 4km race. Both amateur and experienced runners took part, with a record number of female participants, exceeding 7,200.
The full breakdown of runners shows 682 taking part in the full marathon; 3,028 in the half marathon; 7,938 in the 10km; and 8,446 in the 4km run. Of the total numbers, 64% were male, with 36% female.
During an exclusive awards ceremony, SFA President HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud presented the professional winners of the marathon and half marathon with their prizes, alongside SFA Managing Director Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini.
The three winning participants in the women’s elite 42.2km segment all hailed from Ethiopia. Badane Bedatu Hirpa won the women’s elite marathon, Desta Nigist Muluneh came in second place, with Jebesa Zenebu Fikadu taking third place. Representing Kenya, Kigen Wilfred Kirwa won the men’s elite marathon, followed by Tilahun Abe Gashahun of Ethiopia in second place, and El Ghouz Anouar of Morocco in third place.
First place athletes in the elite marathon races for men and women were awarded prizes of US$30,000 each, with US$20,000 for second place, and US$10,000 for those in third. Elite runners in the marathon were awarded cash prizes all the way up to 10th place, with the first five men and women elite runners in the half marathon receiving awards, starting with US$5,000 for first place.
SFA President HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud said: “The third edition of the Riyadh Marathon saw its biggest number of participants yet. It shows that our efforts to encourage all members of society within the Kingdom to engage in sports and become more physically active are working. In line with the mandate of the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative, events such as this are building a healthier, happier population. And with increasing numbers of participants from abroad, we are raising Saudi Arabia’s profile as a sporting nation.”
SFA Managing Director Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini said: “The resounding success of this year’s Riyadh Marathon stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the SFA towards fostering inclusivity and vitality within our nation. The remarkable figure of 36% female participation underscores our concerted efforts to empower women through sports, and help to realize the ambitious goals of Saudi Vision 2030. It’s truly gratifying to see female athletes celebrated and rewarded alongside their male counterparts, symbolizing a pivotal shift towards gender equality. This milestone achievement not only reaffirms the transformative influence of sports in Saudi Arabia but also heralds a brighter, healthier future for our society.”
The 2024 Riyadh Marathon was supported by a range of leading entities, including presenting partner Saudi Awwal Bank, and headline sponsors ROSHN, ASICS, PepsiCo, Twauniya, Genesis, and Al Arabiya. The event was also sponsored by JPMorgan, Hisamitsu, Activia, L’Oréal, GSK, CALO, Kudu, Delta Sports, and MDLBeast.
In line with the SFA’s goals, structured by Vision 2030 and the Quality of Life Program objectives, the Riyadh Marathon brought thousands together to celebrate physical activity in the country, and crucially promoted fitness as a key aspect of Saudi Arabia’s social fabric.
Held every year since 2022, the Riyadh Marathon is considered the first full official marathon to be held in the Kingdom. From the outset, it has been a World Athletics Elite Label Road Race.