[WATCH] Athletes run 190km in 35 hours to fund migrant children’s education

First known attempt to run around Maltese coastline will raise money for books, technology and educational tools for migrant kids and young people in Malta

Patrick Tabone (left) and Claudio Camilleri
Patrick Tabone (left) and Claudio Camilleri

A hospitality consultant and a CEO are pounding the dusty trails across Malta and Gozo on July 25, covering 190km in 35 hours to help fund access to education for young refugees.

Claudio Camilleri, 43, and Patrick Tabone, 48, are making the first known attempt to run around the islands’ coastlines in the summer heat to raise €15,000 for JRS and Kopin to equip young migrants with the skills, education and training to be employable.

The ‘1Run 1Race’ feat was born from COVID-19 pandemic’s ability to disrupt the world’s plans, including those made by Camilleri and Tabone to attempt the Ultra Eiger Trail Alps in Switzerland.


Camilleri said: “We wanted to put all the training we had clocked to good use, so during one of our long runs we came up with a challenging ultra-trail run we could do here to serve as a catalyst to raise awareness and funds for a cause we both had at heart.”

Tabone adds: “We know that a lot of migrant kids and young people here in Malta don’t always have access to the books, technology and other educational tools that our own kids take for granted, so this is our little attempt at addressing that imbalance.”

JRS and Kopin run a specifically designed Education Support Programme (ESP) offering a number of packages to enable young migrants to access or continue pursuing their education, and the money raised will go towards tuition, tablets, laptops, books, and examination fees, among others.

The run started on Saturday, 25 July at 3:45am from Sliema’s Independence Gardens where Camilleri and Tabone will cover an extreme distance that is longer than either runner has ever attempted, and includes over 4.5km vertical elevations — the equivalent of climbing over 1,700 flights of steps.

Fuelled by fruit, marmite sandwiches, rice balls, a few sweet black coffees and several litres of water, the athletes will be backed by four support teams as they cover 150km in Malta and 40km in Gozo, ending back at Independence Gardens 35 hours later on July 26.

Although physically prepared for the challenge, the real possibilities of overheating, exhaustion, dehydration, not being able to take in enough food, cramps, or injuries could challenge their endurance.

“Mike Tyson said: ‘Everyone’s got a plan till they get punched in the mouth.’ We’ve trained and we’ve planned, but at some point in the run we will hit rock bottom. It might be in the middle of the night, when we’ve been running for 24 hours straight and we’re faced with an almost vertical climb to the top of Dingli Cliffs and another 70km to go after that… At times like that you have stop thinking and just concentrate on the next step,” Tabone said.

“The beneficiaries are the heroes of this initiative. These people have stamina and motivation that goes beyond the norm. They are ultra runners of life and this initiative is entirely dedicated to them because they deserve access to education to make sure they have the best chance to shape their future,” Camilleri said.

Donations may be made by visiting www.1run.mt. All the money collected will be going directly to JRS and Kopin.