Yannick Rinne, Lisa Bezzina headline podium in first 2016 Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club 5k Road Running Race

The first day of summer was an appropriate day to inaugurate the first race of Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club 5k Road Running Race Series, which forms part of the Club’s extensive Summer of Sport Race Calendar.

 (L-R)  Keith Galea (2nd)  Yannick Rinne (1st) Matthew Cutajar (3rd)
(L-R) Keith Galea (2nd) Yannick Rinne (1st) Matthew Cutajar (3rd)

A fresh breeze welcomed the one hundred forty- four athletes who signed up for the challenge course on the Mtarfa By-Pass. 

In what was a replay of last year’s edition, an international athlete was first to cross the finish line beating Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club’s Keith Galea, overall winner of the 2015 edition and touted as one of the favourite to win.

Keith Galea was first to shoot off from the start line, however from the onset of the race it was evident that a hard battle was going to ensue between him and LSF Muenster athlete Yannick Rinne, who narrowed the gap from the very first kilometre.  Hot on their heels where Stefan Azzopardi and Shaun Galea (Birkirkara St. Joseph) who kept a consistent distance throughout the course. 

As the finish line approached, Rinne’s strength could be seen when he crossed the finish line in a time of 16 minutes and 9 seconds, beating Galea by twenty-nine seconds. Third place was clinched by St. Patrick’s A.C Matthew Cutajar who fended off Azzopardi and Galea’s attempts for the last place on the podium, clocking a time of 16 minutes and 47 seconds. 

(L to R)   Angele Satariano (2nd)  Lisa Bezzina (1st) Francesca Arrigo (3rd)
(L to R) Angele Satariano (2nd) Lisa Bezzina (1st) Francesca Arrigo (3rd)

The female category saw a sharp increase in participation, familiar and new faces joined the foray and the chase for top placings was going to be a hard fought campaign.  Overall winner of the 2015 edition Rita Galea (Mellieha AC), who gave a relatively consistent performance, was no match for Pembroke Athleta’s Lisa Bezzina who won the females race in a time of 17 minutes and 44 seconds, beating her personal best time by a bit less than a minute.

Bezzina has been on a roll, producing some noteworthy achievements and adding a number of accolades to her race CV. Bezzina won the recently held National Mountain Running Championships, breaking the course record in the process and achieving a very respectable third place in the 3,000m race in Athletics Small States Championships.  Second female was Angele Satariano, who registered a substantial improvement on the previous year’s times, completing the course in 18 minutes 30s seconds. Third placed was Ladies’ Running Club athlete Francesca Arrigo who makes a welcome return to the podium after having missed out podium placings in the 2015 edition. 

The next race of the Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club 5k Road Running Race Series will take place on Tuesday 19th July at 19:00hrs on the Mtarfa by Pass.  Athletes can still register for this race, either online - http://www.bkarastjoseph.com or up to forty-five minutes before the race on the day.

All results can be found on http://www.bkarastjoseph.com/index.php?id=37

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