Jakarta proceeds with
plan to hold its own marathon

The Tourism and Creative Economic Ministry is planning to organize the Jakarta Marathon 2013 on Oct. 27, which, it is claimed, will be the largest athletic and tourist event in Asia.

"The Jakarta Marathon will attract many visitors as it will be supported by the tourism industry in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta," Deputy Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sapta Nirwandar said at the Jakarta Marathon launch event on Monday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Nirwandar said the Jakarta Marathon 2013, with support from the Jakarta administration and Youth and Sports Ministry, is expected to attract runners from at least 40 countries.

"I believe that the Jakarta Marathon in 2013 can be compared to the ones in Chicago [US] and Paris [France]," he said.

The Jakarta Marathon 2013 would be held in conjunction with Jakarta's 486th anniversary and the event would help to highlight the beauty of Indonesia, said Nirwandar.

"Currently, Jakarta is famous only for its floods. But through the Jakarta Marathon, we can help it become a world-class tourist destination," he said.

According to Nirwandar, sports and culture were an effective combination in promoting a country's tourist destinations; hence, with the Jakarta Marathon, Indonesia could promote its sporting culture as well as increase its tourism potential.

Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo welcomed the announcement of a Jakarta marathon, which will be organized as an annual event.

According to Jokowi, the Jakarta Marathon's route will pass through famous tourist sites in the city, including the National Monument (Monas), the Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta Cathedral, the Old Town area, Hotel Indonesia Boulevard, the Pemuda (Youth) Monument, the Dirgantara (Sky) Monument and the Bung Karno Stadium.

The Jakarta Marathon 2013 will be divided into four categories for participation by professional and fun runners, namely the full 42 kilometer marathon, a half marathon of 10km, a 5km run, and a children's sprint.

"All of these will be combined with a cultural festival and street carnival," said Jokowi. (asw)

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