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Ultra marathon aimed at promoting Lake Toba, Samosir

Masajeng Rahmiasri
Masajeng Rahmiasri

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, September 4, 2016  /  12:33 pm
Ultra marathon aimed at promoting Lake Toba, Samosir

The race will begin at Sitio-tio Hotel on Samosir Island in North Sumatra and end at the Menara Pandang observatory, said to be the best spot for viewing Lake Toba. (Shutterstock/File)

For a second time, North Sumatra is set to host the Samosir Lake Toba Ultra Marathon on Sept. 17.

The race will begin at Sitio-tio Hotel and end at the Menara Pandang observatory, said to be the best spot for viewing Lake Toba. 

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Up to 1,050 runners from 16 countries will join the competition, which is divided into four categories: 50 kilometers, 25 km, 10 km and 5 km, with a winning prize of 125 million rupiah (US$9,468).

“Hopefully, many photos will be taken of the race and shared through social media to boost tourism in Samosir and support the local economy,” said Edwind Sinaga, promotion head of Horas Halak Hita ( H3 ), the non-profit community that organized the event. 

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“If a participant is to spend Rp 2 million on a night, then the area will rake in around Rp 4 billion from the 1,000 people staying for at least two nights for the event,” he said, citing hotel fares, food and beverages and souvenirs as the main sources of income.

He said the organizer had deliberately limited the number of participants for convenience. “We set the limit at only around 1,000 people due to the infrastructure capacity, to maintain the quality of the event,” he explained. “But the rise from only 250 participants last year to around 1,050 or even 1,500 people this year is already a significant increase for us."

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Several government officials will reportedly join the race, including Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman Thomas Lembong and Financial Services Authority (OJK) chairman Muliaman Hadad.

H3 is mostly run by people working in the financial industry. Around 40 percent of the members are of North Sumatra’s Batak ethnic group. In addition to the ultra marathon, H3 has held other sport events this year to promote tourism in the region, such as  cycling event Toba GranFondo, a fun walk and golf competition. (kes)