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Old 07-10-13, 11:57 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Sri Lankan of all five global marathons on show

Sri Lankan of all five global marathons on show

By Ravi Ladduwahetty

A Sri Lankan born collegiate sportsman now a US permanent resident in Houston Texas who has run in all five major global marathons will be on show at the 13th Sri Lanka Marathon to be flagged off tomorrow at Torrington Square at 6 am, ending in Negombo.

The striking feature is that he is 57 years of age now. Born in 1956 and a product of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia where he was double coloursman at athletics and hockey in 1973, Abdul Hameed Mohamed Thowfeek has run in New York in 2008 in three hours and 52 minutes, Chicago in 2009 in three hours and 35 minutes, London in 2010 three hours in 45 minutes, Boston in 2011 in three hours and 47 minutes and the final one in Berlin in 2012 in his personal best of three hours 32 minutes.

He plans to run the Colombo Marathon tomorrow as his last, but is seriously contemplating running the Tokyo Marathon which has been listed as the latest to the list this year. “This might be my bucket race,” he quipped.
He commenced long distance running in 2000 just as a mode to keep fit and ran in some of the relatively smaller marathons from 2001 starting from 2001 at Houston which he did twice. The next was the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, the Oklahoma City Marathon, the St. George Utah Marathon, the Huntsville Marathon and the California Marathon as his last.

“Running in the marathons worldwide has been a very nostalgic experience and the idea is to take part in all these and not with the intention of winning. These are events that numbers as large as 30,000 to 40,000 participate where all the activities in those global cities come to a standstill”, he told the Ceylon Today in an exclusive one- on- one interview at the Hilton Colombo on Thursday. Reminiscing his past five global races, he said that the New York marathon was a beautiful one where over 40,000 ran with him and there was cheering all the way through the five boroughs- Stasen Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan. “Parallely and correspondingly, that was akin to running from Colombo 1 through to Colombo 15”, he quipped. Chicago was the coldest marathon he ran with 38,000 people and Thowfeek was among the 200 runners who finished the race. Next was the Boston Marathon which is deemed as the oldest marathon in the world, now in its 115th year and he ran in the 112th event.

“It starts in a city of Hopkins, in downtown Boston and finishes there which is called a loop to loop race. This is one of those races where the 18,000 runners outnumber the populace of the city which is at 16,000 and this is the most prestigious of the marathon majors,” he said. The London marathon was through the entire city of London which starts at Greenwich Park through the London Tower Bridge and the River Thames which ends up at Buckingham Palace.

The next was the Berlin marathon which is also a loop where one starts the race and finishes in the same place and this is indeed a very large and wide track unlike the London marathon where people trip and fall, he mused. This race goes through an integral part of the city where it starts and finishes with the Gates of Brandenberg, which is the point which separates the East and West Germany, he said.

Thowfeek also said that it was one sport which relieved stress, especially in current times where everything was technology-related and running was so simple. Thowfeek recalled some of his classmates at S. Thomas’ College, Bandarawela including retired Major General Niranjan Asoka Ranasinghe who was also later Trinity College’s first basketball captain in 1974 and Rugby Lionsman in 1975.

He also was at S. Thomas’ Guruthalawa and finally at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, where he had classmates like the 1974 Thomian cricket captain Turney Mohamed and hooker cum rugby skipper Peter Vanniasingam, whose Thomian Rugby XV side was routed by centre and Lionsman Chan Ye Ching’s Trinitians by the all time and yet unbroken series record of 70/8. The team also had retired Major General Niranjan Asoka Ranasinghe playing as flanker. Trinity scored an avalanche of 11 goals and a solitary try and the only eight points that the Thomians scored were two pushover tries that props S. Anandakrishnan and Stephan Da Silva scored by mere weight off five-yard scrums where four members of the eight-member Trinity pack lacked the weight, being members of the Boarding house. Interestingly, Turney Mohamed was also the losing Thomian skipper to Trinity cricket and Rugby Double Lionsman Rohan Perera’s team by an innings and three runs at Mount Lavinia. Rohan was also the Lock Forward in that invincible 1974 Trinity rugby XV.

Thowfeek also recalled a race which he ran – the 4X100 metres relay final of the All Island Track and Field Championship meet held at St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya with the legendary Priyaraj Lakmal Munasinghe (1975 STC Rugby captain, Athletics Vice Captain,. Head Prefect and winner of the much coveted Victoria Gold Medal for the Best Allround Student, later Havelocks and Sri Lanka Centre) “There was a tragedy at the race where we dropped the baton between me and PL and we lost the race after leading at one stage”, he reminisced.

Thowfeek, who passed out as a Chartered Accountant while in Sri Lanka, later was Accountant with the Holiday Inn in Colombo and moved on to the Holiday Inn in the Gulf and later the US. Today he is the Managing Director/CEO of a company which provides hotel services in Texas.
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Last edited by sriyanj; 20-05-15 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 25-05-15, 08:05 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Our own "Marathon Man" Thowfeek 'Takes Colombo by Road' !

From: Manilal De Mel <manilaldemel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM
Subject: Fwd: Our own "Marathon Man" Thowfeek 'Takes Colombo by Road' !

Subject: Our own "Marathon Man" Thowfeek 'Takes Colombo by Road' !

Colombo Marathon - '13
Our very own " Marathon Man" - Thowfeek, after having successfully run the World's Top 5 - Boston, Chicago, NY, London & Berlin, came back home to "Mother Lanka" to run the Colombo Marathon- 2013, before he finally 'hangs his running shoes for good'.

Thowfeek did extremely well today at the Colombo Marathon by successfully completing the full marathon course of 42.2 Km. in 5 hours and 20 minutes and also coming within the top 10 in the veterans' category ( over 50s') . This is a notable achievement by any standard, considering Colombo's blistering heat, humidity and other constraining local factors, when compared with the international standard marathons. But the Thomian grit and amazing will power in him was able to overcome all those obstacles.

He modestly attributes his success to the over whelming support and encouragement he received from a well - organised core support group, comprising of family and friends, including his classmates from the Class of '71 - Fazal, Bella and Manilal.

"De Mel Maluwa" was desperately struggling to keep pace the first 10-15 km. by confirming he was indeed a "fish out of water' on terra firma!
However, young Bella - now a marathon cyclist did a much better completing over 15 km when one of his Achilles Heels suddenly gave way due to wearing totally inappropriate foot wear!

Congratulations Thowfeek from the "Class of '71" and please keep running, running and running, like a typical "Thomian Forrest Gump"!

Esto Perpetua

(Colombo marathon photos are attached below)
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