ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 46

Marathon man is lonely now

National Marathon runner and one of the biggest promoters of the sport, K.A. Karunaratne bade adieu when he faced an untimely death at Veliveriya along with other prominent sports personnel and Highways Minister, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, last Sunday.
The Sunday Times recaptures here one of Karunaratne’s achievements the way it unfolded seventeen years ago when our reporter Marlon Fernandopulle was at the Sugathadasa Stadium, along with his cameraman Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi to freeze that moment which was a few days before he won the marathon gold and the 10,000 metre gold medals at the SAF games held in Colombo.

Karunaratne finishing the national marathon 17 years ago. The image was re-photographed by J. Weerasekera

This is a clipping from The Sunday Times edition of June 17 1991.

Only the long distance runner knows the loneliness he undergoes while on a run. One he takes the lead he is often worried whether another runner, faster than he, will overtake him. Will he be able to keep up that scorching pace? What if he collapses? What if the treacherous road, with all the rain and mud, lets him down? These are some of the questions which faced ‘marathon man’ K.A. Karunaratne as he splashed through rain, mud and slippery conditions underfoot to win the National Marathon at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

Karunaratne who clocked 2:20:58 is certain to bag the gold medal at the SAF Games. The games record which stands at 2:18: could have been bettered by Karunaratne if not for the adverse weather conditions experienced throughout the run.

Speaking to The Sunday Times Karunaratne’s coach Mr. Derwin Perera said: “The rains were a major problem. The wet surface prevented a proper grip. Moreover, Karunaratne was running unchallenged during the later half of the race/ If not for these two reasons, Karunaratne could have achieved a much better timing.”

When asked about Karunaratne’s chances at the SAF Games Perera replied; “He has a definite chance pf winning the gold medal.”

According to Perera, Karunaratne will participate in an International Marathon in New Zealand in September before starting his final training programme for the SAF Games.

Karunaratne who is a sergeant in the Sri Lanka Army attributed his success in the enduring event to the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Hamilton Wanasinghe and his colleagues in the Armoured Service Corps especially Lt.Col.Bandaratileke and Lt.Col.Charles. “Their contributions and encouragement helped me all along, “said Karunaratne.

Commenting on the SAF Games, Karunaratne said, that he is determined to win his event and bring honour and glory to his country. “I am eagerly looking forward to the event as I will be running before my home crowd.” The dedication and determination with which Karunaratne is training today makes him one of Sri Lanka’s brightest prospects for a gold medal at the Games.

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