TM’s Ryan at the Pisa Half Marathon

A new personal record

A few weeks ago, Ryan Spiteri from Transport Malta’s Small Ships Register participated in Pisa’s Half marathon. The Authority supported Ryan’s venture in a bid to encourage more employees in engaging in sports activities and thus help enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

The following is Ryan’s account of his participation.

Following my newly set record at the Żurrieq Half Marathon in November (1:32:23), I had decided that my next goal would be that of not only clocking a better half marathon time but to also achieve a milestone I had always desired in my running career; beating the 1h30m mark. With that in mind, I signed up for the Pisa Half Marathon and got back to the grindstone, training hard to attain this coveted result.

Although the last edition was characterised by considerably cold conditions, this year, the sun was shining bright on the historic town of Pisa. On race day, the conditions turned out to be more favourable than expected, giving me a much needed mental boost to stay focused, to pace myself and ensure optimal hydration and nutrition while racing. Up to the 18km mark, I had managed to maintain a steady 4:17/km pace and prospects of finishing the race in under 1h30 were promising. However, as I got closer to the city centre, time was ticking and I still could not see the renowned leaning tower where the finish line stood.

I could picture myself crossing the finish line to find out that I had missed the target by a mere few seconds. That is when I dug deep for what energy I had left and pushed through the last 2-3km at the fastest pace I could muster. After a series of corners along the streets of Pisa, there was the finish line, with the clock seconds away from turning 1:30:00. I sprinted for the last few metres, only to collapse in the finish area. The first aid team on site, coincidentally the Ordine di Malta, immediately took me under their care and left me under observation in their rescue tent.

While recovering, I was pleased to find out, from my personal watch readings, that although the race was slightly longer than the official half marathon distance, I had still managed to make it past the finish line in 1:29:59, a new personal record.

Later I found out that my official time was 1:29:55.

The celebrations were unfortunately soon marred by the unfortunate news of an athlete’s tragic passing. Another Maltese runner, also named Ryan, lost his life whilst dining with his friends a few metres away from the finish line.

Whilst I thank the Chairman’s office, my close friends and colleagues for their concerns at the time, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the Tonna family and all of my colleagues who during this festive season instead of celebrating, are grieving the loss of someone dear to them.

Next on the TM Athletics Calendar is the next race in the 5K Road Running Series taking place in Gozo on Wednesday 29th January 2020. Moreover, in June 2020 I will be joining my fellow athletes, Norbert Grech and Gianella Bugeja Persiano to represent Transport Malta at the 2020 Athens World Company Games.

TM teams in Super League Triathlon

A team from Transport Malta participated in the Super League Triathlon events held in Malta last month. They managed to rank fourth out of fourteen teams in the Corporate Enduro Event, missing the podium by just a few seconds. The Authority sponsored their participation.

What is the Super League Triathlon?

The event was first organised in 2017 and has become one of the most rated events in triathlon circles, attracting the best athletes from around the globe. Around 60 professional athletes took part, a number of whom with a very enviable trophy collection. Apart from the main races, athletes and newcomers to the sport compete in a number of other events. One of which is the corporate enduro, where our team competed.

The Corporate Enduro

The race consists of a 300m swim, a bike segment of 5 km and a run of 1.5km. This whole sequence is repeated another time. Each segment is run by a different athlete, relay style.

Karl Galea kicked off the race for TM’s team with the first swim, starting off well with the fourth time and handing the baton to Ryan Spiteri on the bike who placed third in his first segment. Dale Hamilton took over with the first run segment and handed the baton over to Ryan once again, who barely had time to rest before diving in for the second swim of the race. Carl Xuereb took over for the next bike segment with Norbert Grech ending our team’s race with the final run. Our team completed the race in 39 minutes and 14 seconds, 44 seconds behind the last spot on the podium.

After the race, all athletes remarked about the intensity of the race. It was a relatively short race but raced at intense speeds. There was no time for relenting or catching up, they had to push all the way, all the time. This is one of the selling factors of this series. It aims for intense races, improving the spectators’ experience and thus making the sport more popular.

The team that won the corporate enduro was led by Chris McCormack himself, one of endurance sport’s most iconic athletes, widely regarded as the best triathlete of his generation. He is Australian, won 250 international races and the Ironman World Championship twice. He also won an edition of the International Triathlon Union World Cup Series, the Triathlon World Championship and the Long Distance World Championship.

The Corporate Enduro team

Ryan Spiteri

Ryan is part of TM’s sports social committee and was one of the main protagonists in forming TM’s team. He had participated in the event last year, loved it and decided to go in with a whole team this year.

Ryan has been regularly competing in triathlon races for the past five years. He used to play rugby before. He trains all days of the week except one with a session in the morning and one in the evening.

Karl Galea

Karl was a successful Waterpolo player who played the game for 25 years. He used to train between 10 and 15 hours each week. He retired four years ago but came back from retirement to compete with TM’s team.

Dale Hamilton

Dale started running as a sport around four years ago. At first, he decided to take the plunge to lose some weight but soon got hooked and now he claims he’s addicted. He trains four times each week. “The satisfaction you feel after completing each race is great. The satisfaction is even greater when you manage to improve your time,” he claimed.

Carl Xuereb

Carl is a cyclist who competes in the national road cycling races and championships. He has been in the sport for 12 years and trains for about two hours every single day. The sport, he says, motivates him to be a better version of himself, it allows him to dedicate his resources wisely and to live a healthier lifestyle.

Norbert Grech

Norbert practised running since he was very young. He had to stop, only to restart again a few years ago. He trains for around two hours every single day. He claims that besides the enormous satisfaction you gain when practising this sport, you become more disciplined and your personality improves by leaps and bounds.

Besides the corporate enduro race, three Transport Malta employees competed in the 5Km run.

The 5km run team

Liz Markham

Liz is another social committee member who helped in organising TM’s participation. She took part in a number of competitive races and completed the half marathon three times in the past four years. She picked up running since she could do it anywhere at her own leisure. She loves the sport since it helps her meet people with a passion for running from all walks of life.

Mark Farrugia

Mark has also been enjoying the sports of running for the past three years. He claims it makes him stronger and helps him forget all the difficulties life brings about. It also allows him to eat more than he otherwise would. He trains six times a week, around eight hours in all.

Liam Reno Gatt

Liam is a football player for the local club Melita F.C. He has been playing the game since he was six years old. He trains at least 4 to 5 times each week. Playing football helps him with his attitude in life, “I never want to lose and I never give up”.

All athletes speak very highly of an active lifestyle. They encourage everyone to give it a go. Get some guidance and you will not regret it. They all look forward to the same event next year and possibly other opportunities throughout the year.

If you are interested in such events or are considering to take the plunge, get in touch with Transport Malta’s sport social committee on sports.committee.tm@transport.gov.mt

Pink October at Transport Malta

Transport Malta held a Pink October Awareness Day last week. 

Medical students offered various heald checks for Transport Malta Employees. In a dedicated room, students from the Malta Medical Students Association took blood samples, measured blood pressure and weighed TM employees to check the BMI and for diabetes, among others. 

Mrs Michelle Muscat from the Marigold Foundation visited Transport Malta’s offices in Lija and introduced two breast cancer survivors who shared their experience with cancer.  They encouraged all those present to keep on the lookout and perform check-ups to prevent cancer.

Transport Malta and General Workers Union sign two new Collective Agreements

Transport Malta and the General Workers Union this morning signed two new Collective Agreements. Both agreements, for Vessel Traffic Services and Flag & Port State Inspectors, cover the period 2016 – 2020.

Vessel Traffic Services Collective Agreement covers the conditions of work of both VTS supervisors and VTS officers. This agreement builds upon the previous one. It improves the salary conditions and introduces a new entry grade for VTS trainee, enabling them to benefit from specific training programs.

The new collective agreement consolidates further the strong commitment that Transport Malta has to nurture and develop the right skills and to continue attracting employees that would like to pursue a career at the VTS within the Ports and Yachting Directorate.

Flag & Port State Inspectors Collective Agreement is the first collective agreement to cover the Technical Unit on its own. The main objective of this agreement is to attract further the main resources required at the Inspectorate Unit and also to improve the salary conditions. The new collective agreement introduces a new junior grade, Junior Flag & Port State Inspector. This new agreement provides an opportunity for the employees who would like to further their career in Flag & Port State Inspectorate within the Merchant Shipping Directorate.

TM\’s Ryan Spiteri completed Alive Cycle Challenge

\"Ryan

Ryan Spiteri completed Alive Cycle Challenge in aid of Children’s cancer research 

Ryan Spiteri, a Ports and Yachting officer at Transport Malta, was one the 28 cyclists who participated in the fourth edition of the ‘RE/MAX ALIVE 2016 Cycling Challenge, cycling 1000 kms in seven days. This year the challenge was in aid of children’s cancer research and with the support of the Remax and Friends Foundation; Alive will also be furnishing an indoor and outdoor play area at the Pediatric Unit within Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre.  

This year marked Spiteri’s, fourth year in a row participating, sponsored by Transport Malta, having found out about the challenge through a cycling group on Facebook. The challenge itself involves cycling which is something Ryan is very passionate about, however what also interested him was that the funding was for the Maltese community. Spiteri, an avid triathlon participant, explained that the principles of a triathlon such as running, cycling and swimming differ to that of the challenge. For this experience, he had to forgo his swimming training and focus solely on cycling. When speaking about the highlights of the journey a particular memory came to Ryan’s mind, riding into St Peter’s square in Vatican City, in Rome. There were also the scenic routes, cycling from Croatia to Slovenia. One of the biggest challenges by far according to Mr Spiteri was the heat especially cycling through Italy and experiencing the different altitudes, with over 12,000m of elevation over seven days of cycling, up the Alps and other high mountains. 

\"IMG_3071_fu\"

Alive is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation set up by Nicky Camilleri, Elton Barry, Miriam Abela, Gerth Lapira and Lydia Borg in 2013. They aim to raise the status of health awareness and scientific research thus investing in long term gains. Alive organises philanthropic activities in order to collect donations to support projects based on the necessity of the current social and health environment. When asked what advice Spiteri would give to people interested in participating in the challenge, He said “I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially people who love cycling. But also to people who have never cycled before who are up for the challenge. We had people who had never ridden a bike and they successfully managed by sticking to the training schedule seriously and they successfully completed the challenge. Although it is not easy, it is achievable and can be a challenge for them as well.”

When asked to describe the challenge in just three words, Ryan, who turned 31 this week, said “tough, hot and rewarding”.  Keeping in the mind the goal and working as a group were two of the biggest sources for motivation for Ryan during the challenging times. Transport Malta offered their support for the organisation through a generous donation. Alive presented their record sum of  €100000 gathered from the 2015 edition to the Research Trust of the University of Malta (RIDT) to further the University’s specialised programme in cancer research for children on the 19th of June. \"Alive