European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen travelled to Minsk for a special event to celebrate and further promote the Minsk Half Marathon and for talks ahead of an important season for Belarusian athletics in 2019.
Organised under the auspices of the Belarus Athletic Federation (BFLA), the Minsk Half Marathon is one of the fastest growing road races in Europe with 35,000 runners taking part across the programme in this year’s event. As a marker of the event’s growing reputation and prestige, the race can already boast a five-star certification from European Athletics Running for All and Bronze Label status by the IAAF.
The evening’s festivities at the Falcon Club Boutique Cinema started with videos which captured the atmosphere of this year’s race and was followed by a prize-giving ceremony in which prizes were presented to the winners of contests staged in conjunction with the race, including the best race-day costume, biggest banner, most motivational banner, best fan photo and best training video.
The Minsk Half Marathon was held for the first time in 2015 has had a profound impact in promoting running and fitness in the country with runners from 198 towns and cities taking part this year. The race also forms a key part of the Belarusian government’s strategy in sport, health and tourism.
“A lot of real emotions were shown in the videos, I am inspired and I want to congratulate Belarus Athletic Federation President Vadim Devyatovskiy and the whole team for the excellent organisation of the Minsk Half Marathon,” said Hansen.
“I also know the quality of the race itself is at the highest level, and the number of participants has grown to 35,000. I am surprised and delighted that 53 countries of the world took part in this great event this year.”
Hansen gave further praise to the Belarus Athletic Federation for their commitment to developing athletics at both an elite and a non-elite level and for helping to promote a culture of running in Belarus.
“Professional sport is very important but the masses are a big part of the sport and I am pleased to hear stories of the Minsk Half Marathon instilling a love of running in people. I thank the Belarus Athletic Federation, but I also thank all the sponsors who participated in the organisation of this major mass sporting event,” he said.
The Minsk Half Marathon takes place next year on 8 September.
With Belarus Sports Minister & Athletics Federation President in Minsk this afternoon pic.twitter.com/RxIqB9sqZy
— Svein Arne Hansen (@SvenPres) November 27, 2018
President Hansen also held further meetings with Devyatovskiy and the Minister of Sport and Tourism Sergey Kovalchuk on a range of topics including DNA (Dynamic New Athletics) which will form part of the programme of the second edition of the European Games in Minsk from 21-30 June. DNA will take place in the newly refurbished Dinamo Stadium which reopened earlier this year.
“The Belarusian Athletic Federation is one of the most active in Europe, it pays a lot of attention to all levels of athletics - from child to professional. Many young talented athletes have emerged in recent years: for example I was very pleased to present the medals to Elvira Herman and Maksim Nedasekau at the European Championships,” said Hansen.
He added: “I am also very impressed by the interest with which the President of Belarus and the Ministry of Sport and Tourism have taken in the development of our sport. With such support you can achieve very high results.”