The second edition of the Zaporizhstal Half Marathon, a five-star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All, brought the curtain down on another successful year for the expanding Run Ukraine Running League on Sunday (28).
Three weeks after a record 11,600 runners took part in the Kyiv Marathon, 1700 runners representing eight countries - and cheered by 5000 spectators lining the route - tackled half the classic distance in Zaporizhzhia, an event which is organised by Run Ukraine and supported by the Zaporizhzhia City Council.
The Zaporizhstal Half Marathon is one of seven races which makes up the Run Ukraine Running League with events staged across the year in Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odessa as well as in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine's sixth largest city in terms of population.
Not only has the Run Ukraine series had an important impact in promoting health and fitness across the country, the series also gives leading Ukrainian distance runners the chance to compete in well-organised local races.
"This year I was pleasantly surprised with the Run Ukraine races. Usually I do not run in Ukraine but the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon surprised me in that it was very well organised, including for professional athletes," said women's winner Daria Mykhailova, who broke the tape in 1:18:51.
"The Running League events are held at a high European level. It is very pleasant that there are such races in Ukraine, I am proud of the opportunity to compete at the highest level in my country!"
These thoughts were echoed by the men's winner Sergiy Okseniuk who won in 1:09:09. "I want to thank the organisers of the competition for the wonderful event and providing all the necessary conditions for athletes. The only thing that I failed to do was to admire the wonderful views, the whole time I had to watch my steps and concentrate on the finish line so there was no time to raise my head and look around," he said.
Reflecting on the Run Ukraine Running League 2018, general manager of Run Ukraine Dmytro Chernitskyi said: "The second Zaporizhstal Half Marathon is the closing event of the Run Ukraine Running League 2018. This year, even more runners came to the Zaporizhstal Half Marathon, indicating the popularity of the half marathon and the development of sport tourism in our country.
"I want to thank the participants. After all, we create our events for them and for their sake. Without our participants, it would be impossible to develop and increase the number of our events, so the role of each person is very important."
Run Ukraine also demonstrated their continuing commitment to supporting charitable causes as the programme also included a 2km charity race, the purpose of which was to raise funds for the purchase of an exercise bike for the Clinic of Orthopaedics, Arthrology and Sports Trauma of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Clinical Hospital.
The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment, and form the foundation of Running for All, a strong, recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.
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