EuroHeroes initiative to launch in 2019 at the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon

2017 Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon
European Athletics

The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon is one of four RunCzech races in 2019 to support the 'EuroHeroes' initiative

The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon which takes place on Saturday (18) is one of four RunCzech races in 2019 to support the EuroHeroes initiative which came into being last year.

EuroHeroes made its debut in the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon last May and the initiative - which is supported by European Athletics - is designed to showcase both local and European elite athletes as well as promote healthy and active lifestyles in Europe.

Two races on the RunCzech calendar last year supported EuroHeroes and the success of it was such that four races will be actively participating in 2019. The Ceske Budejovice and Olomouc Half Marathons on 1 June and 15 June are the second and third races on the calendar to support the initiative with the Usti nad Labem Half Marathon following suit on 21 September.

“EuroHeroes is a RunCzech initiative that was created for three reasons,” explained President of RunCzech and IAAF Road Running Commission Chairman Carlo Capalbo.

“It is to make European athletes even more competitive on the world stage, to celebrate the greatness that exists among us and to generate a fanbase for local and regional runners with the hope of inspiring a new generation to follow in their footsteps."

All four participating races have a five-star certification rating from European Athletics Running for All which ensures participants the race organisers have fulfilled a stringent set of safety, organisation and quality checks.

The all-European elite men’s field is headed by Roman Romanenko from Ukraine who rose to the occasion twelve months ago to win in the Czech spa town in 63:58. The organisers have assembled arguably an even stronger elite field this season and the 31-year-old reigning champion is only the fifth fastest on paper with a lifetime best of 63:22.

The fastest runner based on lifetime bests is Ireland’s Paul Pollock with 62:10 but the pre-race favourite could be Italy’s European marathon bronze medallist Yassine Rachik, assuming he has sufficiently recovered from last month’s Virgin Money London Marathon where he clocked a world class time of 2:08:05.

Another beneficiary of the EuroHeroes project is Moldova’s Lilia Fisikovici, a familiar figure in RunCzech races in recent seasons. She was a winner in the Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon last year and will be looking to take her second career title at a race supporting the EuroHeroes project on Saturday.

Like Rachik, Fisikovici raced in the London Marathon last month where she lowered her national record to 2:27:26. She faces a strong Ukrainian contingent in Karlovy Vary including long-time internationals Viktoria Kalyuzhna, Olha Skrypak, Olha Kotovska and Yulia Shmatenko.

RunCzech has been a staunch and committed supporter of European distance running at both a mass and elite level over the years and shares many of the foremost aims and goals of European Athletics’ road running strategy. RunCzech will also be co-partnering with MYLAPS to stage the second edition of the European Running Business Conference in Prague from 6-8 September.

The conference will be held in conjunction with the Birell Prague Grand Prix which is one of the most illustrious and respected 10km road races in the world, boasting a five-star certification from European Athletics Running for All as well as an IAAF Gold Label.    

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. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.

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