How Europe celebrated European Week of Sport

How Europe celebrated European Week of Sport
European Athletics

Hundreds of thousands took part in over 150 road running events tied to the European Week of Sport.

Europe was active during the second edition of the European Week of Sport with 26 countries participating in the initiative.

The initiative is driven by the European Commission to promote the importance of sport and physical activity and 35 European partners - including European Athletics - signed up to endorse and promote the #BeActive message of the initiative.

With encouragement from European Athletics, a total of 146 races across the continent - including 12 which have also been endorsed by European Athletics Running For All - participated from big city races such as the Copenhagen and Budapest Half Marathons to smaller grassroots events aimed at introducing youths to physical activity.

Copenhagen, Denmark

The Copenhagen Half Marathon was only staged for the first time last September but the event has already proved a momentous hit with 22,00 runners from 104 countries taking part in this year’s race.

“This unique event in the heart of Copenhagen – now the fastest half marathon course in Europe – establishes the appeal this race offers both elite and recreational runners from Denmark and the rest of the world,” said race organiser Dorte Vibjerg after Sunday’s event.

While the fast times in the elite races gained worldwide attention, the Copenhagen Half Marathon firmly embraced the #BeActive message of European Week of Sport and made sure the whole country got involved. The race organisers staged 33 ‘GoRun’ events around Denmark - free of charge and not too dissimilar to parkrun in terms of the set-up - aimed at runners of all abilities and fitness levels.

Vilnius, Lithuania

In the early years, the Vilnius Marathon was a race which only attracted the hardcore running fraternity but the event these days has something for runners of all levels and abilities. Now in its 13th year, the organisers staged a kids’ race this year in the conjunction with the event as part of European Week of Sport. 

“From a small event for elite athletes, the Vilnius Marathon has become a huge running festival for young and old. Together with European Week of Sport, we are inviting very young ones to stand on the start line, run a distance and get awarded with the medal. We are happy to have European Week of Sport as a partner that we share common goals,” said the organisers, who attracted nearly 1500 children to take part in a 200m race staged in the Old Town.

Kosice, Slovakia

Kosice was named European City of Sport for 2016 and it only seemed logical the Opening Ceremony for the second European Week of Sport should take place in Slovakia’s second biggest city.

The city plays host to Europe’s oldest marathon - the Kosice Peace Marathon - which dates back to 1924 and the event was duly recognised by the European Fair Play Movement. The organisers capitalised on Kosice’s running history by staging a popular 4.2km fun run which saw 1150 runners tackle a route through the city’s historic centre.

Kosice also gave young and budding track and field athletes the chance to rub shoulders with the professionals at a street meeting held on Wednesday evening in the heart of the city. The Kosice JBL Jump Fest staged in front of St. Elizabeth Cathedral featured long jump and triple jump competitions for elites and youngsters alike and proved a huge success.

Kilkenny, Ireland

On the eve of the sixth JJ Reddy Danesfort Run on Sunday, children from a local school took part in a marathon relay event designed to encourage youngsters to embrace a healthy lifestyle in conjunction with European Week of Sport. The race itself attracted 1000 runners across three distances with the 5km proving especially popular with youngsters and families looking to keep fit.

“The JJ Reddy Danesfort Run, in association with European Week of Sport 2016, firmly puts the importance of getting active on the agenda once again. The run facilitates participants of all ages and abilities and views the community nature of the event to be mutually beneficial to all,” said race organiser Aileen Hurley.

Budapest, Hungary

The Budapest Half Marathon dates back to the 1980s and the event is the biggest half marathon in Eastern Europe. This year’s event had a strong international theme with 77 countries represented across the four waves of runners.

Working in close collaboration, the Hungarian National Lottery and Hungarian University Sports Federation also put together a countrywide sports competition on 20 September to tie in with the International Day of University Sport.

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.

More information on Running for All:

Website: european-running4all.org

Twitter: @runningforall

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Contact: running4all@european-athletics.org