Record numbers compete in Kyiv as the Run Ukraine Running League 2019 begins

Ninth edition of the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon

Record numbers took part across the programme in this year's edition of the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon on 6-7 April. Photo credit: Run Ukraine

The Run Ukraine Running League 2019 began in terrific style with the ninth edition of the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon, a five-star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All, which attracted a record number of participants across the newly expanded two day programme.

Approximately 13,000 runners took part in events across the weekend and the maturity of the running culture in Ukraine - and the growing reputation of the race internationally - is such the organisers registered 5300 runners from 57 countries in the half marathon, corresponding to an increase of 1500 runners compared to last year’s edition.

The participation of local celebrities, politicians and dignitaries helped to raise the profile of the race nationally and there was an even greater depth to the elite races this year as the Balkan Championships were staged in conjunction with the Kyiv Half Marathon for the first time. The organisers were naturally pleased with the outcomes of the race from an elite and non-elite perspective.

“This year we have a record number of participants, almost 13,000. This is the new level of sport in our country since we have created conditions where more and more professional athletes can come and compete here,” said Run Ukraine general manager Dmytro Chernitski, adding he hopes the race will receive IAAF Silver Label status next year to accompany its five-star European Athletics Running for All certification.

Runners cross the Dneiper River during the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon. Photo credit: Run Ukraine
Runners cross the Dneiper River during the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon. Photo credit: Run Ukraine

This year’s race was highlighted by a course record in the women’s race by Kenya’s Daisy Jeptoo, who took nearly three minutes off the previous mark on her racing debut in Ukraine with her winning time of 70:52. Her teammate Bernard Sang won the men’s race in 63:42.

“I was very happy to find out my result after finishing the race, because it was the new course record,” said Jeptoo. “As I did my trial run yesterday, I was able to enjoy the sights of Kyiv.”

Across the programme, there were races over distances of one kilometre all the way up to the half marathon, catering for newcomers and seasoned runners alike. The oldest participant this year was Oleh Shetankov, who successfully completed the half marathon at the age of 78 in two hours and 36 minutes.

The event continues to enjoy strong municipal backing with local authorities around the globe increasingly alert to the advantages attached to staging high-level and well-organised mass participation events such as the Kyiv Half Marathon. Run Ukraine has been instrumental in cultivating the recreational running boom in the country and this year’s series of races has expanded out to 10 events across five cities: Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odessa and Zaporizhstal. 

“More and more Ukrainians are taking part in half marathons," said Inna Popereshniuk, the co-founder of Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon. It means we have succeeded at shaping the running culture in our country. We are looking forward to seeing beginners and experienced runners at the next half marathons."

The next event on the Run Ukraine Running League 2019 series is the Interpipe Dnipro Half Marathon on 26 May, another five star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All.

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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