Repeat wins for Rachik and Fisikovici in Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon

Yassine Rachik
Organisers

Italy's European marathon bronze medallist Yassine Rachik made it back-to-back wins on Czech soil at the Mattoni Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon

Italy’s Yassine Rachik and Moldova’s Lilia Fisikovici were decisive winners on Czech soil two weeks ago in the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon and they brought that form with them to the Mattoni Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon on Saturday (1) evening.

The Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon is a five-star certified race by European Athletics Running for All which guarantees participants that the organisers have met a stringent set of quality checks. The race is also one of four RunCzech races to support the EuroHeroes initiative which puts the spotlight on elite Czech and European long distance runners.

The initiative came into being last year and has been developed further with the debut of the EuroHeroes Challenge this year in which runners will aim to finish at the top of the leaderboard across the four races. Rachik and Fisikovici already topped the standings after winning in Karlovy Vary a fortnight ago and they duly extended their advantage in Ceske Budejovice.

In the men’s race, Rachik broke away around the five kilometre margin and forged his way to another comfortable win in 63:02. After winning by 1:39 two weeks ago, Rachik won by 1:22 this time over Ukraine’s Roman Romanenko (64:25) and Spain’s Jaume Leiva Beato (64:37). Reigning champion Luke Traynor had to settle for tenth in 68:27.

"I feel in a very good form and I believe it will continue,” said Rachik, who won a bronze medal in the marathon at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin. “I will appear at the next EuroHeroes race and I want to win again.”  

The next EuroHeroes race is the Olomouc Half Marathon on 15 June and Fisikovici will also be in contention for a hat-trick of victories on Czech soil later this month.

Moldova's Lilia Fisikovici successfully defended her title at the Mattoni Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon
Organisers
Moldova's Lilia Fisikovici successfully defended her title at the Mattoni Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon

After winning in Karlovy Vary in 72:34, Fisikovici successfully defended her title in Ceske Budejovice in 73:29. This race was a decidedly more competitive affair than the men’s race but the Moldovan moved ahead of Ukrainians Darya Mykhailova (73:56) and Olha Skrypak (74:04) in the late stages to retain her title.

The leading Czech runners were Vít Pavlišta among the men (67:59) and Petra Pastorová among the women (81:59).

After the Olomouc Half Marathon on 15 June, the EuroHeroes Challenge concludes in September at the final RunCzech race of the year: the Usti nad Labem Half Marathon on 21 September. Race director Vaclav Skrivanek acknowledged the two leaders are in a strong position to win the inaugural EuroHeroes Challenge but they are by no means unassailable at this point.

“We are excited about the results. We are still in the middle and a strong field will appear at other races,” said Skrivanek.

A total of 3442 runners took part in this year’s Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon while another 3040 participants enjoyed the non-competitive family run which was held two hours earlier.

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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