RunCzech’s EuroHeroes initiative to launch in Karlovy Vary Half Marathon

Eva Vrabcova

The sixth edition of the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon which takes place on 19 May has drawn runners from all over Europe to the spa town.

This is part of the RunCzech initiative EuroHeroes which, in cooperation with European Athletics, is designed to promote the development of distance running in both the Czech Republic and the rest of the continent.

“All the RunCzech races are five-star quality road races as awarded by European Athletics’ Running for All platform along with them being IAAF gold label races, for which RunCzech should be very proud,” said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.

“It is very important that European athletes get more opportunities to race at the top level in road races across Europe and EuroHeroes is a fantastic initiative to encourage and promote our road race stars on the continent.”

The elite fields for both the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon on 19 May and the Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon on 2 June will be made up entirely of Czech and European distance runners to support their development.

“To make European and Czech athletics competitive on an international level, we feel the need to offer these athletes greater space to grow at our races. We hope this step will be a new motivation for the runners and that they run new personal records in Karlovy Vary,” said RunCzech race coordinator Tomas Mirovsky.

The focus of attention in Karlovy Vary will be on the leading Czech distance runner Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova, one of a select handful of sportspeople to have competed at both the Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics.

Vrabcova-Nyvltova, who contested the marathon at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 IAAF World Championships, recently broke the long-standing Czech record in the half marathon with 71:01 in Prague. This race will be an important one for Vrabcova-Nyvltova on the road to the European Championships in Berlin where she will contest the marathon.

“Competing at the European Championships is the main highlight for me this year, but I’m also really looking forward to running in Karlovy Vary. I want to soak up the atmosphere and give it my best,” she said.

The elite women’s field also includes Ukraine’s Olha Kotovska (72:19 PB) and Great Britain’s Jenny Spink (73:02 PB).

The entry-list for the men’s race is headed by multiple SPAR European Cross Country Championships gold medallist Sergiy Lebid from Ukraine.

A total of six runners with personal bests under the 1:04-mark will be taking part in the race. Young Spanish talent Houssam Benabbou, who recently ran a new personal best of 1:03:35, is also expected to deliver a high calibre performance.

For the first time this year awards will also be handed out for the fastest man and woman of the Karlovy Vary Region who will pick up regional king and queen trophies respectively.

The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon kicks off at 17:30 on Saturday 19th May. You can also tune in to the live broadcast on ČT sport, which gets underway at 18:00 or watch it online on

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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