Well-known race organisers RunCzech have announced the launch of a new road running initiative Euroheroes – with the support of European Athletics – to celebrate European running stars and promote active lifestyles in Europe.
The initiative aims to find new sporting heroes from the continent and to motivate the public to exercise.
The initiative comes about after the recognition that long-distance running in the past few decades has been has been dominated by East African runners, despite the successes of European stars like Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and, more recently, the new European marathon record holder Sondre Nordstad Moen.
Amid such incredible performances by African stars, on the track and especially on the road, Europe has sometimes struggled to find its own heroes.
It has now become apparent that far too often the media and, in turn, the general public who may not follow the sport very closely no longer pay attention to local elite runners who both the casual and dedicated fans of the sport, and fellow athletes, can identify with and whose performances and profile should serve as an inspiration for the next generation.
RunCzech has decided to dedicate two of its forthcoming five-star certified European Athletics Running for All races in the Czech Republic – the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon and Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon – to promote European athletics.
In putting together the elite fields for these races, RunCzech will only invite European athletes, which will also include the best Czech runners.
“We want to devote our top-quality events in Karlovy Vary and Ceske Budejovice to discover new heroes and to create local legends that will inspire others to take up sport and lead an active lifestyle,” commented Carlo Capalbo, President of the RunCzech Organising Committee and also chairman of the IAAF Road Running Commission.
The EuroHeroes initiative not only aims at supporting European elite runners but, above all, has been established to promote exercise and healthy lifestyles, embodying the European Athletics mission statement of Your Sport For Life
“In this age of excessive technological consumption, we want to show people how exercise can help them achieve a more fulfilling, attractive and healthy life,” added Capalbo.
“All the RunCzech races are five-star quality road races as awarded by European Athletics’ Running for All platform, along with them also being IAAF Gold Label races, for which RunCzech should be very proud. It is very important that European athletes get more opportunities to race at the very top level in road races across Europe and EuroHeroes is a fantastic initiative to encourage and promote our road race stars on the continent,” said European Athletics President. Svein Arne Hansen.
The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon will be staged on 19 May and followed by the Mattoni Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon two weeks later on 2 June.