Seven months out from hosting the European Cup Race Walking, the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk tested out the course during their national championships races over the weekend.
And with victory in 3:48:50 in the 50km event, Serhiy Budza set a standard he will surely be hoping to repeat in May next year.
It will be the first time that the Ukraine has staged this European Athletics event which will be celebrating the 11th edition of a Cup that first began in La Coruna in Spain in 1996.
Budza, 29, was ninth in 3:49:24 at the last European Cup Race Walking event in Dudince in 2013 when he was part of the Ukrainian team that won silver and then later that summer he finished 13th at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in 2013 when he produced his personal best time of 3:47.36.
This weekend’s event, which encompassed the XIX International Race Walking Vechirniy Ivano-Frankivsk Cup, saw 50km men compete on the new course which will be used for next year’s competition.
Second behind Budza was Andriy Hrechkovskyy who recorded a personal best of 3:49:06, his performance bringing him victory in the under-23 category, with Ihor Saharuk third in 3:57:50.
The weekend also saw a series of 10km races where, among the winners in the different age groups, were Natalia Kontsevych in 48:16, Kyrylo Adrushchenko in 42:11 and Dmytro Sobchuk in 44:18.