Roman Romanenko and Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova cruised to victories at the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Saturday (19).
Vrabcova-Nyvltova, who set a new Czech half marathon record of 1:11:01 at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon earlier this year, lived up to her favourite’s status in this race, leading from the start en route to a 1:11:54 win, well clear of Ukraine’s Olha Kotovska, who finished second in 1:16:16. Kristyna Dvorakova, another Czech, was third in 1:17:46.
“I didn’t have any target finishing time in mind, but even so it was tough right from the start,” the winner said. “I was running alone, there was a strong wind and I didn’t appreciate seeing all the guys run past me.”
The men’s race was a battle between Ukraine and Spain. As the race progressed the fastest runner group gradually thinned out leaving Romanenko and Houssame Bennabou at the helm. At the 14th kilometre, Romanenko cranked up the pace, leaving Bennabou struggling to keep up.
“I felt good and told myself I’d try to go for it,” Romanenko said. “I believed I was capable of maintaining my pace right until the finish and am pleased I managed to do it.”
He forged on to take the win in 1:03:58, with Bennabou second in 1:04:16. Ukrainian Serhiy Lebid was nearly another minute back, finished third in 1:05:08.
The race is part of EuroHeroes, a new initiative by organisers RunCzech in partnership with European Athletics to celebrate European running stars and promote active lifestyles in Europe. The project’s launch limited the elite fields to runners from Europe.