Great Britain’s Luke Traynor and Moldova’s Lilia Fisikovici shared the honours in the elite races at the Mattoni Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon, a race with a five star endorsement by European Athletics Running for All, on Saturday (2).
The organisers of the Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon assembled European-only elite fields as part of RunCzech’s EuroHeroes initiative which is supported by European Athletics. The foremost purpose of the initiative is to support distance running at an elite level in both the Czech Republic and Europe more widely.
“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,” said European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen on the initiative.
Traynor made the most of the opportunity as he became the first European winner in Ceske Budejovice in 63:42 ahead of Ukraine’s Roman Romanenko, the winner of the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon a fortnight ago. Romanenko clocked 64:05 with Austria’s Valentin Pfeil third in 65:08.
“We ran together right from the start, Roman kept up with me for practically the whole race, but I felt I had a bit extra to give and in the end managed to speed up a bit,” said Traynor, who has a lifetime best of 61:57 from the Barcelona Half Marathon in February.
“Although I’m a bit tired, I have to say I really enjoyed the race, the atmosphere was fantastic, with loads of fans along the course and I’m also delighted with my finishing time. Even though my personal best is two minutes faster, it’s still a good time on this course which is a tad tricky.”
There was a rare win for Moldova in the elite women’s race as Lilia Fisikovici, who holds her country’s national records in the half marathon and marathon, clocked 73:20. She was a comfortable winner ahead of Ukraine’s Olha Kotovska (74:14) and Italy’s Rosaria Console (74:38).
“I’m slightly in shock, but really delighted. I absolutely loved the city, the fans were amazing and I also ran really well. At the seventeenth kilometre I felt I could speed up a bit, overtook my rivals and managed to stay ahead right till the finish,” said the winner.
In total, 3252 runners took part in the half marathon and another 2913 took part in the dm Family Run.
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.