Prague and Valencia 2 pillars of the marathon world
A total 0f 2,056 kilometers separate The balmy Mediterranean city of Valencia from the landlocked Czech capital of Prague. These two cities may be very different in character and separated by a large distance, but, when it comes to running these two cities are best buddies.
The Czech capital is one of the half marathon capitals of the world. Nowhere else in Europe will you find such a concentration of half marathons that attract so many international runners and elite competitors. Prague has many half marathons and marathons throughout the year; 7 of them have IAAF God Label status. Most countries would be happy if one of their cities had a half marathon with a Gold Label. Of the multitude of half marathons, 5 of them have IAAF Gold Labels. The biggest running organization in the Czech Republic, Runczech, is a massively experienced race promotor and organizer. Runczech also organize the race Birell Prague Grand Prix that is a smaller distance but brims with the same quality as the other races from the Czech race organizer. Another thing that Prague and Valencia have in common is their ‘double’ Gold Labels. Prague and Valencia are two of the 4 cities in the world that have a half marathon and full marathon that have been awarded Gold Labels.
The Valencia marathon team were in Prague to take in the race and to take part in the Prague Runners Fair. Valencia Ciudad del Running had a stand at the expo to inform all the national and international runners at the event about the amazing races we have to offer in tandem with great weather, beaches and a wonderfully historic city center. As the Valencia stand staff tell all the victors to the stand, “running is not the same as running in Valencia”. More than 20,000 visitors flowed through the Prague runners fair.
The Valencia stand had some special interest for runners in Prague as Paco Borao, President of AIMS, was lending a hand to inform visitors of all the qualities that make Valencia La Ciudad Del Running. Paco Borao is a proud Valencian who organized the very first long distance races in Valencia and eventually became an international figurehead for marathon running, Paco is based in The AIMS headquarters in the Olympic Stadium in Athens, one of the spiritual homes of running.
The Prague race was a thrilling affair with some of the world’s top runners competing for the top spot. The Kenyan Lawrence Cherono confirmed the level and quality of the event by finishing in 2:07:24. On the women’s side his compatriot Lucy Karimi finished in 2:24:46, this was the 28th fastest half marathon time of the season so far in 2016.
It is worth mentioning the large amount of runners from Asia who were present in Prague. Running at events in Europe and North America has become a dedicated pastime for many devoted runners from South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Don’t be surprised to see a large contingent of Asian runners at major running events around the world, including Valencia for the Half Marathon in October and for The Valencia Marathon in November.
More than 10,000 runners took part in the Prague Half Marathon. The race could easily triple that number but the organizers limit the number of participants to make sure that it is a very fast race for serious runners. The weather held out for the whole weekend which was strange because in Valencia we had a very rare occurrence on the same weekend: Rain! But, don’t worry in October and November in Valencia the 25 years of history and meteorological records back up our claims of blue skies 15-19Cº temperatures and a lovely light breeze coming in from the Mediterranean. Thank you Prague, we will definitely be back next year!!!