What does the Gold Label mean?
With great races, come great responsibilities. Membership of the Gold Label club comes at a great cost for any organization wishing to submit themselves to the rigorous examination and process of Gold Label Selection. The Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon strive for perfection and their rewards were merited when they were awarded their IAAF Gold Labels last year.
The Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon achieved this world-class status through the effort and professionalism of the organizing bodies, Correcaminos SD and the Valencian Government. Furthermore, The Trinidad Alfonso Association as the main sponsor of the races was one of the main reasons for the growth of the marathon and the Subsequent IAAF recognitions. Valencia was awarded an IAAF Bronze Label in 2013, a Silver Label in 2014, and last year the Gold Label. The organizers of the race, SD Correcaminos and the Valencian Government, the army of volunteers, sponsors and all the other partners of the event, including the city itself should be rightfully proud of being recognized as one of the running capitals of the world.
To receive any label from the IAAF, Bronze, Gold or Silver means a rigorous set of requirements must be met by the race and event. The requirements are organizational and sporting. The Gold Label is awarded to few races due to the stringent nature of the requisites.
The strict requirements of the IAAF Gold Label guarantee world class organization and thrilling races due to the presence of elite athletes looking to break records and win the prize money. Every year the top echelon of races fights to stay in the group of Gold Label events. Valencia has taken its place among the greatest races in the world such as: New York, Boston, Chicago, Ottawa, Toronto, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Sydney, London, Roma, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Lisbon, Prague and Istanbul.
Most of the burden of meeting the IAAF Gold Label requirements falls to SD Correcaminos athletics club, founder of the Valencian Marathon and Half Marathon. SD Correcaminos has been organizing the marathon for 35 years in Valencia and the Half Marathon for 25. “We want every race to be bigger than the last and for Valencia to be an international point of reference for running”, says SD Correcaminos president Paco Borao, who is also the president of AIMS. “The IAAF Gold Label is not something you achieve in one day. The awards we have been given over the last 3 years are the fruits of the efforts of everybody involved over the last 3 years, from the first runner to the last, the amazing crowds that fill the streets and all the people that contribute to make our races the best in the international calendar”. Paco believes that Valencia will be a top event for many years to come as runners and partners finish every year wanting to do more in the next edition.
For a city to have 2 races, each with a Gold Label is something very special, “This is amazing for Valencia, not many cities have two Gold Labels” comments Alex Calabuig, director of Runners World Spain. Calabuig has seen the evolution of Valencia running over the years, “ The Gold Labels are very important, but just as important is the increase of people doing sport in the city, the quality standards, professionalism and vision of Valencia as one of the top Sports Tourism destinations in the world” For Calabuig, however, this pales in comparison to what he sees as the biggest success of La Ciudad del Running, “The citizen participation in Valencia is incredible, the slogan; ‘Run to Support, Support Running, has really brought together the runners and the city, especially in the last 2 editions. It’s incredible to have citizens that respect, value and support sports events in their city”.
For Fernando Miñana, Journalist for Las Provincias, the rise of these two races has made Valencia “one of the running capitals of the world. It’s more than a sporting label, it’s a seal of approval for the organization and the integration of the events into city life and is a reflection of a Valencian society that loves sport”. The sports writer continues, “The acceptance and participation of the city population has been evident in the last 3 years with people literally taking the streets to show their support, it’s a level of support that only a few cities in the world have”.
Ángel Cruz, writer for sports journal AS, wrote in the athletics section of hos publication, “a well deserved award and recognition for 2 races that are of the highest quality”. He also notes that the runners have highlighted “the spectacular organization, fast times and great atmosphere”. Valencia has, according to Angel, “a perfect mix of athletes looking to break world records and amateur runners who are here to test themselves at marathon distance”, a fact that guarantees the continued success of Valencia and its races.
On behalf of the Sports journal Marca, Andrés García Armero declares the value of a distinction well deserved to certify the Marathon and Half Marathon of Valencia, “have nothing to envy to the best evidence in the world. Being in the Champions racing route involves attracting the best long distance runners in the world year after year”. García Armero, with a wider range of everything that happens in the running, sees in Valencia and its two tests, a reference: “Its vocation to grow, its desire to be a world reference race. Both the Marathon and Half Marathon of Valencia have managed to combine the two aspects of athletics, popular and professional, in the same race for the two go hand in hand”.
Carlos Domingo, voice of Marathonn Radio, present at all Spanish Marathons, observes that having 2 Gold Labels “is something different. They are 2 world class races and they guarantee the runner a great race”. Carlos also comments that the best thing about the race is “the special atmosphere of the race” on race weekends when the whole city buzzes and supports the events. “Any visitor to the city on race weekend has a multitude of supporting activities to do to get enjoy the city and get in the mood for the race on Sunday”.
Moisés Domínguez, journalist for Levante-EMV, tells us that “the Gold Labels are the crown that Valencia has been pushing for over the last few years, it’s incredibly satisfying to look back and see that all the hard work was worth it. The unity of city and race is sublime and something that makes the race very special. 20 years ago people thought the marathon was an inconvenience as roads were closed, now those same people line the streets and cheer on the runners. The city believes in the marathon”.