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Yassine Rachik and Lilia Fisikovici win Olomouc Half Marathon

Italy’s Yassine Rachik and Lilia Fisikovici of Moldova continued their winning ways in the RunCzech EuroHeroes Challenge series, taking the titles at Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon in the Czech Republic.

In hot conditions, with the temperature around 30°C at the start of the race at 7pm local time, Rachik clocked 64:26 and Fisikovici 73:32 for clear victories.

That makes it three wins from three races for the pair in the EuroHeroes series, following their success in Karlovy Vary in May and Ceské Budejovice at the beginning of this month.

The four-race series was launched in 2018 with the support of European Athletics and aims to highlight new sporting heroes from the continent, as athletes claim points for their performances and can compete for a separate EuroHeroes ranking and prize structure.

Ukraine’s Olha Kotovska was second in 74:35 and her compatriot Darya Mykhailova was third in 74:57. Matea Parlov finished fourth in 75:18.

In the men’s race, London Marathon ninth-placer Rachik solo ran his way to success, with Ukraine’s Roman Romanenko securing second in 66:01 and Ireland’s Paul Pollock placing third in 66:12.

The top Czech runners were Vít Pavlišta in fifth with 68:09 and Marcela Joglová in ninth with 77:55.

“It was hard to run alone,” said Rachik, “and it wasn’t easy to fight with that heat, too.”

A total of 10,078 runners took part in the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon events, with 6481 in the main race and 3597 in the family run.

The fourth and final event in this year’s EuroHeroes Challenge will be the Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon, held on September 21.

(06/23/2019) Views: 1,048 ⚡AMP

British Steph Twell has been having a great year and is set to race the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon this weekend

The 29-year-old, Steph Twell has already improved both her half-marathon and 10km PBs in 2019 and is looking forward to testing herself at a race she describes as “a bit of an undiscovered gem."

The Olomouc Half Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label race and as a result it offers athletes the chance to gain points in the IAAF world rankings, while it is also the third race in the EuroHeroes Challenge series which was launched last year with the support of European Athletics and aims to celebrate and encourage athletes from the continent.

Twell is looking to be competitive at the front of a European-only field and also gain experience of racing in warm conditions, with temperatures set to be around 28°C when the race sets off at 7pm local time in Olomouc, a city situated 179 miles south east of the Czech Republic capital of Prague.

“It’s a new challenge for me to do a half-marathon at this time of year. I’m against a competitive field but one that I hope I can be quite close to the front of,” says Twell, who ran 71:33 when finishing second at The Vitality Big Half in March before getting close to that lifetime best when running 71:37 to win in Reading a week later.

“What was really important for me (in choosing to race in Olomouc) before the British Athletics selection policy came out for the Tokyo (Olympic Games) marathon, was really to try and sort out this confusion with the rankings system that I’m still trying to get my head around.

“It was a bit of an undiscovered gem, really, to have an IAAF Gold Label race at this time of year when maybe not everyone is targeting half-marathon. For me, it’s an opportunity to see where I can position myself and get as many points as possible to help support my opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. To come out here, in an IAAF ‘A’ race, I would love to try and get a podium place, if not a win, against some quality marathon runners.

“There’s that aspect for me personally trying to support myself as strategically as possible ahead of Tokyo,” adds the two-time Olympian. “But secondly, this concept (EuroHeroes) I just think is a fantastic concept. I have found it hard to be supported and to support myself bridging the gap to world-class athletics. I’ve been on the cusp for a long time but for me this year is about being more independent and trying to step up and improve in a new challenge over the roads.”

(06/21/2019) Views: 1,250 ⚡AMP
Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon

Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon

The annual Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon takes place in the ancient capital of Moravia. More than 6,000 runners wend their way past Baroque architecture. An experience matched only by the warmth of the welcome runners receive here. Come to Olomouc and Enjoy the sensational atmosphere of running through a charming Baroque city in the heart of Moravia which is one...


Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia and Stephen Kiprop of Kenya took decisive victories at the 9th Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon

Gudeta, the world half marathon champion, dominated from the outset en route to her 1:07:30 triumph. In her first appearance over the distance since breaking the world record for a women's only race with her 1:06:11 run at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018, Netsanet Gudeta, was on her own soon after the gun sounded, reaching five kilometers in 15:55, 18 seconds clear of her nearest challenger, compatriot Aselefech Mergia. From there she only added to her lead, passing 10 kilometers in 31:57 and 15 kilometers in 47:53, by then 1:43 clear of Mergia. "I feel really great about today’s race," said the 27-year-old Gudeta, whose winning time was the third fastest of her career. "I launched my attack early on to ensure I secured first place and I’m delighted that I managed to keep it up right until the finish line." Conversely, the men's race was one of patience, with eight men still in contention at the 15-kilometer point, reached in 43:21. Kiprop proved the strongest, pulling away late in the race to build a insurmountable lead en route to his 1:00:15 course record."I had my sights set on breaking the event record and I’m delighted that my plan worked out," said Kiprop, who at 19 is beginning to make waves over the distance. He won the Venloop in Venlo, Netherlands, on March 25, clocking 59:44. "The wind wasn’t half as bad as it seemed at the start, though if it hadn’t been there at all, I could easily have run 30 seconds faster. Even so, I really enjoyed the race." (06/25/2018) Views: 1,099 ⚡AMP

Women's Half Marathon World Record Holder is Racing June 23

Three months after her world record run at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018, Ethiopian Netsanet Gudeta Kebede will be making her eagerly anticipated follow-up over the distance at the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Saturday June 23. Gudeta stormed to a 1:06:11 women’s-only race half marathon world record in the Spanish city on March 24, winning by 43 seconds. She's competed only once since, a fourth place finish at the TCS World 10km in Bengaluru, India, on May 27, where she clocked 31:53. She is going to have strong competition. Among the opposition assembled in this eastern Czech city of 100,000 is compatriot Aselefech Mergia, the world silver medallist over the distance in 2007 and world gold medallist in the marathon in 2009. She has a 1:07:21 best from 2011, and clocked 1:08:46 last year. Her best race this season came in New York in April where she finished second in the Healthy Kidney 10km in 32:06. Kenya comes armed with Antonina Kwambai, perhaps her fiercest challenger this weekend, who notched an impressive victory at the Paris Half Marathon on  March 4 in 1:08:07. That was the 26-year-old's second consecutive personal best this year, following her 1:09:07 run in Naples in February where she was second. The men's race features four men with personal bests under one hour.  The fastest is Jemal Yimer, the 21-year-old Ethiopian who clocked his 59:00 lifetime best at this year's Ras Al Khaimah Half in February where he finished second. His performance remains the third fastest of 2018. (06/22/2018) Views: 1,489 ⚡AMP
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