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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: 771 ⚡AMP
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: 879 ⚡AMP
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...more...