European runners will vie for the limelight at the sixth running of the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Saturday (19).
Headed by multiple European cross-country champion Sergey Lebid from Ukraine, six men with personal bests under 1:04 will be on the start line. Young Spanish talent Houssam Benabbou, who recently ran a new personal best of 1:03:35, is also expected to deliver a high calibre performance.
The clear favourite among the women is Eva Vrabcová Nývltová who managed to smash the longstanding Czech half marathon record with her 1:11:01 performance at this year’s Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon.
“Competing at the European Championships is the main highlight for me this year, but I’m also really looking forward to running in Karlovy Vary," revealed Vrabcová, who is expected to launch an assault on the Czech event record of 1:17:31 held by Ivana Sekyrová since 2013. "I want to soak up the atmosphere and give it my best."
She’s likely to face high calibre competition from Lithuanian Olympian Vaida Zusinaite. Sekyrová will also be keen to leave her mark as will Petra Kamínková from Olomouc who has claimed victory among the Czech women for the past three years in a row.
The race is part of EuroHeroes, a new initiative by organisers RunCzech to celebrate European running stars and promote active lifestyles in Europe. The initiative aims to find new sporting heroes and motivate the public to exercise.
“We want to devote our top quality event in Karlovy Vary to discover new heroes and to create local legends that will inspire others to take up sport and lead an active lifestyle,” said Carlo Capalbo, President of the RunCzech Organising Committee and Chairman of the IAAF Road Running Commission.
Organisers for the IAAF