Moldova’s Lilia Fisikovici and Britain’s Luke Traynor were the victors at the Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon on Saturday (2), winning at the IAAF Gold Label road race in 1:13:20 and 1:03:42 respectively.
As part of their ‘EuroHeroes’ initiative, race organisers RunCzech invited just European runners to take part in this year’s elite race.
Fisikovici was a decisive winner of the women’s race. The 29-year-old, who competed in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics and won the Krakow Marathon earlier this year in a PB of 2:31:27, crossed the finish line in 1:13:20 to win by nearly a minute.
“I’m slightly in shock, but really delighted,” said Fisikovici, whose winning time was just 69 seconds shy of the national record she set at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018. “At the 17th kilometre I felt I could speed up a bit, overtook my rivals and managed to stay ahead right until the finish.”
Ukrainian Olympian Olga Kotovska finished second in 1:14:14 with Italian veteren Rosaria Console taking third place in 1:14:38.
Traynor, the pre-race favourite for the men’s race, ran alongside recent Karlovy Vary Half Marathon winner Roman Romanenko of Ukraine for the majority of the race.
It was only in the final few kilometres that Traynor edged ahead of his rival, going on to win by 23 seconds.
“Roman kept up with me for practically the whole race, but I felt I had a bit extra to give and in the end managed to speed up a bit,” said Traynor, who finished 38th at the recent World Half Marathon Championships. “I really enjoyed the race; the atmosphere was fantastic, with loads of fans along the course. Even though my personal best is two minutes faster, it’s still a good time on this course.”
Organisers for the IAAF
1 Luke Traynor (GBR) 1:03:42
2 Roman Romanenko (UKR) 1:04:05
3 Valentin Pfeil (AUT) 1:05:08
4 Oleksandr Sitkovskyi (UKR) 1:05:37
1 Lilia Fisikovici (MDA) 1:13:20
2 Olga Kotovska (UKR) 1:14:14
3 Rosaria Console (ITA) 1:14:38
4 Sonia Samuels (GBR) 1:14:55