THE TET RIGA MARATHON GOLD LABEL SEASON HAS BEGUN!
Today, the Tet Riga Marathon’s first season as an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold Label race was opened by legendary athlete and marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and Latvia’s most-awarded long-distance athlete Jeļena Prokopčuka. The ex-rivals praised the Tet Riga Marathon’s achievement of becoming one of the world’s most prestigious marathons, emphasized the significance of the IAAF Label in building the marathon movement and international reputation of the marathon, and revealed their own 2019 plans. Prokopčuka announced that she will run the classic 42.195 km distance at Northern Europe’s first Gold Label marathon.
“In a world which is saturated with numerous long-distance runs and marathons, runners and people with an active lifestyle are actively looking for undiscovered city marathons with their own unique story. Riga has a story. By becoming the region’s leading running event in a time when the big marathons are practically inaccessible due to high demand, as well as by earning the highest IAAF quality status, the Tet Riga Marathon has already caught the attention of the world running community. The IAAF Gold Label is a guarantee that Riga will be a new experience for everyone, and that the organisers will have thought about high-quality sporting results without forgetting to provide an unforgettable experience for runners and supporters. I am certain that, by cleverly leveraging the Gold Label in the international market, the Tet Riga Marathon still has everything ahead of them,” comments the world’s fastest and most-titled female marathon runner Paula Radcliffe.
Riga began to earn its international recognition in the marathon industry less than twenty years ago, thanks to Prokopčuka’s amazing achievements in the world’s most prestigious marathons including two wins at the New York Marathon. Both of the winning marathon runners, Radcliffe and Prokopčuka, are certain that Riga, with its unique history, varied culture and high-level marathon, can become a significant marathon tourism destination. Success stories similar to Riga’s include Valencia and Prague, which began their course to high-quality standards and an IAAF Gold Label much earlier (towards the end of the 90s), but which are now just as prestigious as the marathons of the world’s great cities. Thanks to the Gold Label, reaching 10,000 overseas runners in the Tet Riga Marathon is a realistic five-year goal.
JEĻENA PROKOPČUKA WILL RUN THE CLASSIC 42KM MARATHON DISTANCE IN RIGA FOR THE FIRST TIME
Latvia’s most-awarded long-distance runner Jeļena Prokopčuka also revealed her 2019 marathon goals. After a short break, Prokopčuka will return to the international marathon circuit at the Tet Riga Marathon on May 19th, when she will run the classic marathon distance in Riga for the first time.
“I am truly honoured to return to the international marathon circuit to run at my home course in Latvia. It’s every athlete’s dream - to run at a world-class marathon with the best runners, at the same time receiving the undivided support of the crowd, which usually happens in Riga,” shared Prokopčuka at a press conference.
Until now, Prokopčuka has only run a half-marathon, or 21.0975km, in Riga, setting the current Tet Riga Marathon half-marathon women’s record with a result of 1h 10min 27sec (2012).
PARADE OF RUNNING STARS AT THE TET RIGA MARATHON
Since the autumn, we have been actively working to attract world-class runners to run on May 19th. According to IAAF criteria, Gold Label marathons must have at least six women and six men from the world Top 200 rankings, as well as at least four runners from the European Top 100 rankings. Precisely which running stars will run this year in Riga, and what results they are aiming for, will be announced by organisers closer to the event.
We are pleased that Valērijs Žolnerovičs has already confirmed his participation in Riga on May 19th; he set his Latvian record (2h 14min 23sec) at the Tet Riga Marathon in May 2017.