Minsk Half Marathon – Belarus’s most mass running race ever in the history of the country.
Minsk Half Marathon is a young event. The first race was held in September, 2013. It was devoted to birthday celebration of the very heart of the country – the capital city of the Republic of Belarus – Minsk. This experience was successful, and it was decided to make this event a traditional one. In addition, on the City day, the second weekend of September, Minsk celebrates Sport and Health Festival, bringing both professionals and amateurs of running out to its central avenues and streets. The organizer of Minsk Half Marathon is Belarus Athletic Federation. In 2015, for the first time Minsk Half Marathon was held on such a large-scale format. It has become Belarus’s most mass running race ever in the history of the country. On 13 September at 11 a.m. the race, devoted to the celebration of Minsk City Day, united 16 099 people from all over Belarus and 36 countries of the world. The participants were free to choose the distance 5 km, 10 km or 21 km. The course of the race went through the central avenues of the city – Independence Avenue and Pobediteley Avenue, where all the runners had the opportunity to enjoy stunning views of Minsk’s most beautiful attractions: an old part of Minsk – Trinity Suburb, which is located on the bank of Svisloch River. It is remarkable for cosy little streets and houses with tile roofs and delicate colours. This picturesque place has become a symbol of Minsk. When running along the Independence Avenue the participants could get acquainted with the buildings of Government headquarters, Belarusian State University, Minsk Mayor’s office, Church of Saints Simon and Helen (Red Church) and former commercial apartment buildings of the early 20th century, the Architect sculpture. Those, who ran 10 km and 21 km, had the possibility to enjoy Yanka Kupala and Pushkinskiy parks as well as amazing views of the National Academic Yanka Kupala Theatre, the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater of the Republic of Belarus. In addition, the participants could see an impressive outlook of Belarusian State Museum of the History of Great Patriotic War and many other places of interest. All the runners and spectators were entertained by drumming teams, folklore ensemble, national dances, orchestra, classical instrumental music, historical characters, where one had the chance to see Lenin alive. On the main stage, located in the very heart of the event, famous singers and dancers were performing for the public. Among the participants were press attaché of German Embassy Katrin Nestler, Consul of France Christophe Brammule, First Vice-President of National Olympic Committee, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Belarus Maksim Ryzhenkov, Secretary General of National Olympic Committee Anatol Kotau, Minister of Education of the Republic of Belarus Mikhail Zhuravkov, Deputy Chairman of the Standing Commission on Health, Physical Culture, Family and Youth Policy of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus and the President of Belarus Athletic Federation Vadim Devyatovsky. European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen came to Belarus to watch the event and presented the fastest runners – Vitaly Shafar (UKR) and Olga Mazurenok (BLR) with medals during the victory ceremonies following the races. President Hansen was impressed by the numerous enthusiastic runners and spectators: “I am very impressed by the organization. I am grateful to all the team for their job. It is indeed an amazing event. You managed to gather more than 16 000 participants. For the first such half marathon, these figures are fantastic”! “Victory brings joy at all times. This start has become a successful one for me namely in Minsk – the city that I always visit with great pleasure. Minsk Half Marathon is one of the best half marathons I have ever participated in”, said Vitaliy Shafar – the winner of Minsk Half Marathon among men. The 2016 edition of Minsk Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 4 September 2016. Minsk is calling you for a run!