Tegla Loroupe, Birhane Adere, Vivian Cheruiyot. Sergey Lebid, Abderrahim Goumri, Edwin Soi, Imane Merga. Clearly these names have a lot in common, in that they are all world class endurance runners. However more specifically they’re all former winners of the BO Classic held on 31 December each year.
Every year Olympic champions, World and European medallists and some 600 other runners take to the streets of Bolzano in Northern Italy for the BO Classic, now in its 41st edition. The event is exactly as you’d expect on New Year’s Eve – a great big party.
Starting with the open race at 1pm, the programme then features a youth race, sponsored by Raiffeisen since its inception, before a disability race at 2.30pm. Then come the elite races; 5km for the women and 10km for the men.
Starting and finishing in Waltherplatz, the race is made up of a series of 1,250m loops, making it extremely spectator friendly. Last year organisers estimated that there were around 10,000 people lining the course, hence the party atmosphere. This year things are expected to be even better with the news that the town’s Christmas Markets will be staying in Waltherplatz until 6th January. This will make the BO Classic the first race ever to pass through a Christmas Market!
The elite races always showcase the crème de la crème of the world’s best distance runners, with all baring Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele having taken a tilt at the BO Classic crown. With the elite races organised by Gianni Demadonna, the race very rarely disappoints. One of the most exciting races in recent years was in 2010, when Imane Merga defeated a younger Mo Farah in a thrilling finish.
Last year Merga suffered the same fate he instilled on Farah, being out dipped by countryman Edris Muktar, 29.07.1 to 29.07.3. The women’s race was equally close, Janet Kisa prevailing in 15.49.4.
Expect the 2015 edition to be equally electrifying.
Media Manager Alberto Stretti commented on the race having been certified by European Athletics Running for All:
“We are extremely proud to be the first 5-star certified event in Italy; the race is extremely well known at home, but ultimately we want to improve our reputation across Europe and continue to welcome more and more runners each year.
“Running for All is great for promotion within Europe and we will use the quality and safety standards to help improve the race wherever possible. When we heard about the initiative we were very excited and driven to reach our goal, of earning 5-star certificaiton. Having said that, we couldn’t have done it without the help and support of FIDAL.”
Visit the event website for more information on the BO Classic in Bolzano.
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