Salzburg is synonymous with Mozart and “The Sound of Music” but the Austrian city also plays host to an annual springtime marathon which draws in runners from across the globe.
The 15th edition of the Salzburg Marathon - an event with a five star rating from European Athletics Running For All - took place on Sunday 1 May and it was the biggest to date. Some 7283 runners from 77 nations entered one of the country’s biggest sporting events staged across three days for the first time with nearly 1500 taking part in the pinnacle distance: the marathon.
“Our concept to enlarge the event into a three day programme, the ‘Get Active Days’ has been a success,” said race organiser Johannes Langer, who was particularly pleased with the turnout for the races staged for youngsters.
“Our main goal is to initiate as many people to running as possible and we very much achieved this goal this year. Every runner crossed the finish line with a big smile and the huge emotions confirm our work. Together with our participants we celebrated a remarkable running festival in Mozart’s hometown.”
A start temperature of 10C and overcast skies provided good conditions for distance running although the weather began to deteriorate somewhat with the onset of rain and drizzle some ninety minutes after the starting gun was fired.
However, the runners enjoyed the fast and flat course which takes in many of Salzburg’s principal attractions and starts and finishes inside the historic centre which is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
The runners were preceded by the professionals who were looking to claim prize money, fast times and bragging rights. It was a particularly good day for Dutch runner Ruth van der Meijden, who set a lifetime best and course record of 73:10 to qualify for the European Championships on home soil in Amsterdam in July. It will be the first time that the half marathon distance is part of the European Athletics Championships programme.
“I started easy in the first 10km in 35:10. I enjoyed the beautiful mountains in the surroundings. Then I pushed myself to the finish. It’s a great course and atmosphere and I’m very happy to have qualified for the European Championships,” said the winner.
As well as celebrating the past, the Salzburg Marathon is also thinking about the future and is proud of its long-standing environmental credentials. One of the event’s selling points is the fact the marathon in 2010 became the first in the world to be bio-certified.
This is something runners and spectators alike appreciate.
“Running and health are linked very closely. Healthy nutrition is the basis for successful running. That’s why we are going this way with conviction together with our partner Bio Austria,” said Langer.
The 2017 edition of the Salzburg Marathon takes place on 7 May.
Visit the event website for more information.
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