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"Nordea" Riga Marathon to have culturally-saturated program this year

The traditional "Nordea Riga" Marathon will have a culturally-saturated program this year, as Riga is the current European Capital of Culture.

The "Nordea" Marathon will take place for the 24th time on May 18. As usual, runners have four racess to choose from: full marathon (42 kilometers and 195 meters), half-marathon (21 kilometers and 97.5 meters), as well as ten-kilometer and five-kilometer distances.

"I do not know if any other event in Riga can bring together representatives from 65 countries as the "Nordea" Riga Marathon did last year. Yes, we will have the Choir Games with people from ninety countries, but this is a one-off event, whereas the marathon is organized on an annual basis," Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs said during a press conference today. "I am truly pleased to see that many runners in the city, who are not just preparing for the marathon but run on a daily basis as they believe it to be necessary."

"Now we have the opportunity to prove that we can organize such an event at not just the highest athletic level, but also with an exceptionally diverse cultural program," added Usakovs.

This year, Brivibas Street has been included in the route of the marathon, whereas the marathon's section on Krasta Street will be shorter, and Dienvidu (Southern) Bridge is not part of the marathon at all this year, said "NECom" CEO and the head of the marathon organization team, Aigars Nords.

At the Freedom Monument, the runners will be cheered on by a special honor guard of the European Capital of Culture, made up of hundreds of choristers and dancers. A special "Culture Stage" will be erected on the intersection of Elizabetes Street and Brivibas Street, where local stars will perform. All along the street there will be various artistic performances taking place.

"We are pleased that increasingly more runners choose to move up from the shorter distances to the longer," said Nords, adding that the amount of marathon's prize money would increase to EUR 24,000 this year. One-fourth of the amount will go to local runners, encouraging more people to participate in the event.

Latvia's best marathon runners will represent Latvia at the event: Jelena Prokopcuka and Valerijs Zolnerovics, and top marathon runners from Russia, Japan, Kenya, Ethiopia and other marathon superpowers will also participate.

"You can see that the spring has come to Riga by the large number of runners in streets. This is the right way to generate the hormone of happiness," stressed Janis Buks, "Nordea" bank's head in Latvia, who has been cooperating with the marathon organizers for eight years. He, too, said that this year's marathon would be very special.

On the other hand, "Lattelecom" has created the "uzmundrini.lv" platform, where any visitor may leave his or her best wishes to the marathon runners, as well as created a special marathon application for smartphones.

Ilmars Blumbergs is the designer of the official marathon T-shirts this year.

"Nordea" Riga Marathon has been awarded the prestigious International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) Road Race Bronze Label for the third year in a row, which is the highest assessment among all marathons in Northern Europe.

Applications from marathon runners will be accepted until May 17 via the marathon's official website "nordearigasmaratons.lv" and at "Nordea" offices all over Latvia.

Last year, 22,020 runners from 65 countries participated in the "Nordea" Riga Marathon.


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