The Czech Republic – a world-class running elite! The RunCzech running league qualifies for its fifth IAAF Road Race Label.
At present only two running race organizations the world over are able to boast five quality labels from the International Association of Athletics Federations, the IAAF. One of these race organizers is RunCzech – which has just qualified for its fifth quality label in 5 out of its 7 races!
Races organized by Prague International Marathon, going by the RunCzech heading include three prestigious races taking place in Prague as well as half-marathon races in České Budějovice, Olomouc, Ústí nad Labem and, new as of this year, the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon.
“Qualifying for the Gold Label places the Hervis Prague Half Marathon and the Volkswagen Prague Marathon alongside the world’s most prestigious athletic races including marathons in Tokyo, Chicago and London,” Carlo Capalbo, Chair of the Organizing Committee revealed. In addition to the Grand Prix Prague, the range of Silver Labels has also been extended this year to include the Olomouc Half Marathon as well as the Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon. “We really appreciate receiving such recognition from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). It places Ústí nad Labem in a world community of cities where first-rate athletics races are held. It also attests to the work and efforts of all the organizers, magistrate employees, city and state police, and healthcare workers, not to mention volunteers,” said Vít Mandík, Mayor for the City of Ústí nad Labem. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the world governing body for athletics. It currently groups together 212 national federations including the Czech Athletics Association. Each year it assesses the level of individual races and assigns quality labels according to adherence to a range of criteria. This allows the federation to monitor the quality of individual races as well as to guarantee runners and partners a high standard in terms of the actual event. The races are divided into the following three categories depending on the level of criteria met: the Gold, Silver and Bronze Label. With its’ two Golds and three Silvers, the Czech Republic ranks among the running superpowers of the world (alongside Great Britain, the USA, Japan, Italy and Germany).
Upon receiving the news of being awarded a 5th label, one of the chief partners of the RunCzech league was also happy to share his satisfaction. “We wanted to be part of something which offered us quality from a long-term perspective,” said Petr Janeba Division Head at Volkswagen Personal Vehicles. “Czechs need to be brought together in some way and the RunCzech runs really demonstrate that the Czech Republic has a role to play in world athletics. We’re pleased to be part of it as it happens”, he added.
It is most certainly no easy feat going about trying to meet the strict criteria required to qualify for a quality label. Factors taken into consideration include the presence of elite athletes on the start line, the level of anti-doping checks, whether or not the race provides a certified course, the level of care provided for competing racers, the method adopted for measuring times, accessibility of races to the general public as well as a whole host of other aspects. The International Association of Athletics Federations expressed their delight regarding the Czech success story as follows: “I would like to congratulate the organizer of the RunCzech races for acquiring its fifth IAAF Road Race Label”, said Essar Gabriel, IAAF General Secretary. “It is down to your enthusiasm and professional experience organizing running races, coupled with the desire to constantly improve these races, that you have achieved such amazing success,” he added.
Qualifying for five IAAF quality labels isn’t the only award which the RunCzech races have to boast about. “The Czech Athletics Association has a keen interest on following quality events which is why we decided to evaluate the races last year, said František Fojt, Secretariat Director of the Czech Athletics Association. “RunCzech was awarded a Gold plaque for best organizer of athletics races in the Czech Republic.”
When it comes to participating in the RunCzech races, there is a huge level of public interest – capacity for the largest race of the season, the Hervis Prague Half Marathon has already been reached while only a few free spots remain for the Volkswagen Prague Marathon! The half-marathon races being held in Karlovy Vary, České Budějovice, Olomouc and Ústí nad Labem as well as the 5 and 10 km races for the Grand Prix Prague are not lagging far behind. Therefore if you are considering taking part in the RunCzech races, it makes sense not to put off the decision and to sign-up now.