Over 33,000 runners to take part in Rīga Marathon

More than 33,000 runners will take part in the "Rimi" Riga Marathon this weekend, and the World Running Championships, which were held in Rīga last year, play a significant role in the increase in the number of participants, Aigars Nords, the head of the event's organizing team, told Latvian Television on Friday. 

The organizers are pleased, as the number of participants will be significantly higher than in the Riga Marathon a year ago when some 23,500 runners took part. Nords said that the marathon will be as a major event for the country's economy, as more than 10,000 foreign runners and guests will make a significant financial contribution. About half of the foreign guests will be full marathon runners.

The World Championships have boosted foreign interest in coming to Rīga, as everyone has the chance to run the same routes where last year's prestigious prizes were fought for. 

"The secret plan when we organized the World Championships to put Riga on the world map definitely worked, and we are really seeing the fruits this year," said Nords. "We have grown the number of participants by more than ten thousand in one year, which is a credit to the World Championships."

"We have shown in the past that we can get the nation moving every year and we have done that very well this year," said Nord. "When the huge sea of runners [at the start] heads out across the Stone Bridge, it's a mighty sight. It's a priceless sight and extremely emotional."

Runners who do not wish to keep their bib as a souvenir will be able to exchange it for a small potted Christmas tree after the finish, as part of the organizers' focus on environmentally friendly recycling. Each finisher will also receive a medal designed by artist Germans Ermičs. 

The weather on Sunday will be kind to the longer distance runners who will start earlier in the morning, but later in the afternoon the 10-kilometre and 5-kilometre runners will have to be more careful about their well-being as it will be hot.

Hockey fans will also have every opportunity to run and support the runners on the track, as the Latvian national team's World Championship match against Slovakia on Sunday will start later in the evening at 21:20.

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