Games and disciplines forgotten in time will accompany the Runathon, which gathers 340 participants from 11 countries
A fair of traditional and sports and games in 11 European countries will announce the space in front of the NDK this Sunday. The sets of the individual countries will be located after 9:00 a.m. in the start-finish area of the upcoming athletics Runathon, in which 240 runners from abroad and 140 from Bulgaria will participate. Each country will be provided with a separate marquee where demonstrations will be given and how the respective national games are played.
The international fair will promote traditional sports that are attractive and can be played by different generations. The 11 countries participating in the Runathon will present their typical sports and disciplines, volunteers will also participate in the presentations. In the morning, at the same time as the Runathon, the audience of the event will enjoy demonstrations of these games, thus promoting among the general public the physical activity that helps for a healthy body, mind and social well-being, recalling the forgotten old ways of playing sports in individual countries.
The day before the Runathon, on Saturday, a large-scale International Conference on “Sports Diplomacy and Integration Sports Values” will be held at the Park Hotel Moscow from 10:30 a.m., in which the member of the European Parliament Andrey Kovachev, the president of ACES EUROPE, has so far confirmed his participation Gian Francesco Lupatelli, the Director of Erasmus Mundus and Sport in the European Commission’s European Education and Culture Executive Agency Yves Le Lostec, other authoritative European sports chiefs. Among the panelists are Elena Malikova – former high-level modern pentathlon competitor, represented Czechoslovakia and later Slovakia at major sporting events, World Cup finalist in 1992 and 1999, multiple national champion (1986-2000) , awarded by the IOC with the “Olympic Sport and Literature” trophy, is currently the chairman of the Slovak Olympic Academy, Roberto di Stefano – mayor of Sesto San Giovanni (Italy), Gert Jan Skeritus – chairman of the Municipal Council of Alfeen an den Rijn (Netherlands ) and Andre de Jo – director of the Association for Sports and Municipalities in the Netherlands and member of the Board of Directors of ACES EUROPE.
The purpose of the Conference is to share results, good practices and lessons learned, as well as to demonstrate the commitment of the participants in Runathon Sofia 2023 to the promotion and education of sports values between generations. Participants will sign a pledge to promote sport among all generations, for more inclusive sporting activities and to adapt initiatives to be more welcoming to the over 55s.
240 track and field athletes from 10 countries are arriving in Sofia today to take part in the unique Runathon 2023 competition this Sunday. They will be joined by 140 runners from Bulgaria, led by prominent competitors and motivators such as Militsa Mircheva, Shaban Mustafa, Hristiyan Stoyanov, Evgeni Ignatov, Veselin Cinzov, Krasimira Chakhova and others. The large-scale Runathon sports event is being organized for the first time under the auspices of the European Union and will be a warm-up before the big Sofia Marathon next weekend, on October 8.
The aim of the new initiative is to stimulate interest in team and relay races by attracting more supporters of grassroots running. The competition program includes starts at 2.5 km, 5 km, 10 km and 20 km. The short distance is mainly for people with special needs, the 5 and 10 km are team races – with a simultaneous start, and the 20 km is a relay race – each team member runs 5 km and the fastest team wins. The competitions will be open to the participation of teams composed of four people of different ages in four categories: 20-40; 40-50; 50-60; 60+. Team composition ensures gender balance, teams will be made up of equal numbers of men and women.
The event will take place on October 1, 2023, along a specially designed route around the NDK. First at exactly 9:30 a.m. will start the 2.5 km participants together with the Paralympians and people in wheelchairs – this distance is non-competitive. At 10:00 a.m. is the first competitive race – 5 km, in which teams of four participate, they will make two laps of the track with a simultaneous start and summation of the results. At 10:30 a.m. the 10 km and 20 km races will start. The 10km run is also in teams of four with a simultaneous start and timing, and the 20km run is different, it’s a relay race where the four pass the post one after the other to run 5km.
The Bulgarian participants in the Runathona will be next to athletes from 10 other countries – Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Latvia and Romania. In these countries, the selection of participants took place for six months, and they also registered through the Internet site, but were determined by the so-called “team leaders”, who strictly monitored the implementation of the training programs set by the Bulgarian organizers. Each participant was committed to share their photos, videos and information about their training in the specially built profiles in the social networks of the initiative. Each country sends six teams to Bulgaria.
The driving force behind the major non-profit sporting event funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ program is the Sport in Leisure Association. The overall aim of the Runathon is to encourage people of all generations, genders and physical fitness from the 11 EU Member States to run regularly and to promote running as a team sport that can create a bond between different generations and that has significant physical, mental and social benefits for the active life of people of all ages.