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2016 Minsk Half Marathon: african athletes, Khoroneko’s kettlebells and many presents

African athletes, Khoroneko’s kettlebells and many presents

Before the start of the Minsk Half Marathon, the weather forecast promised rain
Before the start of the Minsk Half Marathon, the weather forecast promised rain. The organisers were seriously worried about the condition of the track and that some participants would be put off by such weather. However, 40 minutes before the start, it was already clear to see from the bridge over the Nemiga, that the 2016 Minsk Half Marathon would exceed last year’s number of participants.

Darth Vader at the start

Endless streams of people spread from the Sports Palace in the Pobediteley Avenue up to the Minsk — Hero City Monument. A festive atmosphere at the start was created by DJ and also coach of the Dream team, Olga Rulevich, who was wearing a wedding dress and, wearing the badge of participant number 1, cheerfully encouraged everyone to warm up before the start. Soon the Minister of Sports and Tourism, Alexander Shamko, was invited to the podium. He thanked all those who attended and the starting gun sounded. The stream, including special emergency aid teams, universities, and even one ‘Darth Vader’, rushed to the bridge over the Nemiga, after that participants the divided into groups according to the distance they planned to run.

The organisers of the Minsk Half Marathon were warned that the track, especially the 10km and 21.1km track could be hard. After the finish, the Tourism and Sports Minister Alexander Shamko, and the First Vice President of the National Olympic Committee, Maxim Ryzhenkov, joked that on one of the turns the participants almost pushed them onto the 21km track. However, after the race, they were satisfied with their achievements.

Olga Mazurenok on the distance

The anchors and DJs hardly had time to have a break and smell the delicious aromas spreading from the stalls near the Sports Palace, when the first 5km runners were finished. The winner in the men’s short distance was Dmitry Gramatkovsky. “I always participate in such races, but this one in the centre of Minsk was organised perfectly: so many fans along the track, a huge number of participants, good competition, great prizes. I like everything about it,” said Dmitry.

The Minsk Half Marathon also strengthens corporate ties. The Belarusian Notary Chamber managed to send a large group of 25 participants, among the employees there were those who dared to run 10km and 21.1km races.

African athletes

Meanwhile, famous Belarusian athlete Vyacheslav Khoroneko, on the stage near Sports Palace, set up the 150th record in his career, managing to lift 1,430 times a 24kg kettle lying down with one arm for one hour.

Attention was then focused on the finish line, as the participants of the most prestigious 21.1km race were approaching the end. In superb style, Belarusian Olga Mazurenok won the women’s race. “To be honest, before the race, I didn’t know what to expect from myself. The main contenders, the Kenyans, arrived with serious intentions of winning. In the course of the race I lagged far behind the Africans, but thanks to support along all the route I found the strength to push forward. The track in Minsk was not easy, but I had chance to prepare the route. My running was based on preparation for the Olympic Games and the support of the fans was a great help,” said the Belarusian marathon runner.

Presentation of the awards

As for the men, the winner was Kenyan Hillary Kiptum Maiyo Kimaiyo. “The track was not easy. After 10km I was alone, my partners lagged behind and running alone holding the pace is very hard. It is good experience for me, thanks to my manager organised the event for me. I am happy that I won,” said Hillary Kiptum. After the ceremony, all the winners waited for doping control, confirming the importance and seriousness of the sports component of the races. The participants remained in and around the Sports Palace even after the race.

By Alexey Grishin
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