Rimi Riga Marathon Again Receives Gold Label from World Athletics
World Athletics (formerly known as the IAAF) has confirmed the place of the Rimi Riga Marathon among the most prestigious marathons on the planet, once again awarding a Gold Label to the most ambitious public sporting event in the Baltics. The high rating—the only one awarded in the whole of Northern Europe—is an internationally significant marathon tourist magnet, so it is expected that tens of thousands of running enthusiasts from Latvia and around the world will sign up for the event in Riga in 2020. Dozens of high-level professionals will also compete on the streets of Riga on May 17th, 2020, for whom the Rimi Riga Marathon will be the last chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games before the end of May.
“We are proud that the Rimi Riga Marathon will once again place Riga on the map of the world’s most prestigious marathons during its 30th anniversary season. The Gold Label is a status which must be earned from scratch every year in stiff competition from other large cities whose budgets far exceed ours. We want to express our enormous thanks to all who had a hand in helping the Rimi Riga Marathon to maintain its Gold standard: our team, partners and friends, our long-term supporters Rimi, WESS, Sportland, LIVE RIGA and Riga City Council, and, of course, our participants from 82 countries!” says Race Director of Rimi Riga Marathon Aigars Nords.
In honour of Tokyo, London, New York and other global metropolises, World Athletics has introduced a Platinum Label, which was awarded to 12 marathons. The main thing that differentiates this label from a Gold Label marathon is the participation of at least 15,000 runners in the marathon-distance race (42 km 195 m). Riga will be joined in its Gold status by other elite marathon such as Paris, Vienna, Prague, Sydney, Rotterdam, Seville, Mumbai and others, just ahead of those awarded a Silver label including Rome, Barcelona and Milan, with Bronze marathons Buenos Aires, Warsaw, Copenhagen as well as Tallinn coming up behind. Estonia’s capital city can be proud of hosting a World Athletics Bronze Label marathon for the first time in 2020, thanks to targeted government support policies and state financing, which gave the deciding help needed to fulfil the criteria of a Bronze Label marathon.
The Gold Label once again gives the Rimi Riga Marathon the status of most important marathon in Northern Europe, significantly strengthening the interest of both overseas and Latvian runners in enjoying Riga at a run. Interestingly, 2019’s results (Andualem Belay Shiferaw representing the men at 2:08:51, with Birke Debele Beyene at 2:26:18 for the women) secure Riga’s status as Northern Europe’s fastest marathon, thus increasing interest among professionals who will race in Riga in order to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. To meet Olympic standards, men must run a marathon faster than 2:11:30 and women faster than 2:29:30, or place in the Top 5 of a Gold Label marathon. Similarly, by placing in the Top 10 of the 2019 Rimi Riga Marathon, leading Latvian marathon runner Dmitrijs Serjogins got his pass to the World Championships in Doha.
World Athletics awards their Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Labels for a year to those who fulfil precise criteria including various event organisational and course infrastructure aspects including safety, opportunities for runners and fans, marketing, broadcasts, elite runners’ achievements and qualification level. A crucial addition introduced by World Athletics for 2020 is linked with the introduction of an ambitious anti-doping programme. Gold marathon, including Rimi Riga Marathon, investment in the implementation of the anti-doping programme over the course of 2020 will reach almost 25,000 USD, with the total budget for the new anti-doping programme reaching at least 2.5 million USD.