United in Running with the Baltic Way Challenge
On the anniversary of the Baltic Way, we invite everyone from the Baltics to feel united as they run or walk their Baltic Way kilometers in their own country and location, to find out in a friendly competition who is the most active: Latvians, Lithuanians or Estonians. In collaboration with the Riga Tourism Development Bureau Live Riga, the Rimi Riga Marathon aims to strengthen Riga’s position as the Baltic running capital as it continues to grow the popularity of running culture throughout the Baltics. By registering under their country’s flag, each participant will represent Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia, and one person will be drawn at random from each team to receive an exclusive marathon trip of their choice for two people to one of the Baltic marathons taking place this autumn. Participation in the Baltic Way Challenge is free.
The Baltic Way took place on August 23rd, 1989, when two million people held hands in a 675.5-kilometer chain through the Baltic states to show unity in their struggles for freedom. In honour of the anniversary of the Baltic Way, the Rimi Riga Marathon invites all who live in the Baltics to put on their running shoes and go for a run or walk to collect their Baltic Way Kilometers and find out in a friendly competition who is the most active: Latvians, Lithuanians or Estonians.
Run under your country’s flag
Runners can now register for free through the Rimi Riga Marathon’s virtual running club by choosing the team or flag they will run for. The challenge will take place from the morning of August 20th to midnight on August 23rd, allowing all who are interested to collect as many kilometers as possible for their country. The goal is for everyone together to run a total of 31 Baltic Ways, which comes to 20,940.5 km. One participant from each team will win an exclusive marathon trip for two people to the Baltic marathon of their choice this autumn: the Tallinn Marathon, which will take place virtually from the 1st to 30th September, the Danske Bank Vilnius Marathon taking place in person on September 12th and 13th, and the Rimi Riga Marathon, which will start in person from the Freedom Monument on October 10th and 11th. Participants from each team will be awarded three incentive prizes: entry to one of the marathons and official marathon running shirts.
“The Baltic Way was, in a sense, a path to an independent, democratic country which we have now been able to experience and enjoy for 31 years. And the fact that all three Baltic capital cities have their own marathons, two of which have been awarded World Athletics Bronze and Gold Labels, confirms our ability to organise European and world level public sporting events which can attract an impressive number of international marathon tourists and which the country can be proud of. With the Baltic Way Challenge, we want to unite the running community on a Baltic level in our friendship with the Tallinn and Vilnius marathons and with Lithuanian and Estonian runners,” explains Director of the Rimi Riga Marathon Aigars Nords.
“The Baltic countries are currently comparatively safe for tourism and travelling, so the challenge organised by the Rimi Riga Marathon is a good way to invite both local Baltic residents and international visitors to go for a run or walk in any location within the three countries. This is also a great opportunity to remind our neighbours about Latvia and Riga’s world-class marathon, which they can participate in this year while simultaneously enjoying Riga,” adds Eva Juhņēviča, Riga Tourism Development Bureau Board Member.
Baltic Way medals
Organisers of the Baltic Way Challenge have prepared special medals designed by Jānis Šneiders, winner of the Nordic & Baltic Young Artist Award and Purvītis Prize 2021 nominee.
“The idea is based on a book of Native American petroglyphs I saw in a souvenir shop in the USA, in which I saw a symbol I then drew in my sketch book. The symbol was comprised of two square brackets embracing each other like an abstract kiss, hug, handshake or chain link. This symbol represented mutual responsibility. I then saw the similarity with the word un [“and” in Latvian], if the u and n were interlinked, the foot of the n in the mouth (cup) of the u or vice versa; un as a linking word uniting two equal parts of a sentence. Estonia un Latvia un Lithuania,” explains medal designer Jānis Šneiders.