“My First Marathon” is a unique program for selected runners in the Rimi Riga Marathon, providing all the necessary support for an intensive 16-week training period to prepare for their first half marathons or marathons.

My First Marathon

In 2024, more than 200 runners applied for the program, and although the initial plan was to accept six runners, the decision was made to include seven individuals this year. Among them, three women are preparing for the half-marathon distance, while four men are gearing up for the marathon distance in the Rimi Riga Marathon on May 19.

Over the 16-week period from February to May, the “My First Marathon” team, led by Olympian, long-distance runner, and coach Ilona Marhela, will train according to individually tailored training plans and meet weekly for group workouts.

Special thanks to our friends from Sportland, Nike, Garmin, Sporta laboratorija, Centrālā laboratorija, Mangaļi, Science in Sport, and Mēness aptieka for supporting the program!


Tomass Pildegovičs

42 km

Safety expert and reserve soldier.

In addition to writing his doctoral dissertation, Tomass, in his own words, decided to overcome his mid-life crisis “not by buying an expensive yacht or dating a younger woman, but by committing to prepare for a marathon.”

Goal on the track: to run with joy!

Baiba Braže

21 km

Diplomat and former athlete.

Baiba doesn’t enjoy running, but she applied for the program and is determined to prepare for the half-marathon distance to learn how to run properly and with enjoyment.

Monta Sofija Priede

21 km

Kinesiologist, fitness trainer, and mom to a daughter and two dogs.

Monta trained in athletics in her teenage years and competed in sprint distances. This year, she joined the “My First Marathon” program to challenge herself to the longer distance of a half-marathon.

Her goal on May 19th in the Rimi Riga Marathon is to run the half-marathon distance “simply without embarrassment.”

Ingus Rutulis

42 km

Entrepreneur, digital content creator, golfer, and TikToker.

Ingus is determined to transition from a “Sunday runner” to a marathoner and aims to complete the marathon distance in the Rimi Riga Marathon on May 19.

Krista Paula Lepere

21 km

Architect and mom of two daughters.

Ten years ago, Krista trained and competed at a high level in athletics, earning several Latvian championship medals. This year, she challenged herself to a new running adventure by applying for the “My First Marathon” program. In 2021, Krista’s husband, Rihards Lepers, completed the same program, preparing for 16 weeks and running his first half-marathon in 1:53:44.

Krista openly admits that her goal this year is to prepare to run her first half-marathon faster than her husband! Best of luck!

Jānis Volkinšteins

42 km

Wine enthusiast and founder of the wine bar “Vieta”

Jānis describes himself as “a wine enthusiast at night and a sports enthusiast during the day.” He applied for the program to challenge himself and prepare to conquer the challenging marathon distance. He doesn’t hide the fact that, for now, his only goal is to “make it to the finish,” but other goals may arise during the process!