Welcome to Rimi Riga Marathon's Virtual Running Club
At a time when the world is slowly returning to freedom of travel and movement, but restrictions on events and gatherings are still in force, the we're announcing a new Virtual Running Club which allows an unlimited number of running enthusiasts from throughout Latvia, the Baltics and the world to gather and exercise. Members will be able to race, train and take part in challenges remotely, as well as collect kilometers and points towards special prizes and medals, with times and distances automatically uploading from members’ smartphones, popular running apps and fitness trackers. We invite participants to race the first event, or Summer Champs 1st Stage (5 km, 10 km or 21 km from June 26th-28th) alongside Latvia’s most successful long-distance runner Jeļena Prokopčuka, long-time marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, Latvian hockey legend Sandis Ozoliņš, football captain Kaspars Gorkšs and others. Participation in the Rimi Riga Marathon's Summer Champs and other Virtual Running Club events are be free.
The biggest advantage of the club is that participants are able to use almost any of the most popular smart devices and apps to track their runs, training sessions and challenges, meaning that they will not be forced to change their running gadget habits. Running events will generally take place on weekends, giving runners the chance to run their chosen distance at any time and place between Friday and Sunday. Participation in the Virtual Running Club and all runs are be free.
"As the organisers of the leading public running event in the Baltics, we were not satisfied with the public sporting vacuum created by the pandemic. We realised that we urgently needed to fill the gap with motivational, exciting and unique events that may only be possible to experience this year. For the Marathon, this will also be a unique experience, as for the first time we will be using the summer as a preparation period for the big event in the autumn. This summer promises to be hot not only temperature-wise, but also in terms of running events: we will be offering the chance to compete in our Summer Champs series, donate to our Movement for Movement charity by running Good Will Kilometers, and feel Baltic unity with our Baltic Way Challenge,” explains Aigars Nords, Race Director of the Rimi Riga Marathon.
Three Stages of Summer Champs
The first event in the Virtual Running Club summer calendar is the Rimi Riga Marathon's Summer Champs 1st Stage from June 26th to 28th. The second stage will take place from July 31st to August 2nd, while the third will be from September 4th to 6th. The Summer Champs will be like an informal Latvian virtual championship for 5 km, 10 km and 21 km over three stages. The results of each stage, which will be automatically uploaded from participants’ smart devices to the Virtual Running Club. However, we emphasise that the idea behind the Summer Champs isn’t speed, but rather participation, exercise and togetherness, offering participants the chance to win valuable prizes offered by the Marathon’s partners: Sportland, Nike, SIS, Garmin, Mangaļi and others.
Paula Radcliffe, long-time marathon world record holder; Jeļena Prokopčuka, two-time winner of the New York Marathon; Latvian marathon record holder, Karīna Helmane-Soročenkova and Dmitrijs Serjogins, Latvian Marathon Champions, as well as Ilona Marhele, Jānis Višķers and other leading runners have confirmed their participation in the 1st Stage. Latvian sporting legends Sandis Ozoliņš and Kaspars Gorkšs, as well as sports organisers Raimonds Elbakjans and Rimants Liepiņš, will also be encouraging people to take part in the Summer Champs by taking on one of the Summer Champs distances.
Good Will Kilometers
The first Riga Marathon took place on July 27th, 1991, so for our 30th anniversary season, in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Fund, we invite runners participate in the charity initiative Movement for Movement. Runners are asked to run whatever distance they can during the Good Will Kilometers period from July 17th to July 27th, and donate to children with physical disabilities. Donations will also be accepted at Rimi stores throughout Latvia. Each Good Will Kilometers participant will receive a commemorative symbol of recognition—bright yellow shoelaces—allowing them to be recognised at future running events. The amount donated during the run will be officially given to the Children’s Hospital Fund on the evening of July 27th.
Baltic Way Challenge
Meanwhile, between August 21st and 23rd, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian runners will be invited to unite in our Baltic Way Challenge, with the aim of running the length of the Baltic Way 31 times in honour of the 31st anniversary of the Baltic Way. In total, runners from the three countries will have to run 20,940.5 km. Participants can run as far as they want and will have the opportunity to purchase a special medal after the challenge.
Medals for Virtual Running Club events
We will provide special medals for both the Rimi Riga Marathon Summer Champs and the Baltic Way Challenge, designed by the young and talented Jānis Šneiders, winner of the Nordic & Baltic Young Artist Award and Purvītis Prize 2021 nominee. His medals for each stage of the Summer Champs and the Baltic Way Challenge will be available for purchase through the Rimi Riga Marathon online store.
16 weeks entil the Rimi Riga Marathon
Midsummer week heralds a new countdown: 16 weeks until the Rimi Riga Marathon on October 10th and 11th. From July 1st, in-person training will restart for Riga Runners and Nike Run Club, and the kilometers run with them will also help to earn points and prizes for the Virtual Running Club. At the end of the summer, from September, Sunday morning in-person training sessions at ALFA shopping centre will also restart.
In addition to training sessions, many summer weekends will be filled with challenges and runs from the Rimi Riga Marathon’s partners who promise great prizes and benefits. They can be won both by the fastest runners and anyone who takes part and registers on the new Rimi Riga Marathon Virtual Running Club platform.
We would like to remind people that the Rimi Riga Marathon is in full flow, and runners can apply for the Kids’ Day or one of the five distances—marathon, half-marathon, 10 km, 6 km and the Family Run—in the Registration section. Everyone who takes part in the run on October 10th and 11th will receive a special 30th anniversary medal designed by the artist behind the Tokyo Olympic Games medals, Junichi Kawanishi!