The origins of the marathon’s official running shirt collection can be traced back to 2008, when the visual solution of the advertising campaign by artist Gintas Apsīš continued its story on the official running shirt.

 

Since then, every year, the creation of the marathon’s official running shirt design is entrusted to one of the famous artists in Latvia. Among them are Andris Vītoliņš, Ieva Iltnere, Ritums Ivanovs, Elita Patmalniece, Ella Krugļanska, Krišs Salmanis, Ilmārs Blumbergs, Raimonds Staprāns, Anna Heinrihsone, Maija Kurševa, Gustavs Klucis, MARE&ROLS, Jānis Šneiders, Kristiāns Brekte, Paulis Liepa and this year – Germans Ermičs!

2023, graphic artist Paulis Liepa

“The marathon route zigzags across the city of Riga like an ant trail, taking thousands of runners back and forth across the river through a maze of squares, parks, and boulevards. For a few days, the typical urban block mosaic has completely distinct signals, and the sweat-stained miles provide brand-new difficulties for both marathon runners and the city as a whole.” explains graphic artist and design author Paulis Liepa.

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2022, artist Kristiāns Brekte

“It has always seemed that runners have something to hide, because why else would they be running. When designing the shirts, I thought about what it would be like if I ran. What would I run from, where would I go?” explains the author of the design of the 2022 official medals and shirts, artist Kristiāns Brekte.

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2021, artist Jānis Šneiders

The straight line in the cardiogram is full of unrealized potential, while the wavy line is alive. Life is in the movement. The lines in the shirts are repeated as straight, monotonous days, until they are gradually moved by the joy of moving, making the day lines longer and also more fun – you can ride over them with your eyes like on a roller coaster and feel the power of movement” says design author Jānis Šneiders, who is nominated for the Purvīša Prize 2021 and won the Nordic-Baltic Young Painter title two years ago.

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2020, the Founders of Latvian Fashion Brand MAREUNROL’S

“The message we wanted to convey with this shirt was the runner’s battle with the wind while maintaining a solid mind. Running 20 km or more is unimaginable for me. At the same time, it is important to know your body and not overestimate your abilities, as our wishes are often bigger than our physical ability. Of course, this all has to be taken with a sense of humour,” explains designer Rolands Pēterkops.

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2019, Artist Maija Kurševa

This year had two drawings to offer runners. “In one drawing, a marathon runner has taken over the city and dominates it. The drawing is also a nod to artist Māris Bišofs, whose influence comes through here. Meanwhile, the second drawing is a song to Riga’s little wooden buildings and the human proportions of Riga’s buildings. When I walk around, my head is often turned upwards at the details of the hundred-year-old buildings. But here and there you can still see one-storey wooden buildings. Often, hidden as they are in the courtyards of larger streetside buildings, they live a parallel life, like a village within a village,” explains the artist.

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2018, pioneering Latvian photographer Gustav Klutsis

The Latvian Centenary shirt features a drawing by Latvia’s most famous artist called Daugavas sargs (The Guard of the River Daugava) which shows Latvian national hero Lāčplēsis. Bearing in mind that the 2018 marathon and half marathon courses crossed the Daugava on all three main Riga bridges for the first time, Klucis’ Lāčplēsis was really able to symbolically guard the river. The work by Klucis was purchased specially for the marathon shirt in an auction in Riga on November 18th, 2017.

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2017, Playwright and Artist Raimonds Staprāns

The drawing on the 2017 running shirt is the artist’s interpretation of one of his brightest memories of Latvia’s first period of independence. A pendant discovered by archaeologists and named after the place where it was dug up, the Kursa Cross stayed in Staprāns’ memory both for its form and design. In the 1960s, Staprāns’ modernized and simplified the Kursa Cross design and made his own necklace. The shirt design displays an even more simplified, modernized image of the pendant.

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2016, Artist Ieva Iltnere

Ieva Iltnere, an artist well-known in Latvia, brought joy to both runners and onlookers with her unique, recognisable style. Iltnere’s drawing is characteristic of the artist and symbolizes how varied the runners are and the wide range of international representation.

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2015, Painter Ella Kruglyanskaya

The aim of the design is to remind us that running isn’t all about the result. What matters is the taking part, as well as, of course, the pride and joy we gain from it. That’s why this shirt displays nice, happy runners.

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2014, Artist Ilmārs Blumbergs

A pleasant, optimistic snail. The artists asks runners and passers by with irony to relax and smile; after all, “why are you trudging along like a snail?” is something that runners and onlookers ask of both themselves and others. And if we look at the smile of the snail drawn by Ilmārs Blumbergs, we can see how completely happy he is. The dozens of minutes added on to his time don’t diminish his joy of the process at all, and all of us as runners could have done with a couple of extra legs at some point or another.

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2013, Conceptual Artist Krišs Salmanis

The classic panorama of Riga seemed so cliche that I often act like a tourist in my own city. It’s like a postcard, it almost has a bad taste when you look at it. But many cities don’t even have panoramas like this, due to their size, architecture or topography. And ours always looks different. It is as though the towers secretly move. Maybe, when no one is looking, they turn a corner and don’t quite return to the same location.

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2012, Artist Anna Heinrihsone

The Nordea Riga Marathon has become confirmation of ideas which carry a positive charge and are always gratifying. The global nature of this event made me think about what I put my trust in, what makes me happy when I think about the city I live in. Yes, I am excited by the global scale, but I see a city as a culmination of personal moments: streets that I walk down every day, landmarks that have remained unchanged for years, quick sketches in my sketchbook. A glance records moments of the daily rush.

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2011, Painter Ritums Ivanovs

The shirt design was made up of thousands of brush strokes, just like how thousands of runners come together at the start line. In a way, the artist dedicated each stroke to a different participant, allowing each runner to choose their own. Only together do we see that the strokes form a panorama of Riga. For the first time, the design was also used for the finishing medals.

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2010, Painter Andris Vītoliņš

The idea came about as a synthesis of sport and art. The design shows locations and structures unique to Riga – Aspāzijas Boulevard and the Latvian National Opera, the pavilions of the Central Market, the Zaķusala TV tower and other places. The aim was to show some slightly different places in Riga that are certainly worth noticing, but are often missed by visitors and residents alike.

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2009, Fashion Artist Elita Patmalniece

The monochrome ink drawing unites all the beautiful landmarks of Riga city centre that the runners could see with their own eyes in 2009: Elizabetes Street, the panorama of Riga Old Town with its church towers, the parks in the city centre, and other locations.

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