European Games spirit sparked at Minsk half-marathon

11 September 2018

A record number of participants from Belarus and abroad gathered this weekend in Minsk for the city’s annual half-marathon.

More than 35,000 athletes and recreational runners covered different distances in the Belarus capital, which will host the 2nd European Games next year.

Dozens of staff and friends of the Minsk European Games Organising Committee (MEGOC) joined in the sporting activities to promote physical activity, the Games, and to collect funds for a charity. As a strong symbol of unity across nations and generations, the participants unravelled a 25-metre flag featuring the logo of the 2nd European Games in front of the Sports Palace.

“Our MEGOC team takes part in almost all of the important sport events in Minsk,” MEGOC Deputy CEO Anatoly Kotov said after the run. “Running is a very popular activity among our population, with the half-marathon in Minsk always attracting great crowds. Today we conducted a massive flash mob and unveiled a huge flag with the Games logo – a powerful reminder that in less than a year we will be hosting Europe’s largest multisport event in Minsk. Athletes, guests and fans should celebrate peacefully together, just as we did here today in Minsk during the half-marathon.”

During the victory ceremony, 2018 European marathon champion Volha Mazurenok was announced as the latest addition to the team of Star Ambassadors for the European Games.

“I think that most of the participants of the Minsk half-marathon were surprised by the remarkable sporting result and the human feat that Volha performed during her marathon competition at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin this summer,” said George Katulin, CEO of the Minsk European Games Organising Committee (MEGOC).

The Chairman of the Belarus Athletics Federation, Vadim Devyatovsky, highlighted the remarkable popularity Volha enjoys since her memorable victory at the 2018 European Championships, where she won the race despite health issues and having taken the wrong route.

New Star Ambassador Volha Mazurenok said: “I have no doubt that the 2nd European Games in Minsk will be a success. It’s a great honour for me to be part of the Star Ambassador team for the Games. I will do everything possible to present Belarus as a sport-enthusiastic and hospitable country.”