Robert Kipchumba wins the half marathon in Udine (© Lorenzo Sampaolo)
The 2nd IAAF World Road Running Championships which take place on Sunday 14 October are at the competitive eye of a storm of road running action and discussion which is take placing in the Northern Italian city of Udine.
Udine is an experienced destination when it comes to road running. The city has already celebrated seven editions of its own annual international half marathon. Its fast course has attracted seasoned road runners like Evans Cheruyot, Aniko Kalovics, James Kwambai, Hellen Cherono, Solomon Rotich…in the last few years.
That annual race is of course open to the people as well as the elite, and this weekend’s World Championships also include a populous element. A mass race is separately being held on the course early on Sunday morning before the two World Championship half marathon races take place.
Yet from the heights of Udine Castle, where the official press conference and technical meeting will be held on Saturday 13 October, to the start and finish of the loop course set down in the heart of city below in the "Piazza I Maggio", Udine which is set in the middle of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in north eastern Italy will be the centre-point for everything road race orientated this weekend.
Today, AIMS, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races - click here - who work with the IAAF on all matters relating to international road races began their two day Board Meeting in Udine. AIMS is a member based organisation of more than 230 of the leading distance races in the world.
On Saturday (13), it’s the turn of the newly formed IAAF Road Running Commission - click here - to start its latest meeting, also for two days. This Commission is the IAAF’s bridge into the world of the recreational runner, a community that has discovered running, and who through the numerous mass participation races around the world that have developed since the 1970s, have helped make road running one of the most vibrant scenes in worldwide sport, let alone just in Athletics.
One important development already to have emerged from the young Commission which sprung out of the former IAAF Cross Country and Road Running Committee (now IAAF Cross Country Committee) is the decision to start IAAF Labelling for Road Races.
In 2008, the IAAF Label for Road Races will be introduced which is intended to recognise and reward the efforts of leading International Road Races around the world and to more closely associate the IAAF and its Member Federations with the Road Running Community.
The system will award either a Gold or Silver Label to races that satisfy the criteria laid out in the relevant Regulations for IAAF Label Road Races. It recognises the efforts of organisers and will become a significant symbol to runners looking to compete in the best road racing events around the world and to sponsors. Click here for more details
So which ever way you look at it, from the view point of the elite runner, the jogger or the administrator, the north of Italy will be at the eye of a storm of road running related business this weekend.
IAAF Editorial Manager