To mark two weeks to go to the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 (17 October), six of the world’s oldest footraces have been awarded the World Athletics Heritage Plaque.
The World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a location-based recognition, awarded for “an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking”.
Today six historic road races join a list of 54 other recipients which had previously been awarded the plaque since the honour was inaugurated on 2 December 2018.
- Around the Bay Road Race, Hamilton, Ontario (CAN) – founded 1894.
- YMCA Turkey Trot, Buffalo, New York (USA) – founded 1896.
- Běchovice 10k, Prague (CZE) – founded 1897.
- Giro Podistico di Castelbuono, Castelbuono, Sicily (ITA) – founded 1912.
- Kosice Peace Marathon, Kosice (SVK) – founded 1924.
- Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship, Fukuoka (JPN) – founded 1947.
“These six footraces represent some of the oldest sports events, let alone running races, in the world,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. “They join others such as the marathons in Athens, Boston and Seoul, the Saint Silvester São Paulo, and Hakone Ekiden which we recognised last year.
“Together these races ooze athletics history. They represent what running is truly about: the record-breaking feats of the many great champions and the personal triumphs of the countless recreational and charity runners. We should also not forget the dedication and hard work of the officials and volunteers of the local clubs and organising committees which have kept these historic events on the roads for decades,” concluded Coe.
The Around the Bay Road Race, first raced in 1894, holds the distinction of being the oldest long-distance race in North America. However, unlike the YMCA Turkey Trot, which was founded two years later, it has not been continually held.
Prague’s Běchovice 10k, which was first run in 1897, is another footrace to have been held every year since its inauguration.
You will not find many international sporting events with such a historic location as the Giro Podistico di Castelbuono which, since 1912, has been annually run around a loop course of this 14th century Sicilian town.
The Kosice Peace Marathon, founded in 1924, is Europe’s oldest marathon and, along with the Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship, which was first celebrated in 1947, are among the original classic marathons established before the development of the mass running movement.
Information about all recipients of World Athletics Heritage Plaque can be found at worldathletics.org/heritage/plaque
World Athletics Heritage