9 questions to discover a marathon : Vilnius Marathon

11 Feb 2010 11:58
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Interview Focus on a race

Evaldas Martinka is the Director of International Vilnius marathon.

Hello, on September 12th, you’ll be organizing the Vilnius Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

As yearly, start and finish of Vilnius marathon will be in main square of Vilnius, near the Cathedral. The course will extend in central part of the city, which most of it is by the biggest river in Vilnius – Neris.

How old is the marathon and why was it created in the first place?

Roots of this race reaches year of 2001 when the first run took place in central streets of the city. International Vilnius marathon started when authorities of city and private structures of business started to maintain traditions of running, to encourage healthy way of living and on purpose to organise an international running feast and to enroll Vilnius into a respectable list of worlds’ cities which organise marathons.

Logo vilnius marathon
Credit : Vilnius Marathon

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Participants of mini marathon will go for a spin round the symbol of the city – hill of Gediminas castle, and participants of marathon and half-marathon will mostly run by the river Neris and bridges over it. We can name this marathon “the green one” – Vilnius itself is a rather green city and runners will be able to feel not only greenness, but also a dew flowing from water.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

We hope, that in distance of marathon and half-marathon will get off to a good start about 1000 participant from about 25-30 countries. In marathon of year 2010 most able Lithuanian marathon runners, also willing to participant in European championships in Barcelona, promises to participate. Every year we attain professionals and people who like healthy way of living so we can not exclude any type of runners. Participants from other countries are as well two types – professionals and other enthusiasts of running.

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?

Yes, as well as last year, the program of Vilnius marathon will continue for two days. The day before the main run, mass races of schoolchildren will take place in the Cathedral square and in Sereikiškis park. During the main run, participants will have an opportunity to choose from three distances: marathon, half-marathon and mini marathon (2,3 km). We will also arrange a show of high jump using format “city square” together with best jumpers of Lithuania.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

Within last year it is hard to forecast weather. The race took place when it was very cold and sleet (in 2008) and when the weather was perfect for marathon (sunny, about 15 degrees above 0, in 2009). We are optimistic and we hope the during the marathon we will feel lithuanian summer.

Overlooking Vilnius
Credit : UnorthodoxY

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

Yes, our aim – not only the sporting aspect of this race, but also a feast for the city.Vilnius marathon will be included into program of main cultural events in the city “Vilniaus Dienos” (in english – “Days of Vilnius” ), according to vice-mayor of Vilnius Mr.G. Babravičius – Vilnius marathon has an opportunity to become the brightest jewel of “Days of Vilnius” crown. This will include fairs of sporting tackles, educational actions organised by Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, projects of charity, competitions of fishing, and, of course, a necessary attribute of such event – “Pasta Party”. All activities will be held in the historical centre of the city in a very compact territory.

The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Vilnius before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Vilnius is a versatile city. The old town of Vilnius – one of the biggest and the oldest in Europe. Museums, theaters, churches of various historical periods – for a runner who is interested in history and architecture. Lovers of nightlife will find a lot of night clubs and other places where to amuse. During your first visit we would recommend to go to old town of Vilnius and a trip to Trakai 20km from Vilnius where you will see an unique 14 century castle in an island of Galves lake. What is more – Vilnius is a rather cheap city.

Trakai Castle
Credit : schlaeger

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Vilnius Maratonas?

It is a cosy, compact and very “green” race in a friendly and autumnally romantic Vilnius, which is counting its seventh century and in Lithuania, which has just entered it second historical millennium.

Thank you Evaldas