Marathon test event
On Saturday, 27 April, Moscow hosted a test event for the 14th IAAF World Championships - the Russian Marathon Championships.
The main goal of the organisers was to test the operation of judges, volunteers, media services, doping control, event presentation team, refreshment and mist stations, security and other services involved in the race organisation.
There were 43 participants in the men's race and 27 participants in the women's race. The gun for male runners went off at 12 pm, for women - 15 minutes later. The participants were lucky with the weather , it was sunny, quiet and not too cold - about +13oC. The first 600 m of the World Championships' marathon course are run on the track of the Luzhniki Bog Sports Arena, then the runners complete four laps along the embankment of the Moskva river (from Luzhniki to Kremlin and back) to return on the track for the last 300 m.
The main goal of the runners was to achieve the national World Championships qualification standards which are higher than the IAAF ones. The men's standard in Russia is 2:13:00 (the IAAF standard equals 2:17:00), the women's one is 2:30:00 (the IAAF standard is 2:43:00). Unfortunately none of the winners managed to run fast enough. The favourite of the men's race, European 2010 bronze medallist Dmitriy Safronov, took and early lead, but on the second half of the distance he realised that he can't keep the necessary pace to achieve the standard and decided to drop out. In his absence the gold medal was taken by 21-year-old Artyom Aplachkin with 2:15:23. Marina Kovalyova took an impressive win in the women's race with 2:35:03. The leaders of the Russian women's marathon running Liliya Shobukhova and Tatyana Petrova-Arkhipova are skipping the season due to pregnancy.
Both Russian champions noted that the course is good in terms of profile and predicted fast times for Moscow 2013 marathon races. Everyone was also taking about the course, that passes by a number of famous Moscow sights, being scenic and attractive for spectators.
As of 27 April only four runners have achieved the Russian qualification standards for Moscow 2013: one man (Aleksey Reunkov) and three women (Alevtina Biktimirova, Mariya Konovalova and Albina Mayorova), but the official composition of the national team for marathon is still to be announced.