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20 000 Runners And 42 Countries: Half Marathon Held In Minsk [PICS, VIDEO]

On Sunday, September 4, the capital of Belarus welcomed Half Marathon for the third time. This year the number of participants grew by 4,000 people to reach over 20,000 runners.

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Enthusiasts, officials and famous Belarusians ran side by side with professional athletes, some of whom were renowned marathon runners from around the world.

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The prize purse totalled $25,000.

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The runners covered three distances: 5.5 km, 10.55 km and 21.1 km. Half Marathon was won by Hillary Kiptum Maiyo Kimaiyo in 1:03:00. He is a professional runner from Kenya and came to Belarus for the first time.

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The Belarusian Olga Mazurenok finished first among women with the result of 1 hour and 11 minutes. She won the distance last year as well.

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“It was a hard task, I wasn’t 100% sure that I would win. I didn’t know how well my competitiors were prepared and have not fully recovered after the Olympics”, Olga said after the race.

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Minsk race was attended by other marathon stars including Kenians Wycliffe Kipkorir Biwot, Stellah Jepngetich Barsosio, Margaret Wamahiga Muringi, Ukrainian runners Dmytro Lachine, Mikola Yukhimchuk, Olga Skripa and others.

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Over 1,500 runners registered to cover the full distance. 650 participants came from abroad. Most of them were citizens of the CIS states – Ukraine, Russia, the Baltic States – but there were runners from Japan and Costa Rica!

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The participants praised the organization and said that it had improved in comparison with the previous year. Although it might make sense to divide all the runners by distances next time to avoid a slow start, they added.

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There were support groups at different parts of the distance. This one met runners near Victory Square and House-Museum of 1st Congress of the RSDLP.

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Last metres of the distance near the Opera and Ballet House.

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Some runners took it with humor: 25-year-old Alexander wore a costume of a stormtrooper from “Star Wars”.

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Two friends Roman and Alexei gor inspired by the American epic “300” and wore identical suits of Spartans.

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The man in the yeallow jumpsuit is Vitaly Voronko, a showman who rocked the Britain’s Got Talent show.

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After the race was over, many runners remained at the finish line and continued to talk and share their impressions with each other.Because that’s the real goal of sport – to unite people.