|Year of 1st edition:||1991|
|World Athletics Label Road Race:||Yes|
|Distances:||42K, 21K, 10K, 5K, mile and kids run|
|Type of race:||Flat, city run|
|Time limit:||6h (42K), 3h (21K)|
The Riga Marathon is an annual multi-race event that captivates the hearts of both seasoned runners and novices.
Taking place in the charming capital of Latvia, this race offers the chance to visit a beautiful city immersing in a running atmosphere that permeates the whole weekend.
I’ll share my personal experience and shed light on why the Riga Marathon is a great race for any runner, and a great opportunity for a trip where everyone can find the right distance to collect a medal. Or, for who just wants to explore the town while others are chasing it.
The booking process
The website is user friendly, with a clear graphic. The staff is very responsive, if extra info are needed. However, all the info are well described, and a runners’ guide is available for any doubt. Several distances are available, the classic marathon, the half marathon, 10K, 5K and even a mile race and a kids day event.
Every race awards a medal, similar design. I will get back to that later. I opted for the half marathon distance.
You can pay extra to offset your carbon footprint to the event: a commitment to sustainability that try to characterize the event.
You can select your T-shirt but it’s not mandatory purchase, and it is possible to buy older edition t-shirts at the Expo. Once done, you will go through the payment and the Email confirmation. All participants receive a registration confirmation directly after the online registration.
During the week before the event, the organization sends a personal race mail with the most important information. You can also download the very good event app, gathering all info and the possibility of tracking your friends. Well done!
I only had once to contact the organization via Email, and the response was fast and precise. The expo is at walking distance from the city center, although a bit outside. In 2023 was organised in the Hanzas Peronas hall, 20 min walk from the center.
The place is huge, and full of stands: you will not only be able to get the race pack (not much more than the bib number). There will be a chance for good purchases, and card payment is available everywhere. The race expo really offered a wide range of exhibitors, featuring the latest running gear, nutritional products, and expert advice.
I bought a T-shirt from one of last years. On that regard, both T-shirts and medals are every year commissioned to one local artist, and are therefore very peculiar.
To give an example, in 2023 all finishers received medals designed by Latvia’s most famous graphic artist, Paulis Liepa. In that case, the central image of the medal is a sweat drop, which is a tribute to the perseverance, endurance, and sweat spilled on the track by runners. The refreshment stations were well organised and spread through the course.
A small remark: the organisation created a green race, also creating a stand where you can get a tree in exchange for the stuff (bib, pins, etc.) to be reused, and not thrown away. But therefore why using plastic cups? A small remark in one of the very few areas needing improvement. But besides that, the organization and logistics of the Riga Marathon were impeccable. From pre-race registration to the post-race celebrations, the event was flawlessly executed.
The Riga Marathon offers a course that seamlessly combines urban landscapes with scenic beauty. From the moment the race commences, runners are treated to a panoramic tour of Riga’s most iconic landmarks. The route winds through cobblestone streets, revealing historic buildings, grand cathedrals, and the green, charming parks.
One standout moment was running across the Vansu Bridge, with breathtaking views of the Daugava River. This picturesque backdrop provided a welcome distraction and a sense of awe throughout the race, despite being one of the very few uphills of the race. Another great moment, around mid-race, being greeted by boys and girls in historical uniforms, near the Freedom monument.
In summary, the Riga Marathon has been for me an exceptional event, characterized by great landscape, an outstanding organization machine, and an electrifying atmosphere. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-time participant, this race offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you with cherished memories.
More important, it is an event for all! You can have a group with the seasoned marathoner, the beginner who would like to approach his or her first 5K, a family with kids who want also to collect their medal. Riga Marathon gives you all that, and even more.
Find my traveling tips: what to do in Riga
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