This year’s Sofia Marathon, to be held on several of the Bulgarian capital city’s major boulevards on October 14, will have the largest starting field yet, with more than 4000 participants from 48 countries, the Sofia city hall said.
Both numbers are a record for the race, which was first held as a national championship in 1983. Fittingly, the prize money on offer is also the largest yet for the Sofia Marathon, with a total of 63 000 leva (about 32 200 euro), plus an additional 20 000 leva grand prize.
The men’s and women’s winners of the full marathon course will each take home 8000 leva, while the grand prize will go to the runner with the highest amount of points in the Sofia Marathon series, which includes the Varna and Stara Zagora marathons held in spring.
Italy’s Ahmed Nasef, who finished runner-up in the 2017 Sofia Marathon and Ruth Matebo of Kenya, the women’s winner of last year’s race, have won both earlier races in the series and lead in the points standing. Should two or more competitors finished tied, they will split the grand prize.
Matebo will race to defend her title in Sofia, as will her compatriot Samson Barmao Kiprono, who won the Sofia Marathon 2017 men’s race, setting a new course record in the process.
In total, 550 participants will attempt to run a full marathon, with half-marathon and quarter-marathon races to be held concurrently, with the starting time scheduled for 10am on October 14.
Twenty minutes earlier, a three-kilometer mass race is to be held, with at least 700 participants already registered, although that number is expected to reach 1200 by the starting time, according to the city hall, which is one of the co-organisers of the event.
Although the city hall is yet to make public the full list of street closures for Sunday, the course runs through several major thoroughfares.
The race will start at the Vassil Levski national football stadium on Evlogi Georgiev Boulevard towards the National Palace of Culture (NDK), going around the NDK garden on Cherni Vruh Boulevard, Patriarh Evtimii Boulevard and Vitosha Boulevard, up to Bulgaria Boulevard (to be run in both directions, with the turning point at the intersection with Petko Todorov Boulevard), then go around the other side of the NDK gardens on Petko Karavelov Boulevard and Cherni Vruh Boulevard to Evlogi Georgiev Boulevard, with a short turn uphill and back down the Dragan Tsankov Boulevard and a final stretch to the finish line at the national stadium. The full marathon includes four laps of the course (see full map here.)
The weather forecast for Sofia on Sunday is sunny, with the temperature expected to reach 18 degrees Celsius, with winds of up to 1.6 m/s.