A relatively new city-wide marathon with a flat and fast course and a very competitive field. around 20,000 runners take on the full course which boasts more than 30 world-famous attractions, including the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow City, and four of the Seven Sisters skyscrapers.
When: September, since 2013
Where: Moscow, Russia
Official race website HERE
- In addition to a tourist visa, you’ll also need to get a certificate from your doctor declaring that you are ‘fit’.
- Be sure to pick up your race t-shirt at registration – they are not handed out at the end!
- Run with your own water bottle because they only give out small plastic cups of water.
- Be prepared for a very competitive race – the standard is usually very high!
Review by Enda Brady
STANDING at the start of the Moscow Marathon with the Russian national anthem blaring out ahead of a gruelling 42kms run is a memory that will last a very long time for me. My best friend has lived in the city for a decade, so I decided to give it a go. And it was amazing, truly one of the best races I have ever been lucky enough to take part in.
I entered the race online, paying the equivalent of about £20, as soon as it was possible to do so via the website. In addition to a tourist visa, you’ll also need to get a certificate from your doctor declaring that you are ‘fit’. (The Russian word for this certificate is ‘spravka’ and if you don’t have one, you won’t be allowed to run, no matter how fit you are).
Race registration takes place at the Luzhniki Stadium (where the 2018 World Cup Final will be played) and it was a great experience, bustling with runners, all the usual kit and nutrition stalls, plus countless cities promoting their own marathons. They do things slightly differently here in that they give each runner a t-shirt once they’ve registered, NOT at the finish, so remember to pick yours up! (And they’re pretty decent too, Adidas-made, a welcome addition to the kitbag).
Around 20,000 people take part in the race and there is also a 10km event on the same day, the route simply splits in two after about 4kms. So what can I tell you about running around Moscow?
What’s the Course Like?
The website: The Promsvyazbank Moscow Marathon route offers a spectacular tour of Russia’s capital, from the embankment of the Moskva River by Moscow City, to the Garden Ring, across Krymsky Bridge, along the Boulevard Ring and on Tverskaya Street, through Teatralny Passage and under the walls of the Kremlin before finally reaching the finish line at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex. Over the course of the race, participants will be able to see more than 30 world-famous attractions, including the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow City, and four of the Seven Sisters skyscrapers.
Enda says: The course isn’t that challenging, not too hilly and there’s a fair amount of support, though nowhere near the levels you see at huge events like the London Marathon.
The overwhelming majority of those taking part are Russian, though I saw a few French and Belgian flags on the way round, for some reason. The last 6kms are dead flat, all the way back to the Luzhniki, where it all started. And here is where the race organisers, I feel, are definitely missing a trick. Imagine if the finish line was in Red Square? How amazing would that be? You cross the finish line, get your medal and go pose for a photo in front of St Basil’s Cathedral. Maybe one day they’ll see the positive effect this would have on the number of overseas runners taking part.
Enda’s race: I finished in a new PB of 3:26:52, which was a solid six minutes off the time I ran in Liverpool in May 2015, so I was genuinely thrilled with that. The weather was perfect on the day – not too hot and not too cold. I also ran with my own water bottle because they only give out small plastic cups of water and I find these very difficult to manage. Food stations along the route were excellent, plenty of chopped bananas and oranges and there was even a Coca-Cola stall at the 40km mark, though by that stage I was determined to kick on and try smash my PB.
You won’t find too many people wearing fancy dress costumes here for some reason and the standard was good, very good. They take their running seriously in Russia and it was competitive run, that’s for sure.
The medal is a chunky lump of silver that is by far the most impressive in my collection to date. I would happily encourage any runner to try the Moscow Marathon. It’s different, it’s an incredible experience – and maybe one day they’ll end it in Red Square!