EuroHeroes Star: About Dominance, New Challenge and Dream in Tokyo
It was thought to be a hard battle up to the finish line with the favored Briton Luke Traynor. Eventually Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon (RunCzech race held on 1st June) brought a completely different spectacle. Italian Yassine Rachik, the leader of this year's EuroHeroes Challenge, showed the dominance again.
Just as two weeks ago in Karlovy Vary the 25-year-old leader conquered the whole race. It was clear after the 10 kilometer that he would win a second race in the row in the Czech Republic. In addition, due to the tough hot weather the main favorite of the race, Luke Traynor, did not feel well and finished tenth.
„It may seem like an easy victory but it was not. A lot of European elite athletes started here. Luke was not a competitor only for me. But I am in a great shape so I have managed to win again. We'll see in Olomouc in two weeks how it will go, “ says the Italian who started with long-distance running at the age of thirteen.
The current great form is Rachik's main weapon. Just look at his performances during the last few months. Best time in half marathon? He did it in Naples as part of the RunCzech series in February. Best marathon time? 2:08:05 two months later during the London Marathon. Tiny Italian feels confident also on the Czech territory. He has created a new European course record in Karlovy Vary and České Budějovice. Where such a form does come from? What has changed compare to previous seasons?
„First and foremost it is self-confidence,” explains Rachik.
I have improved my best marathon time in London by more than 4 minutes. I have matured mentally, even physically, feeling stronger than ever in my career. I'm still young and I'm only getting into the ideal long-distance running age. I feel I have a lot of room for improvement and this season has proved it so far,“ says the bronze medalist from last year's European Championship.
And what now? Rachik has a clear motivation in the days to come. To prove his dominance on the Czech territory and win EuroHeroes Challenge this year. „It attracts me enormously, no doubt about it. Thanks to such a project athletes from Europe will get far more into awareness. We do not compete only against time and each other but also we have a chance to win. Good results are beautiful, but nothing can compare with the feeling of triumph, and the EuroHeroes project allows me to feel it. I look forward to Olomouc, where I want to build on my past achievements, “ Rachik describes his view on a new RunCzech project which helps European athletes to gain more awareness, respect and interest among fans.
One of Europe's top racers today is well aware that also thanks to the EuroHeroes Challenge he has the great opportunity to prepare himself for the main goal – 2020 Summer Olympic in Tokyo.
„I dream about the Olympic Games since childhood. It's the absolute top for any athlete. From my first victory race when I was young I was constantly thinking about Olympics. I want to continue to improve and would love to break the Italian record in marathon. It is a big motivation, but also a commitment, “ admits the current European hero of RunCzech races this season.