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Surprise results in Ústí: Pfeiffer and Piasecki win, Mykhailova overturns EuroHeroes Challenge rankings

The ninth Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label race and the ninth event of this year’s RunCzech season delivers unexpected results. German runner Hendrik Pfeiffer delivered a start to finish win breaking a new European record of 1:03:17 in the process. The women’s category saw British runner Jess Piasecki run the fastest women’s EuroHeroes time on record at 1:11:34. When it came to the Czechs Vít Pavlišta took first place on the podium among the men, with Tereza Hrochová triumphing among the women.

Few people had their bets on Pfeiffer, yet on the course he proved himself as the wild card. Shortly after setting off, he managed to break away from everyone, running a solo race and onto a surprising winning finish. And he also scored a highly noteworthy time, ahead of the European race maximum of 1:04:06 held by Ukrainian runner Dmytro Lashyna. The German athlete also managed to shave 43 seconds of his personal best.

“I found the race really tough because it was so hot on the course. I ran really well during the first half, but the second half was a lot more up and down.  By the tenth kilometre however I knew I was going for a personal best,” the twenty-six year old runner revealed, clearly delighted. 

Nobody managed to get close to Pfeiffer.  When it came to expectations about breaking the European race record, all eyes had been on the main star of the Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon, Polish runner Marcin Chabowski. He placed second in 1:03:49, delivering a last-minute sprint past his rival Ukrainian Roman Romanenko (1:03:51) just before the finish. 

The women’s race offered some huge surprises. A small group of runners came together shortly after setting off, but at the fifteenth kilometre mark the only two left were Jess Piasecki and Daria Mykhailova. In the end victory went to Piasecki who delivered a fantastic time of 1:11:34, enhancing her personal best by two seconds. “The time is great, though I had wanted to do it a bit faster. I mainly concentrated on beating Daria. The finish was pretty tough. It was a good performance because I’m training for the Frankfurt marathon,” the winner revealed.

She was several metres ahead of Daria who was doubly overjoyed with her time of 1:11:36. Not only was this nine seconds better than her personal best to date, but it also meant she emerged as the overall winner of the EuroHeroes Challenge. Experiencing difficulties on the course, the anticipated series winner Lilia Fisikovici from Moldova only managed sixth place (1:14:06) and was thus toppled off her throne.

Vít Pavlišta dominated the Czech men’s field. The thirty-four year old runner from Liberec ran exceptionally well for a long time, also at the level of his personal best. The second half of the race told a slightly different story, however, seeing his pace drop and hopes of a new personal best time disappear. Even so, he managed to triumph (1:06:57), and secure an impressive ninth place overall.

The Czech women’s field saw Plzen’s Tereza Hrochová deliver a stellar performance of 1:17:11. While overwhelmed with joy at her result, she didn’t hide a touch of self-criticism.

A total of 3 539 runners took part in the Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon. A further 2 556 parents and children also took part in the dm family run, with several dozen more competing in the Spolchemie Handbike Cup.  The RunCzech race series in the Czech Republic will close with the wonderful Mattoni Liberec Nature Run, a trail race entering its second year and being held on 5th October. The final race of the season will take runners to Italy and the Sorrento Positano on 1st December. The organisers have put together a 54-kilometre Ultramaraton course plus a shorter version on the cliffs and nearby beaches – the Panoramica 27 km.

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