The passion to run has hit Russians hard.
RunRepeat, a group that tracks marathon participation and times all around the world, reports that more Russians are running and more of them are running faster. In six years from 2009 to 2014, the number of Russian marathoners increased 300 percent. From 2008 to 2018, the average run times of Russian competitors decreased by almost 13 minutes. Right now, 81 percent of the runners are men and 19 percent are women.
The Running Community, which opens its 2019 season this weekend, sees a steady uptick in the number of runners who take part in their races. This year they expect about 150,000 people from at least 80 countries to run in the more than 10 races they are holding in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The races range from the fun to the challenging. Fun races include the 2K race with your pooch (on April 20 and Oct. 5); the 5K Paint Race on June 2 — a public favorite since bystanders get to douse the runners with powdered dyes; and the 10K Night Race on July 13.
This all leads up to the Moscow Marathon, which will be held on Sept. 22 this year.
There are plenty of races for kids of all ages, too.
This weekend the Running Community is holding its first “get in shape after the long winter” 5K run. It will be held on Sunday on the grounds of the Luzhniki Stadium. If you haven’t registered, it’s not too late. Just pick up a letter from your local clinic stating that you are healthy enough to run and bring it, along with an I.D. and 2,000 rubles to the marathon office at Luzhniki on Friday from 3 to 9 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The race begins on Sunday at 10 a.m., but you can come to pick up your race packet and warm up starting at 8 a.m.
Check the group’s excellent site, which has all the information you need in Russian and English.