Pleven Friendship Marathon, 23 May 2021

Author: tonisv

Competitors from the age of 2 to 84 years compete in the Friendship Marathon in Pleven

More than 500 participants from 16 nationalities took part in 
the seventh edition of the event

Yesterday, 23 May, the seventh edition of the Pleven Marathon took place. The race confirmed its name “Friendship Marathon”, attracting participants from different countries, in a wide age range, and became a celebration of a kind for the city. More than 530 participants from 14 nationalities from the age of 2 to 84 took part in the various disciplines. All of them participated in sports supporting the cause “Running in Pleven for an accessible environment”.

Pleven Marathon 2021

The event was opened with welcoming speech from the US Ambassador to Bulgaria, Her Excellency Hero Mustafa, who said: “I am inspired by your vision to support healthy lifestyles and promote diversity and inclusiveness”. The opening ceremony was attended by the First Secretary of the British Embassy in Sofia, Mr Andrew French. He paid tribute to the marathon’s founder, Stanislav Georgiev, who died suddenly last year and in whose memory the race was organised, adding: “This is a fantastic event that makes sport accessible to all.” The opening ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Stefan Milev, who introduced this year’s charitable cause — helping the people with disadvantages. The funds raised through the marathon will be used to upgrade the signal systems for the blind at some of the traffic lights in the city. The ceremony was also attended by the regional expert from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr. Atanas Karshev, who congratulated the runners, as well as the representative of the numerous Romanian group Radu Preda, who delivered a message from the legendary Romanian runner Ilie Rosu, who has participated in all editions of the Pleven Marathon so far. The last words before the start were given to one of the mascots of the event — 71-year-old Boyka Arsova, who for the sixth time successfully crossed the finishing line of the challenging 42 km marathon distance in Pleven.

The Friendship Marathon in Pleven traditionally attracts participants from different nationalities. This year, despite travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, runners from a total of 16 countries took part, including the UK, India, Ireland, Cyprus, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, the USA, and others. The diversity of the event, apart from having participants from different nationalities, was complemented by extremely wide age range of the runners. Two records were broken this year — for the youngest and oldest participant, which were 2 and 84 years old respectively. The youngest runner took part in the special Fun Run Kids event, and the oldest — in the tough marathon discipline on the 42.2 km course track. To show that running is an accessible and beneficial sport for all, this year the organisers also provided free participation for children, veterans over 60 years of age, people with disabilities, and those who decided to participate in the 3-kilometer urban cross under the motto “I can”. Thanks to the attractive Fun Run Kids event, which is held as part of the marathon, the largest number of participants this year took part precisely in the children’s run — a total of 205 young runners in three age categories.

The fastest and most outstanding competitors in the individual disciplines received awards at a ceremony on the stage of the central square Vazrazhdane in town. The awards were presented by Ms Aurelia Dоmniteanu, Minister-Counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Romania. The winner of the marathon distance was Milen Kovachkov, who covered 42.2 km in 2 hours, 45 minutes and 16 seconds. Only two minutes after him Ivaylo Valev crossed the finishing line, and the third place went to the Romanian Ionel Rapotan. The fastest in the ladies’ marathon was Borislava Videva, who finished in 3 hours, 42 minutes and 19 seconds. Her runners-up were Mirela Georgieva in second, and Milena Savova in third. This year there was also a hotly contested race in the 21 km half marathon distance. The fastest runner was Konstantin Bambekov with a time of 1:26:02, with Rosen Todorov and Nikolay Efremov coming in a short time after the winner. In the women’s half marathon, the fastest runners were Anna Stefanova (1:33:29), Polina Gospodinova and Ginka Shavuleva. For the first time as part of the Friendship Marathon in Pleven the participants could also compete in the increasingly popular 10-kilometer distance. The fastest contestant was Iskren Ivanov with a time of 42 minutes and 29 seconds, followed by Ayyub Mortaji from Morocco and Plamen Merazov. In the ladies’ 10 km the top positions were taken by Lilia Ivanova (53:39), Darina Koleva and Michaela Gancheva. Another attractive discipline, part of the marathon, was the relay. A total of 50 people took part in it, divided into 25 teams, with the fastest being the tandem of Ilian Chakarov and Georgi Gergov, followed by Georgi Iliev and Petar Rashev, as well as the third in the ranking Hristo Boev and Daniel Ivanov.

Attracting such a large and diverse range of participants and with its now seven-year history, the competition has established itself as one of the most iconic sporting events in the region. This year, it offered an even more interesting programme under the Park+ banner, with additional activities and outdoor sports such as volleyball, table tennis, mini football, badminton, pilates, functional aerobics and Latin rhythm dancing for all ages. The rich cultural and musical programme impressed again this year with performances of local talents from the dance group ‘Syntez’, the young singer Kristiana Alexandrova and the magic of Bulgarian folklore from the Children’s and Youth Folklore Ensemble ‘Nashencheta’. The seventh marathon in Pleven, although held without its founder Stanislav Georgiev, remained in history as the edition that attracted the most support from volunteers. Many people from Pleven and other parts of the country pitched in to help the organizers, with diplomats from embassies supporting the event among the volunteers.

The seventh marathon in Pleven was organized by the social enterprise Еyes-Open together with the Municipality of Pleven, Maria’s World Foundation, Bulgarian Athletics Federation, SCLA Phoenix, National Alliance for Social Responsibility and in partnership with Jamba, Bulgarian Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism Today Association, JA Bulgaria and others.

More information about Marathon Pleven:


Facebook page:

Congratulations from Eric Rubin, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria

“Congratulations to all of you – and especially to the children runners – for participating in the Pleven Friendship Marathon. Unfortunately, I am not able to join you in person, but I want to send you my warmest regards, and to thank you for joining today’s run. Sports events like these promote physical fitness, but they also build community and create new friendships. Thank you to Begach for your hard work in organizing today’s marathon, and for the great support from the Pleven Municipality and all of the other sponsors, organizers and volunteers. I wish you all the best.”
– Eric Rubin, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria

Friendship marathon “Pleven” 2019 is greener than ever

In a bid to reduce our ecological impact, starting from this year we are reducing single-use plastics for the event. We will replace plastic cups at the aid stations with ones made from biodegradable materials. Again at the aid stations, you will be offered scoops of tasty Bulgarian honey by TeAmo for a quick power boost using eco-friendly wooden spoons.

We strongly encourage all runners to avoid single-use plastic bottles and cups. Please use our biodegradable ones or bring your own reusable bottles.

We only have one planet, let’s try keeping it clean!

Free Pleven Panorama history tour

This welcoming gesture for out-of-town visitors will mark another first during the 2019 Friendship Marathon “Pleven”. On the 18th of May (Saturday, a day before the race) event participants and their families and friends will be able to go on a free tour of the Panorama – one of Plevens’ landmarks.

It reveals events from nearly 150 years ago – the battle for Pleven – and offers a great chance to dive into the towns’ history. It’s open for visitors between 14:00 and 17:00 and can be reached by shuttle starting at the Kid’s center (where the start packages are given). The shuttle buses will depart at 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00. The return trip is by foot – a short hike through the beautiful Skobelev Park, situated on a hill above Pleven and offering scenic views of the city.

E-bike giveaway during the Friendship Marathon “Pleven”

The sixth Pleven marathon will offer beginner runners extra motivation thanks to a special new challenge. It’s called “My first marathon” and it’s intent is to encourage people to get serious about running and finish the marathon length of the event (42.2km).

If the sense of achievement that awaits at the finish line is not enough by itself, this time there will be some extra reasons to run in the form of an award fund. The top prizes will be a couple of e-bikes built by Bulgarian manufacturer Eljoy.

One of the Tempo bikes will go to a first-time marathon runner and the second one will go to somebody else drawn at random. To enter, beginner runners should confirm upon registration that this is their first marathon.


Honey refreshment

This year, the long-distance runners of the Pleven Marathon 2019 will be able to refresh themselves with the natural carbohydrates of the Teamo honey.

Teamo is a 100% natural Bulgarian honey.

Contestants between the age of 4 and 82 participated in the Pleven Marathon 2018

More than 500 participants from 3 continents took part in the fifth edition of the competition

The fifth edition of the Pleven Marathon was held on May, 20, in sunny weather and near summer temperatures. The competition once again stood up to its name “Friendship Marathon”, attracting more than 500 participants from 13 countries located on 3 continents – Nepal, Russia, the United States, Great Britain, Romania, Spain, France, Germany, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and of course – Bulgaria.

The event was opened by the Deputy Mayor of Pleven – Milen Yankov, Tracey Calhoun of the US Embassy and the main organizer of the marathon – Stanislav Georgiev from “Eyes Open”. At the base of the city square, between the mausoleum and the renovated fountains, the stage, and the partners’ stands were located. The contestants participated in the following disciplines: a classical marathon (42.2 km), half-marathon (21.1 km), relay (2×10 km), “I can!” 3 kilometer urban crossing, and a children’s marathon in three age groups. The majority of runners competed in the long distance disciplines, and around 240 people crossed the finish line. In the urban cross almost 100 people and a record number of the youngest took part in the children’s marathon – 170. Students from “Vasil Levski” Primary School and players from the “Spartak” Pleven basketball club formed a majority of the youngest contestants.

Beside the diversity of foreign attendees, people of various age groups and different running experience took part in the event – between the age of 4 and 82. The oldest contestant, Hristo, ran the 3-kilometer free of charge marathon. 71 years old Swiss was the oldest to take part in the long distances discipline – the 21, 1 km half-marathon. Taking part in the event once again, another veteran – Boyka Arsova, aged 67, ran the 42,2 km marathon track.

A special ceremony was held in the city square, and the fastest contestants in the various disciplines were awarded, thanks to the partners of the event, who provided not only prizes, but a total prize pool of 7000 BGN. Dimcho Mitsov, ranked first in the 42,2 marathon run the distance for 2:36:07. Dimcho was the winner of the marathon in 2016 as well, and ranked second last year. His runner-up this year became Miroslav Spasov (2:41:01), and ranked third was the Englishman Nathan Flair. Radosveta Simeonova (2:54:15) finished first among the ladies in the marathon, achieving the third best time in the overall standings. Tanya Dimitrova (3:10:30) crossed the finish line shortly after earning her a second consecutive silver medal from Pleven. Third place was taken by Violeta Toteva (3:22:41).

In the 21,1 km half-marathon discipline Ivo Balabanov was ranked first (1:11:50), followed by Deyan Atanasov (1:13:54) and Ivaylo Valchev (1:19:21). Among the ladies the top 3 competitors were Dilyana Minkina (1:20:55), Simona Nedelcheva (1:30:04), and Anastasiya Peycheva (1:30:10).

The relay 2 x 10km was one of the most attractive disciplines this year. The fastest running pair was Ivo Iliev and Kristiyan Velkov. The tandem of Kenan Sali and Georgi Lyubenov finished second, and the third place was won by Emil Borisov and Milen Yordanov. Full rankings in the key disciplines can be found on the official website of the event –

Beside the rich variety of contestants, this year’s edition of the Pleven Marathon of Friendship offered innovation and improvements that made the experience of the runners and their close ones more pleasant. “We always try to consider the opinion of the contestants, as well as our guests, so we can improve and develop the event further. This year, for instance, a red carpet awaited everyone who made it to the finish line. Most importantly, more children took part – they are the future marathon runners. We also attracted many of the elderly, for whom we provided a free of charge registration, but also additional prize pool. These are the small things, motivating more and more people.”- explaines Stanislav Georgiev from “Eyes Open”.

The Marathon was organized by “Eyes Open”, “Begach” Sports Club, Bulgarian Athletics Federation and Pleven Municipality. It was held with the kind support of the US Embassy, Tr.Art Food Company, Deloitte Bulgaria, VivaCom, SportPass, Palfinger, Metro Cash & Carry, BMW branded Via Intercar, and Asics.

Pleven marathon with a prize fund of 7000 BGN

On the 20th of May, 2018 (Sunday), for the fifth consecutive year, the biggest local sporting event – Pleven Marathon of Friendship 2018, will be held. This year’s total prize pool will be even more attractive, as the estimated cash prizes are totalling 7,000 BGN. They are divided into various categories between the disciplines Marathon (42.2 km) and Half-marathon (21.1 km). The distribution is as follows:
“Men” category, “Marathon” discipline (42,2 km):
– first place – 1000 BGN
– second place – 600 BGN
– third place – 300 BGN
“Men” category, “Halfmarathon” discipline (21,1 km):
– first place – 700 BGN
– second place – 400 BGN
– third place – 200 BGN
“Women” category, “Marathon” discipline (42,2 km):
– first place – 1000 BGN
– second place – 600 BGN
– third place – 300 BGN
“Women” category, “Halfmarathon” discipline (21,1 km):
– first place – 700 BGN
– second place – 400 BGN
– third place – 200 BGN
The oldest
For the first time this year, cash prizes are also provided for the “Veteran” category – people over the age of 50. The prizes for this category amount to 600 leva, distributed as follows:
“Men-Veteran” category, “Marathon” discipline (42,2 km):
– first place – 150 BGN
– second place – 100 BGN
– third place – 50 BGN
“Women-Veteran” category, “Marathon” discipline (42,2 km):
– first place – 150 BGN
– second place – 100 BGN
– third place – 50 BGN
* For all people over the age of 60, the registration for the event is free of charge.
BMW bikes
Two BMW bikes (provided by M Car Pleven) will be drown by the end of the award ceremony at 14:00 on 20st May. All registered finishers of the marathon, the semi-marathon, and the relay race will be included in the lot. The winners will be asked to show their marathon number.

Pleven Marathon 2018 running hats

The Pleven Marathon 2018 will surprise you in a nice and colorful way!

Each participant in the competition will receive one of these running hats made by “ASICS”.

If you haven’t chosen your discipline yet, hurry!

Pleven Marathon 2017 – The movie

Here is the movie of the 4th Pleven Friendship Marathon:

We wish you success in achiving your goals.

We will open the registration for 2018 soon!

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