Pleven Friendship Marathon, 23 May 2021


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:


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The Pleven Friendship Marathon is postponed to 2021

/Romanian text below/
Dear Participants in the Pleven Friendship Marathon,

Due to a number of valid reasons such as the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19, the repairs in the central part of the city of Pleven and after an exceptional person left us, the heart and soul of the Marathon – Stanislav Georgiev, it was decided that 2020 will be a Zero year for the event. On behalf of all participants in the organization of the Pleven Friendship Marathon, we would like to apologize for this necessary change and let you know what happens next.

Our plans are for the Pleven Friendship Marathon to be held in 2021 and to be an event in memory of Stanislav Georgiev. In connection with the change of the date of the marathon, we would like to inform you that the registrations already made remain valid for the next edition of the event. Those who opt out can do one of the following:

1) Donation: participants can donate the amount of their registration for the cause of the Pleven Friendship Marathon (adaptation of the urban pedestrian zone of Pleven to the needs of people with disabilities) by explicitly writing this to e-mail  and add their registration number;

2) Refund: Participants can request a refund by emailing to confirm their wish and provide their registration number. Due to bank charges, 90% of the transferred amounts will be refunded.

You must select a resolution option by 15th September 2020.

We will be grateful if you support us and make a donation to our cause to help Pleven and the Marathon be better adapted for people with disabilities.

We Thank all those who have supported us over the years and continue to do so, all those who remained faithful to the Pleven Friendship Marathon, our friends, sponsors and partners! We look forward to see you at the start next year, when we hope that in the meantime we will all have more victories and occasions to rejoice and fewer obstacles to what we want to achieve.

From the team of the Pleven Friendship Marathon and the relatives of Stan Georgiev

Dragi participanți la Maratonul Prieteniei Plevna,

Datorită mai multor motive valide, cum ar fi pandemia coronavirusului COVID-19, reparațiile în zona centrală a orasului Plevna și după ce ne-a părăsit o persoană excepțională, inima și sufletul maratonului – Stanislav Georgiev, s-a decis că anul 2020 va fi un an zero pentru acest eveniment. În numele tuturor participanților la organizarea Maratonului Prieteniei Plevna, am dori să ne cerem scuze pentru această schimbare necesară și să vă anunțăm ce se va întâmpla în continuare.

Planurile noastre sunt ca Maratonul Prieteniei Plevna cul il cunoasteti Pleven Friendship Marathon să aibă loc în 2021 și să fie un eveniment în memoria lui Stanislav Georgiev. În legătură cu schimbarea datei maratonului, am dori să vă informăm că înregistrările deja făcute rămân valabile pentru următoarea ediție a evenimentului. Cei care optează pot face una dintre următoarele acțiuni:

1) Donație: participanții pot dona suma înregistrării lor pentru cauza Maratonului Prietenie Plevna (adaptarea zonei pietonale urbane in Plevna la nevoile persoanelor cu dizabilități), scriind explicit acest mesaj la e-mail și adăugați numărul lor de înregistrare;
2) Rambursare: Participanții pot solicita o rambursare prin e-mailul pentru a confirma dorința lor și pentru a furniza numărul lor de înregistrare. Din cauza taxelor bancare, 90% din sumele transferate vor fi rambursate.

Trebuie să selectați o opțiune până la 15 septembrie 2020.

Vom fi mult recunoscători dacă ne susțineți și faceți o donație pentru cauza noastră pentru a ajuta Plevna și maratonul să fie mai bine adaptați pentru persoanele cu dizabilități.

Mulțumim tuturor celor care ne-au susținut de-a lungul anilor și continuă să facă acest lucru, tuturor celor care au rămas fideli Maratonului Prieteniei Plevnei, prietenilor, sponsorilor și partenerilor noștri! Vă vom aștepta la începutul anului viitor, când sperăm că între timp vom avea mai multe victorii și ocazii pentru a ne bucura și mai puține obstacole în ceea ce dorim să obținem.

De la echipa Maratonului Prieteniei Plevna și a rudelor lui Stan Georgiev

The founder of the Marathon of the Friendship and the 1000km Balkan Charity Challenge passed away

On March 29th, 2020, one extraordinary man – Stanislav Georgiev, passed away unexpectedly. He is the founder and main organizer of the Marathon of the Friendship in Pleven, and the 1000km Balkan Charity Challenge, founder of “Begach” Sports club, father of four, and a bright example and inspiration for almost everyone who knew him.

With his dedication and vigor, Stan was able to inspire hundreds of people to start a more active lifestyle and help each other. Thanks to the charity events he organized during the marathon, as well as the charity initiatives of the 1000km Balkan Charity Challenge, he marked the lives of many people in need by giving them chance. Over 131,000 EUR have been raised over seven years, allocated for various charitable activities in Bulgaria and Romania, thanks to the Bulgarian-Romanian 1000 kilometers ultramarathon.

With his care and love, Stan revived the Marathon in Pleven after a long break. Through his dedicated work over the last seven years, he has made the event one of the most significant competitions for the region. He also succeeded in establishing the name of the marathon as ” Marathon of Friendship”, attracting more and more participants from various countries, across a wide age range, and gaining loyal fans.

“The Pleven Marathon is more than a sports event. This is a place for positive, personal and collective experiences, and an engine for building an active, constructive, and healthy civil society, ” – Stan said a few weeks before passing away. “For me as an organizer, setting records is not important, but the desire and motivation we put in are starting to work. It’s great to do something nice for the city where you were born and raised,” – Stan said about the marathon.

Athletics has always had a special place in his heart, as he started training professionally from an early age. Stan was an active runner and triathlete, one of the first Bulgarians to successfully finish the IRON MAN, and he also participated in the Run Your Age initiative, running as many kilometers as the age he was turning. On the 23rd of April this year Stan would have run 55 kilometers. In addition to being a founder and an organizer of the 1000km Balkan Charity Challenge, Stan has also actively participated in each event, leading the others, wearing Number 1, running and cycling the whole 1050 km distance.

After being in leadership positions for many years in the banking and non-banking sectors, he decided to make a sharp turn in his life. Together with his wife Stanimira, he resigned from his corporate position, and the family, together with their children, began to do what they really loved and were passionate about – organizing sports and charity events. In addition to the charity causes of sporting events that Stan has organized over the years, his family has also been able to support the education of gifted children. Thanks to the contributions of the Pleven Marathon, a large outdoor fitness playground was built in the city of Pleven, as well as a chess playground in Kailaka Park, a bike, skate and roller skates ramp, too. Funds were also donated for a special “Ready for Success” scholarship for students in the city with good academic performance but missing one or two parents.

Despite this huge loss, the planned date for the Marathon of Friendship in Pleven remains September 27, 2020. The event will be held in memory of its founder, Stanislav Georgiev.

Rest in peace, Stan!

Pleven Marathon 2020 with a new date – September 27th

The date of the 7th edition of Pleven Marathon 2020 is moved to September 27th, 2020.

The only reason is to ensure the safety of participants in relation to the risk of coronavirus.

Unforeseen things happen in our lives. Our commitment to you and the people of Pleven remains.

We would like to inform you that the registrations are valid for the new date. Those who cannot attend can do one of the following:
 – donate the amount of the registration for the charity cause of the Pleven Marathon (an adaptation of the city pedestrian zone of Pleven to the needs of people with disabilities) by writing this to e-mail For each BGN 5 donated, you will receive a unique ticket number, with which you will participate in the raffle for one signature edition Eljoy electric bicycle;
 – or request the amount to be returned to you by emailing stating the registration number.

Eljoy branded Bulgarian electric bikes are among the Pleven 2020 Marathon awards

For another year, the Pleven Friendship Marathon has additional special prizes for its participants. Two Eljoy electric bikes will be won in the raffle between all finishing participants in the long distances (42K, 21K, 10K, 2x10K relay).

An Eljoy electric bike will also be won by raffle among donors of the marathon social cause. Each $ 5 donation is eligible for one raffle ticket. One children’s bike will be won with a raffle between all children that have finished the race in the children’s marathon.

What’s new this year is that electric bikes are a special limited edition with the Pleven Marathon 2020 logo. They are part of the latest Eljoy Revolution 3.0.

Pleven Friendship Marathon 2020, adapted for people with different abilities

This year the Pleven Friendship Marathon has a new charity cause. It is focused on people with disabilities. They are an integral part of our community with equal rights. The funds raised will be used to adapt Pleven city infrastructure to their needs.

The official charity partner is Jamba, а non-governmental organization whose main mission is to support people with different abilities in Bulgaria.

Please donate on the charity Platform:

Pleven Marathon 2020 with new disciplines and adapted for disabled participants

“We run in Pleven for an accessible city” is the slogan of the 7th issue of the Pleven marathon which will take place on May 17th. The event, which turned into the most significant competition in the region, asserted its name of „Marathon of Friendship“ by accommodating more than 650 participants from 11 countries last year alone. This year’s issue aims to bring even more friends over by opening a course for participants with disabilities, announcing a new competition discipline and giving even more opportunities for participation and prizes for the youngest – children.

The early registration process for one of the most attractive running competitions in the country has already started, while the organizers from “Eyes Open” announced this year’s charity cause. It is focused on people with disabilities. They are an integral part of our community with equal rights. The funds raised will be used to adapt Pleven city infrastructure to their needs. The official charity partner is Jamba, а non-governmental organization whose main mission is to support people with different disabilities in Bulgaria.

Another interesting novelty this year is the chance for participating in the 10km distance run which is already gaining massive popularity among beginners. This way there are 6 major disciplines at the event such as a classic marathon (42,2 km), half-marathon (21,1 km), a relay race (2×21,1 km), 10km, marathon for children with various distances based on the children’s age group, as well as 3-kilometers free of charge urban cross ‘I can’. The variety of disciplines and distances gives an opportunity to each person and family to find their own challenge in Pleven, and also encourages the active lifestyle in more and more people.

Pleven Friendship Marathon 2020 is an extremely attractive event not only because of the variety of disciplines but also because of the specifics of the course which is suited for beginners too. The route is relatively straight, with no serious ascents and descents, and having only a few turns. It goes through the city center and the main landmarks in and around Pleven among which Kailaka park and the historical bridge near the village of Yassen.

Each and every year the Pleven marathon extends a special invitation to the children and students audiences. The free various distanced races on the city square, tailored for the different children’s age groups, are specially organized for the youngest running enthusiasts. To further motivate the children, the organizers announced that his year’s price pool also has a bike that will be won through a raffle by one of the youngest participants. In addition to the youngest, the event also invites the veterans. This year, all people over the age of 60 will be able to participate for free, and there is a special prize fund for them with cash incentives for the fastest participants in the 42km distance. There will also be prizes for the participants that are running the marathon for the first time.

‘The Pleven marathon is more than a sports race. It is a place for positive personal and group experiences, as well as an engine for building an active, constructive and healthy society’ – says Stanislav Georgiev – the main organizer of the Pleven marathon.

The registration for the marathon has already started on the marathon website and there are early bird prices. For all children, veterans (over the age of 60), as well as the participants of the 3-kilometer urban cross, the participation is free of charge.

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.

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