Leuven and Brussels will have the honour of hosting the first European Running Championships in 2025. This has just been announced by European Athletics – the European Athletics Federation. It is a first for the marathon, half marathon and 10 kilometres to get a (separate) European Championship, with the masses joining the elites for a festival of running.
In 2018, Koen Naert was crowned European Marathon Champion; last year, Germany’s Richard Ringer took the title. But now, the classic distance, and its finest exponents, will take the spotlight at their very own festival of running. From 2025, the road races – which besides the marathon also include the half marathon and 10 kilometres – will take centre stage at a standalone European Championships: The European Running Championships, and our country will organise the first edition. Brussels and Leuven joined forces with Belgian Athletics on Golazo’s initiative to put in their candidature to bring those European Championships here. The four partners (who form the local organising committee together) are extremely delighted that European Athletics chose the strong Belgian project over that of the other candidates.
The first European Running Championships will take place on 12 and 13 April 2025. The marathon will start in the heart of Brussels and follow an undulating course in a straight line to Leuven to finish with a 10-kilometre city loop. The finish is at Parkpoort, in the exact same spot where the 2021 Road World Championships finish line was. The half marathon and 10k start from Leuven and cross the city and wider Leuven territory, thereby underlining its position as a city of sport. For Flanders these European Championships dovetail perfectly with its vision to attract major sports championships. As part of that strategy, Flanders also supports the event financially, as does the Brussels Capital Region.
The City of Leuven and Golazo had been studying options for a marathon and half marathon for some time. European Athletics’ announcement in late 2022 to have European Championships focused those plans a lot more and led to the bid together with partners Brussels and Belgian Athletics. To have the European capital Brussels as the start of the marathon of the first European Running Championships only completes the picture.
Not only top distance runners will compete in the race. At the European Championships, they will run alongside the masses in each of the three distances, bringing the stars of the sport and their fans closer than ever before, making these European Championships a true festival for runners. Entries will open at the end of this year (2023), when more details about the course and event will also be announced.