News23 Jul 2020

World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 launch virtual mass race


Ready to run (© LOC)

World Athletics and the Local Organising Committee of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 have launched a new initiative – a virtual mass race on October 17, the same day as the world’s elite runners will compete for the championship. The aim is to encourage runners all around the world to run a half marathon wherever they are on 17 October 2020.

"It is important to clarify this does not mean that the ‘real’ mass race we have planned in Gdynia will not take place. The virtual competition is an addition to our event. We just want to enable the global running community to be with us on October 17 and join the biggest half marathon in history," says Michal Drelich, Head of the LOC.

Intense efforts have been made to ensure the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 – including the mass race – can be held in 2020. Final decisions will be taken by the end of August. However, amateur runners who have previously registered for the mass race in Gdynia can already opt to switch to virtual competition, keeping all the benefits from the real mass race, including an Asics t-shirt, an official backpack and a uniquely designed finisher medal.

The idea behind the virtual run is far more universal, involving the global running community. As the event’s official motto says: ALL YOU NEED IS RUNNING.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has invited runners around the world to participate in this virtual event.

"As a runner, I’ve been delighted to see so many more people take up or return to running to maintain their fitness in the challenging circumstances we have all faced due to the pandemic this year," Coe said. "Having a goal is always good motivation to keep fit and I hope that runners around the globe will join in and take the challenge of running a half marathon wherever they may be on October 17."

Joining the virtual run is completely free – you only need to create an account on the specifically created online platform Virtual runners can choose to add to their experience by purchasing a finisher medal, an ‘All you need is running” t-shirt or other merchandise.

"Gdynia loves any kind of sports activity, even in the virtual world. It will be an honor for us to be a global running capital for one day. I truly believe that even though one may not come to run in Gdynia in person, they will sooner or later visit our beautiful city and enjoy our fantastic running courses. Blue sea and omnipresent green areas will give you lots of extra energy. Feel invited to Gdynia. Always!" says Wojciech Szczurek, Mayor of Gdynia.

On October 17, all that is required is that each participant runs the same day, same distance, any place and any pace, as the entire running world becomes part of the World Athletics Series event that will take place simultaneously in Gdynia, Poland. This is going to be a unique day in the history of athletics, as some of its former stars attest.

"Let us come together and break the record for the biggest run in history. I count on you and will definitely take part in the race,” says Robert Korzeniowski, 4-time Olympic gold medalist in race walking. „You can be a part of great history. But first, just start running. Take this first small step. The rest will come," encourages Marek Plawgo, former 400m champion.

For more information, as well as interesting running-related content and regular virtual running challenges, please visit

LOC for World Athletics