White Nights International Marathon

White Nights International Marathon
Photo: wnmarathon.ru
The White Nights International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in Saint Petersburg. Russia. It is one of the few marathon races in Russia accredited by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS).

The inaugural White Nights International Marathon was held in 1990. The race was named after a phenomenon observed in areas of high latitude during the weeks around the summer solstice, when the sun doesn’t completely set in the evening and the twilight lasts almost all night. This phenomenon is called “white nights” in many countries. True to its name, the race used to begin at around 8–11 pm. However, it was hard to ensure the runners’ safety at night so the organizers decided to hold the race during the day.

The White Nights Marathon is the second largest marathon race in Russia in terms of the number of participants who reach the finish line (the largest one is the Moscow Marathon). Its main goals are to promote healthy lifestyles, to further development of friendly international relations in sports and tourism, and to honor the best marathoners of Saint Petersburg.

The race begins at 9 am at Palace Square located in the very heart of Saint Petersburg. Its picturesque route passes along some of the city’s most famous historical monuments and sights, such as the Blagoveshchensky (Annunciation) Bridge, Troitskaya (Trinity) Square, Tuchkov Bridge, Nevsky Prospect, Alexander Nevsky Square, and more. During the race, marathoners have to cross many of Saint Petersburg’s rivers and canals.

Those who are not sure they can run a marathon race can participate in a 10k race. The maximum number of participants is 7,000 for the marathon and 6,000 for the 10k race. Participants must finish the marathon race in under 6 hours but the awards ceremony is held at about 1 pm.

The White Nights International Marathon is preceded by a two-day sports expo at Michael Manege, also known as Zimniy Stadion (Winter Stadium). Marathon participants are required to attend the expo in order to sign up (if they haven’t done it online) and pick up their race numbers. The race itself takes place on a Sunday in late June or early July.

White Nights International Marathon

Photo: Natalya Dokuchayeva




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