With 30 days to go until the World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, the local organising committee has revealed the medal design, inspired by Latvian culture.

The design of these medals, created by Maija Rozenfelde, draws inspiration from Latvian artist Niklavs Strunke’s artwork ‘A Man Entering a Room’. That artwork by Strunke is prominently showcased in a permanent exhibition at the Latvian National Museum of Art.

To strengthen the profound connection between Latvian culture and the World Road Running Championships, the starting point for the mile race will be situated at the base of this iconic museum. Additionally, participants in the half marathon will have the privilege of running past this prominent architectural gem.

“At the outset of organising the championships, we made it clear that Latvian culture and art would be integral to the inaugural World Championships. Participants of the World Championships will have the chance to enjoy singers and dancers during the race. And the medals awarded to both world champions and mass race participants at the finish line will be inspired by the renowned artwork by Strunke,” remarks Aigars Nords, head of the LOC of the World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga.

What makes the World Championships medals in Riga unique is that they are designed with the motifs of Strunke’s artwork. The World Championships podium finishers in the road mile, 5km, half marathon and half marathon teams’ standings will earn medals in gold, silver and bronze according to the place earned. The medals are designed to be heavy to represent the hard work, long hours and energy put into training by the athletes to become the best in the world. 

Mass race finishers’ medals also hold immense significance as a well-deserved reward for the determination and perseverance displayed by all participants throughout the course, as well as the effort they invested in training.

“The concept behind the medals is rooted in the geometry of the race, encompassing elements such as body position, step angle, breathing rhythm, and pulse rate. It symbolises the multifaceted journey of each runner towards the finish line, abstractly representing the length of the specific distance (1 mile, 5km, 21km),” explains Rozenfelde, the designer of the medals. She is a partner at design agency “KID Design” and associate professor at the Latvian Arts Academy.

Stylistically, Rozenfelde drew inspiration from the work of Strunke, one of the most original artists from the Latvian modernist generation. Strunke’s artwork “A Man Entering a Room” from 1927 is prominently featured in the permanent exhibition of the Latvian National Art Museum. His works were influenced by constructivism, drawing upon the foundations of futurism and cubism. 

Another unique thing about the first ever World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga is the fact that all participants, including those who finish the mass races over 21km, 21km relay, 5km, mile race, and the Kids’ Day distance races, will also receive medals inspired by the artwork of the great Latvian artist Strunke. 

Run with the world!

The world champions will be crowned in Riga in the one-mile, 5km, and half marathon distances as well as teams’ standings in the half marathon distance. However, for the first time the event over all the championships distances is also open to masses – anyone who embraces a healthy lifestyle, regardless of their running experience. Participants can challenge themselves in any of the official distances or join the 21km relay. – worldathletics.org

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