Linkejimal is Vilniaus Lietuvos (Greetings from Vilnius Lithuania)
Once again the Jags were on their travels and this time they headed to Eastern Europe for the 15th Danske bank Vilniaus Maratonas for the full marathon and 10km run. The running festival also included a half marathon, a #beactive running event from children ranging from 2-12 and a family  4.2km run. As you can tell from the dates the marathon started after the fall of communism in eastern europe and had grown each year to be one of the most competative marathons in  the baltic states.
Benjamin Letzer was in the marathon which started at 9.00am so was still reasonably cool. The start and finish were situated at the majestic Cathedral Square and the race started promptly. The race is a two lap route heading out and back along the Neris river and out towards the Vingio Parkas. It then heads back into the city past numerous squares, past the KGB building (now the museum of genocide victims) and into the old town the highlights being th epresidential palace, the university, into Uzupio (known to be the artistic area of the city and a republic in it’s own right), St Anne’s Church (the site of the first peacful protest against the communists) and back into Cathedral Square.
Ben looked amazing on both laps and was cheered on by his fellow Jags. He finished in a time of 3.10.31 finishing 51st in a field of 738 runners. A fantastic achievement as the temperatures rose and Ben had little sleep the night before due to a late arrival.
It was then the turn of the 10km runners at 2pm with the temperatures averaging 26 degrees. The runners included Sarah Letzer, Vanessa Clements, Annette Yeomanson, Hilda Mears (back in orange) and her partner Mike Peyrebrune. The route mirrored that of the marathon initially and again focussed on the old town. Alot of caution was taken initially due to the heat and although there were water stations there were concerns about water running out. At the end of the race Ben and Mike showed alot of support as the 10km runners came in. However, there does seem to be some descrepancy in the times as it was uncertain where the race actually finished as the next race was being organised and the finishers of the 10km were manouvered into a small channel rather than going over the whole finish line.
After the race the group headed off to the nearest bar to try some of the Kraft beers and sample some of the local dishes which included alot of dumplings!!. Vilnius is a beautiful City, easy to get around and relatively cheap. If you’re looking for a running festival with mostly flat courses this is for you.
Ben Letzer3.10.37GOLD
Hilda Mears1.14.57
Anette Yeomanson1.18.19
Vanessa Cummins1.19.30
Sarah Letzer1.23.17FT