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Victories and national records for the Dutchman van Riel and for the Spaniard Mechaal of Turkey at the European Militia in Brasov.

Victories and national records for the Dutchman van Riel and for the Spaniard Mechaal of Turkey at the European Militia in Brasov.

Dutch Robin van Riel and Turkish woman Emine Hatun Mechaal scored victories at the European Militia at the Brasov Running Festival, setting national records of 4:05.5 and 4:41.7 respectively on Saturday evening.

Mechaal was the first to cross the finish line as darkness began to descend over Brasov's Coresi district, one of Romania's emerging tech hubs, in a well-calculated victory that saw the former European U20 cross champion pull away from his nearest rivals in the final 100 metres.

“It was my first mile on the road, but I felt great pleasure during the experience and had a lot of support from the public. It was a difficult finish, but we had enough reserve,” Mechaal said.

Romania's Cristina Balan finished second in 4:43.0, while Greek 1500 m champion Melissa Anastaskis was third in 4:44.0, both women also setting national records in an event that has had “official” status since early 2023.

Only five minutes after the leading women crossed the finish line, it was the turn of the start in the men's race.

The leading group hesitated to join the Kenyan “trickster” Stephen Masindet, and they passed the first kilometer in an unofficial time of 2:40.0, which made the time under four minutes anticipated and a world record unlikely.

Finally, van Riel — the silver medalist in the 1500 m at the 2019 European U20 Championships, who a week ago set his personal best in the 1500 m with 3:36.61 — managed to overtake his younger compatriot Stefan Nillessen in a thrilling duel as he approached the finish line.

Nillessen demonstrated a rapid change of pace when he won the European U23 1500 m title in June, but this time he found his countryman was faster on the roads in Romania.

The Netherlands' Robin van Riel winning at the Brasov Running Festival's European Road Mile
Dutch Robin van Riel won at the European Militia of the Brasov Running Festival.

Van Riel clocked 4:05.5, while Nillessen had 4:05.8, and Italian Giovanni Filippi finished third in 4:07.2.

“It's a new distance and not a lot of people have run it before, but I love it, I like technical races, it's almost like I'm playing games and I like coming from behind. I feel like this is more my event, where I can beat the guys who have better times on the track than me just through good tactics,” Van Riel reflected.

Full results of all races at the Brasov Running Festival, including the European Militia, can be found herein. The live recording of the European Militia, which includes both the male and female race, can be viewed herein. The action at the Brasov Running Festival continues on Sunday with the Trunsylvania 10km, an elite World Athletics race and the only road race of this status in Romania.

The three-lap race went around the world in 2022 with super-fast times from the best runners.

Weldon Langat of Kenya is determined to improve on last year's second place and the runner with a time of 26:55 aims to break the course record of 26:51 set by his compatriot Nicolas Kimeli in 2022.

Her colleague Agnes Ngetich is the favorite for the women's race and is aiming for the 30:07 course record set by her compatriot Sheila Chepkirui last year. Like Langat, she also finished second in Brasov 12 months ago and took sixth place at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on July 23, recording a personal best of 31:34.83 in the 10,000m.

Trunsylvania 10km will be broadcast live from 9:50am to 11:20pm EEST (GMT +3) on Sunday, September 10th, herein.

More details about all races at the Brasov Running Festival can be found on event site.

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