Victories and national records for the Netherlands’ van Riel and Türkiye’s Mechaal at the European Road Mile in Brasov
The Netherlands’ Robin van Riel and Türkiye’s Emine Hatun Mechaal claimed victories in the Brasov Running Festival’s European Road Mile, winning in national records of 4:05.5 and 4:41.7 respectively on Saturday evening.
Mechaal was the first across the line as dusk started to fall over the Coresi district in Brasov, one of the emerging technology hubs in Romania, in a well calculated win that saw the former European U20 cross country champion pull away from her nearest rivals over the final 100 metres.
“It was my first ever road mile, but I really enjoyed the experience and there was a lot of support from the crowd out there. It was a hard finish, but I just had enough left,”
Romania’s Cristina Balan finishing second in 4:43.0 while reigning Greek 1500m champion Melissa Anastaskis was third in 4:44.0, both women also setting national records in an event that has only had ‘official status’ since the start of the 2023,
Barely five minutes after the leading women crossed the line, it was the turn for the gun to go on the men’s race.
The leading pack were reluctant to go with the Kenyan pacemaker Stephen Masindet and went through 1km in an unofficial 2:40.0, which made the anticipated sub-four minute time and a world record highly unlikely.
In the end, van Riel – the 2019 European U20 1500m silver medallist who a week ago set a 1500m personal best of 3:36.61 – was able to outsprint his younger compatriot Stefan Nillessen in a thrilling duel as the finish line approached.
Nillessen showed a quick change of gears when winning the European U23 1500m title in June but on this occasion found his fellow Dutchman quicker still on the Romanian roads.
Van Riel clocked 4:05.5 to Nillessen’s 4:05.8 with Italy’s Giovanni Filippi third in 4:07.2.
“It’s a new distance and not so many people have run it before, but I like it, I like technical races, it’s almost like playing games and I like coming from behind. I feel this is more my event, where I can beat guys who have faster times on the track than me just by good tactics,”
reflected van Riel.
Full results of all the races at the Brasov Running Festival, including the European Road Mile, can be found here.
A recording of the live stream of the European Road Mile with both the men’s and women’s race can be found here.
The action at the Brasov Running Festival continues Sunday with the Trunsylvania 10km, a World Athletics Elite Label Race and the only road race of this status in Romania.
The three-lap race made headlines around the world in 2022 with super-fast times from its leading runners.
Weldon Langat from Kenya is determined to go one better than his second-place finish last year and the 26:55 runner has as his target the course record of 26:51 set by his compatriot Nicolas Kimeli when winning in 2022.
His compatriot Agnes Ngetich heads the contenders for the women’s race and has in her sights the course record of 30:07 set by her fellow Kenyan Sheila Chepkirui last year. Like Langat, she also finished second in Brasov 12 months ago and was sixth in the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 10,000m last month in a personal best of 31:34.83.
The Trunsylvania 10km will be streamed live from 9:50-11:20 EEST (GMT +3 hours) on Sunday 10 September here.