Four years ago today I covered the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in the Black Sea coastal town of Kavarna, Bulgaria. Zersenay Tadese, above, won the title for the fifth time, living up to his monikor of ‘Mr. Half Marathon’.
I recall three things about Kavarna, a town of about 15,000: its use of heavy metal murals as urban beautification project, that it is home to the world’s only memorial to heavy metal rocker Ronnie James Dio, and the stifling early October conditions the runners had to face. That morning the temperatures hovered near 30 C (86 F) under the burning sun that hovered over the largely exposed course; that, coupled with the 85 percent humidity made for difficult racing.
Tadese seemed unfazed, or at least, the least fazed, winning by a whopping 32 seconds in 1:00:19. That came on top of travel difficulties that forced him to spend the night at a terminal in Vienna Airport before arriving in Kavarna the afternoon before the race.