In 2014, history was made as the World Road Running Championships took place in Copenhagen. Now, it’s happening again – but on an even grander scale. In tough competition with other cities, World Athletics has chosen the Danish capital as the host city for the World Road Running Championships in 2026. When it happens, the sound of running shoes will resonate throughout the entire city.
Where there were 30,000 participants in the half marathon in 2014, there will be room for 35,000 runners in 2026. From the Royal Run, the well-known and highly popular distances of one mile (1.609 km) and 5 kilometers are included in the World Championships package, with participation from 10,000 and 20,000 runners respectively. In total, up to 65,000 runners are expected to take part in the festivities.
“With a strong city brand, a leading position in the green transition, and extensive expertise in utilizing urban spaces for hosting events, Copenhagen stands as one of the foremost event cities worldwide. And we are very excited to welcome athletes and their friends and families to the World Road Running Championships in Copenhagen in 2026,” says Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO at Wonderful Copenhagen
A people’s celebration for the whole city
Even though the starting gun won’t sound for a while, we can already reveal the first winner of the event: Copenhagen. The WRRC align with several major sports experiences in Denmark, uniting runners from the whole world from all walks of life.
“It is hard to keep the excitement down right now, as the World Road Running Championships once again are set to be staged in Copenhagen. Just as the Tour de France departure last year united and thrilled everyone across the country, I am convinced that the 2026 Championships will create a unique and fantastic celebration as well, whether you are a recreational participant or a spectator,” says Lars Lundov, CEO of Sport Event Denmark.
A World Championship for everyone
It’s not just the number of participants that will grow; the event itself will too. While the World Road Running Championships in 2014 took place on a single day in March, the WRRC 2026 will span a full running week in September. Throughout the week, there will be pop-up runs and events spread across the city, building up to the weekend’s main events: the iconic one-mile race and an exciting 5 kilometer run on Saturday, before the Copenhagen streets set the stage for the highlight on Sunday: the half marathon distance.
The World Championships event will be incorporated into the annual Copenhagen Half Marathon which in 2026 will be presented as a special edition with the world’s best runners gathered across the three distances.
In addition to benefiting the capital city, the World Road Running Championships will also strengthen national athletics and running associations.
We are both thrilled and honored to be chosen to host the World Road Running Championships 2026”, commented Simone Frandsen, President of Danish Athletics, and elaborates:
Following our successful introduction of recreational runners in the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships and the acclaimed 2019 World Cross Country Championships, we once again pledge our dedication to design a spectacular experience. We couldn’t be more excited to stage the WRRC 2026 as we continue to contribute moving the sport forward.”
Something truly special about the World Road Running Championships is that the race is not just for the elite. Ordinary runners get a unique opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the world’s best athletes on a certified World Championships route through the beautiful streets of Copenhagen.
And even after the professionals leave, the route will remain. The plan is for it to be taken over by CPH Half, allowing this event to grow even bigger – to the delight of runners from Denmark, Europe, and the rest of the world.
The World Road Running Championships in Copenhagen 2026 is a collaboration between Copenhagen Municipality, Sport Event Denmark, Wonderful Copenhagen, Danish Athletics, and Sparta Athletics & Running.
Registration for the World Road Running Championships 2026 opens in 2025.
Facts from the World Road Running Championships in Copenhagen, 2014:
Fastest half marathon in the world in 2014 92 participating nations with 2,382 foreign runners Estimated spectator count: 200,000
Facts about CPH Half:
Established as a legacy of the 2014 World Road Running Championships
Holds an international World Athletics Gold Label event status and is widely recognized as one of the world’s premier half marathon races
Part of the “SuperHalfs” race series, consisting of a selection of the world’s leading half marathon races
Since its first edition in 2015, CPH Half has had the most runners breaking the 60-minute barrier. In 2022, 15 runners achieved this, setting a world record.
In 2019, Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor returned to Copenhagen, where he became a world champion in 2014, setting a new world record of 58:01 over the distance.
Former hosts of the World Road Running Championships:
2010: Nanning (China)
2012: Kavarna (Bulgaria)
2014: Copenhagen (Denmark)
2016: Cardiff (United Kingdom)
2018: Valencia (Spain)
2020: Gdynia (Poland)
2023: Riga (Latvia)
2026: Copenhagen (Denmark)