15 October 2020, 10am
The Swedish runner Jan Paraniak had been preparing for the last two years to run his 500th marathon in Budapest on 11 October, on his 70th birthday.
The 35th SPAR Budapest Marathon would have been the 20th time he had run this race. But of course, Covid put paid to attending in person.
The race organisation had offered a ‘virtual’ SPAR Budapest Marathon in parallel for those who couldn’t attend the physical event due to the closure of the Hungarian border. Jan registered himself for this along with 18 fellow Swedish runners. Jan had been assigned the special race number “500” alluding to his achievement and as a token of appreciation.
He designed his own course for the race in Huddinge, Sweden, and started at the same time as the field of the 35th SPAR Budapest Marathon set off. Jan added flavour to his event by preparing Hungarian goulash and offering the Hungarian alcoholic tonic Unicum to the finishers.