04 April 2014, 7am
Volkswagen Prague Marathon
Sun 11 May 2014
Prague was founded over 1000 years ago and its location, like many other great European cities, was dictated by a river. The Prague International Marathon course is also dictated by the Vltava River, which winds through what was the ancient capital of Bohemia and a centre of the Holy Roman Empire.
When Carlo Capalbo and 1988 Olympic Champion Gelindo Bordin hatched the idea of holding a marathon in the city they began in 1995 with a modest plan of a run in the park. The park was Stromovka a verdant stretch along the banks of the Vltava. By 1996 a 10km event had been added and the race was moved to the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) in the historic centre of the city. With the Jan Hus Monument and the Old Town Hall featuring the famous Astronomical Clock the Square is the perfect place to celebrate the start and finish of the Marathon. Nowhere in the city is the architectural heritage of Prague more in evidence, and it serves as a welcoming place to enjoy a famous Czech beer either in the days leading up to the race or when relaxing afterwards.
This year is the 20th running of this very successful Marathon. Over 10,000 runners and many important guests will celebrate the occasion with a weekend of special events. Race entries sold out four months before the race date and the RunCzech team has been planning the celebration since last year’s race. With the Prague Spring music concert, a family run, and relays in addition to the main event Marathon Sunday will provide a wonderful climax to a joyous weekend.
Runners begin their race to the strains of Smetana’s beautiful music dedicated to the river play. Once they leave the Square their journey is dictated by the river. The course flows along next to the river and the runners cross it eight times during their journey. One crossing is over the 700-year old Charles Bridge (Karlův most). This famous stone bridge lined with statues is one of the central attractions of any visit to Prague, but on race day the portrait artists, souvenir vendors, and musicians that usually inhabit the span are moved off in favour of runners.
Runners are almost always within sight of the historic Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, perched on a hill above the city, but the marathon course sticks to the flat plains near the swans, weirs, locks and small islands along the Vltava. The Prague International Marathon welcomes you to join us for our celebration of this anniversary year or in the near future. It is a perfect way to begin or end an exploration of a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic city of Prague.
Be sure to visit the unique Running Mall which is the centre for the running community in Prague. With its Sports Lounge Fitness Facility, adidas running PIM Store, conference rooms, and a Water Bar, along with the RunCzech staff offices the Mall serves not just as a hub for the RunCzech events but also as a flagship for an active and healthy lifestyle.