Monday, 22 May 2017

Karlovy Vary Half Marathon: "All Runners are Beautiful"

After a pleasurable evening in a Czech pub I slept well.

The following morning was taken up with sightseeing. The afternoon involved mental preparation for the evening's Karlovy Vary Half Marathon (start 5:30pm).

The runner's best friend - the banana.

After the first kilometer - a bridge (not too far).

 Years ago a reporter had the nerve to suggest to the great Czech runner Emil Zatopek that his arms- flailing-everywhere running method was not so beautiful as the running style of another well-known athlete. Zatopek found the right words:

'All runners are beautiful' - Emil Zatopek

 Karlovy Vary is picturesque spa town with much to recommend it:

Hot water from the Earth!

Riverside Walks

A Russian Orthodox Church

A romantic atmosphere

A viewing tower 

Beautiful facades

and Maestro Beethoven!

The crowds lining the route were unbelievable. I have never passed so many noisy, cheerful, smiling faces in the space of a couple of hours. It seemed everybody and his dog were determined to enjoy the day. Everyone was a child at heart. People whirled rattles and shouted encouragement, or blew whistles. On the edge of the town women clanged their cow bells, and the bands and singers strung along the route kept the musical beat going.  Every child wanted to smack hands with a runner. And I obliged dozens of times. I think I ran the whole 21 kilometers with a fixed smile. It was a wonderful madcap marathon. And I was pleased to be part of it; I was one of nearly 3,000 entrants representing a total of 46 countries all with the same goal in sight.  And I can tell you, if runners ruled the world there would be no need for wars. As Emil Zatopek once said: All runners are beautiful.

20th May 2017
Karlovy Vary Half Marathon 21.1 kms.  Conditions: Light wind. 90% cloud cover. Temp 13-17 C.

1. W Kimitei  (KEN)  1:00:54   -  1:00:54  -  CR/PB

2019*.  G Williams  (GBR) M65 -  2:13:08  -  2:09:45  -  11 M65**

2597 Finishers.

*Timing and finishing position. There are two times. The second time 2:09:45 is the accurate computer chip time. The position of 2019th and M65 11th given here are based on 2:13.08 (which is not the real time taken to complete the course).

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