As usual, the Prague Marathon will take place in early May and will "stretch" its runners along a 42-kilometre race route in Prague.
We all have some idea of what a marathon actually is. Right? But let's refresh our third grade history knowledge just a bit. So. Let's go back to ancient Greece, to the 5th century BC, where it's not just the Greek city states that are competing, but Greece is being invaded from the east by the fierce and expanding Persians. The Battle of Marathon (12 September 490 BC) was the culmination of the Greco-Persian Wars, when the Persians landed on the shores of present-day Greece on the narrow plain of Marathon, where the "famous" battle took place. It was the brave Athenians who fought against the Persians and defeated them, who (full of resentment and thoughts of revenge) eventually withdrew. Persia was not going to accept defeat and ten years later recruited huge numbers of soldiers and invaded Greece again. But we won’t concern ourselves entirely with that now, let's concentrate on Marathon.
According to legend, right after the famous Greek victory, a runner named Feidippides set out to tell the news to the rulers in Athens, which is exactly 42,195 kilometers away. In Athens, with the words "Νενικήκαμεν" - "We have won" - he died of exhaustion.
The idea of staging the first modern marathon race was conceived in the 19th century, which was a time of romantic admiration for ancient Greece and when the legend of the marathon runner was especially popular. As part of the program of the modern Olympic Games, the first ever marathon race was held at the first Olympic Games in Greece in 1896 on an approximately original course from Marathon to Athens. The winner of the first Olympic Marathon (at a men's race only) was Greek Spyridon Luis with a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes and 50 seconds.
Not only has the marathon been firmly anchored in the Summer Olympics program since then, it has also become a popular run that can be staged " practically anywhere". For example, the first official marathon on Czech territory was organized on October 25, 1908 on the route Smíchov - Dobříš. Six competitors took part in it.
Today, the marathon has been transferred to a modern urban form, where it is run in many cities around the world and is a popular sports attraction not only for professional runners who improve their records. Amateur runners are also signing up for the race, training diligently and pushing their running limits in the backdrop of different cities.
The Prague Marathon is the most famous domestic running event, bringing together runners from both the Czech Republic and the rest of the running world. This year's edition will take place on Sunday, May 7. And because it is an extremely long track that will run directly through the city (as the name implies) the traffic will be limited in Prague. The race map is similar to previous years, where the start and end of the race is (where else but) on Old Town Square. The race will cross the Charles Bridge and then be mainly stretching on both banks of the Vltava River back and forth.
If you come visit Prague this particular weekend in May when the marathon takes place and stay at our Art House residence in Křižovnická Street, at the MN6 Luxury Suites residence on Masarykovo Nabřeží Street or at the Golden Angel Suites in Celetná Street, you will experience this unique sporting event for yourself. The racers will run right under your windows, you can wave at them and cheer them up! Or, better – what about participating as a runner yourself?