The Slovenia Times

Feel like running?



Running events such as marathons already have a long tradition in many places around Slovenia. The most popular run is probably the Three Hearts Marathon, which is held in Radenci, a place widely known for its health resort, mineral water and thermal springs. The first marathon was organized there in 1980 and is not only hugely popular with recreational runners but it is also building an international reputation among professional runners. The competitors tackling the full marathon run a course through the picturesque Slovenian landscape and cross over into Austria for a short distance. This spectacle is run in May and thousands of runners test themselves over their preferred distance, which can be 10 km, 21 km or the full marathon course (42.195 km). Small children can even participate in a 5.5 km run. The marathon course is generally flat but the wind and high temperatures makes achieving a good time more difficult than many suspect. Being successful in the marathon demands a great deal of mental strength as well as physical endurance and some competitors are discouraged by having to run around the same course twice. Despite the unpredictable and occasionally inclement weather, this event continues to attract more people each year. Another very popular event is the Ljubljana Memorial Path race, which is gaining in prominence every year among runners who like to compete as part of a team. Though running is generally regarded as an individual sport this race encourages and promotes team spirit. As the times of all three team members count towards their final result, it encourages each team to work together to get the best from each other. This is especially true of the mixed teams, where the performances of one member can vary significantly from that of their team-mates. Competitors can participate in either a 12 km or a 28 km race. Whichever race they choose to take part in, they will still need to be in good physical condition in order to finish as the race is a cross-country event and consists of many sandy uphill climbs and rocky downhill paths. The course leads through a forest and up to a nearby hill called Urh where the 12 km run starts. But it is less about the effort; it is more about the great sense of achievement and joy at finishing the race. The Ljubljana marathon The Ljubljana marathon was first held in 1996 and is now into its 9th year. It is growing in stature with each event and the competition is becoming tougher due to the increasing number of top-level international competitors taking part. For those runners keen to check on their performance at the end of the running season - the event is fast approaching. The race will be held on October 24th and there will be a welcoming ceremony and a pasta party at 1800 hours in Kongresni trg (Congress Square) the day before. For all those planning to beat their personal best in the race there are also a number of other records waiting to be beaten. The record for the full marathon (42.195 km) is held by Patrick Chumba of Kenya, who ran the course in 2:13:35 in 2000. The great Slovenian marathon runner, Helena Javornik, set an even older record in the woman's full marathon when she ran a time of 2:32:33 in 1998. She also holds the record in the woman's half marathon (21.098 km) of 1:11:45, which she set in 2002. The record for the men's half marathon is held by Roman Kejzar who ran the course in 1:06:17 in 2002. Both Javornik and Kejzar competed in the marathons of this year's Olympic games in Athens. For recreational marathon runners the course shouldn't be too difficult as it has no significant climbs and is mainly run on asphalt. The marathon will start and finish at Kongresni trg and the competitors will run two laps of a circuit that takes them through Ljubljana's city centre and then heads out to some of the surrounding areas of the city before returning to Kongresni trg. With some luck and favourable weather conditions, a well-prepared runner should be able to run a good time, if not a PB (personal best). Once those long kilometres are overcome, most participants are usually more than pleased with themselves as this is an example of how the human body and mind can achieve something that many non-runners consider to be impossible. Everyone who is able to finish either the half or the full marathon should consider themselves privileged.


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