The Slovenia Times

Ljubljana's Running Triple Surges Ahead



For an ever-increasing number of recreational runners and outdoor activity enthusiasts, the climax of a year's work and the ultimate test of their ability is participation in the Ljubljana Marathon, which usually takes place on one of the last weekends in October, when ¯running fever® grips the city. On the Sunday of the race, the centre of Ljubljana and some main roads are closed to traffic and several thousand runners test their strength and endurance over 10 km, 21 km and 42 km courses. The competitive runners are joined on the shorter courses by school children, and the day before, there is also a unique race for preschool children, who usually run their first steps along with their parents. The circuit, which is a little bit different this year, is relatively flat and winds through the main city streets and along the tree-covered Roznik hill, past the Ljubljana Zoo, before finishing in the centre, in front of the Slovenian Parliament. Marathon runners have to compete two 21 km circuits. Thanks to its relatively easy course, frequently ideal autumn weather and excellent organisation, the Ljubljana Marathon is a perfect conclusion of the season for many people. There were altogether nearly 6.000 participants last year from 25 countries from five continents. This year the organisers expect more than 7.000 competitors on the 10th marathon weekend (22nd and 23rd October 2005) in Ljubljana. Trojka Run Running has become very popular in Slovenia in recent years and the number of running events is growing every day. One particularly notable event is the Tek trojk - ¯The team of three run®, which has a very rich tradition in Slovenia and will next year celebrate its 50th anniversary. Half a century is an extraordinary anniversary for any running event in Europe, but the "Trojka" Run is also unique because of its format: all three members of the team (men, women or mixed) have to run simultaneously. Running is, in principle, an individual event and the only teams are in relays. In the Trojka Run it is not about competition but cooperation. It is not the individual who counts, but the team. For this reason, it is not unusual on the parts of the course where the greatest efforts are required to see two teammates helping the third as a team. The 28-km-long course runs through Ljubljana's Old Town (where the finish line is), turns off towards the north-eastern part of the city and then passes along the idyllic forest along the ridge of Golovec. Truly, a test of comraderie for the teams over a course of 12 or 28 kilometres in the idyllic surroundings of Ljubljana. The Trojka Run always takes place as part of the anniversary of the liberation of Ljubljana (9th May). There is also the Smarna Gora MR Race, up and down the most popular mountain in Slovenia. A fleeting glance at the car park at the foot of the mountain says it all: the citizens of Ljubljana visit this popular green oasis en masse - in order to stay fleet, enjoy a cup of tea at the summit or simply relax and get away from their daily cares. Also there is no shortage of people taking frequent glances at their watches as they puff their way towards the summit. The Smarna Gora MR Race was born 25 centuries ago to see how quickly ¯our mountain® could be climbed. As the event has matured over the years, so the competition has increased. Last year the event was the closing race of the international WMRA Grand Prix competition and has obtained the status of an IAAF Permit meeting, ranking it immediately after World and European championship events in terms of mountain running importance. A look at the list of men's best results for the course confirms the first positions are held exclusively by medal winners from recent World Championships. The course now adapts to the level of its participants. It is a challenging course, with two very different ascents and a technically demanding descent in between. It takes runners from the Sports Park at Rocen up to Grmada Hill, and then descents almost as far as the valley, before climbing up again in a kind of spiral to Smarna Gora proper. Over its nine kilometres, runners must climb two summits of Smarna Gora - and of course come down again in between. The course avoids the busiest paths, trusting the secret intersections of old cart tracks, and represents a unique challenge for domestic cross-country running enthusiasts. We don't have many opportunities to stand on a starting line shoulder to shoulder with world champions. Ljubljana's Running Triple invites you to take part!


More from Nekategorizirano