The Slovenia Times

WWII memorial event attracts 37,000 hikers and runners

People take part in the annual Walk along the Wire memorial event. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

A total of 37,002 people participated in the three-day sports event Walk along the Wire, which annually commemorates the liberation of Ljubljana in the Second World War. Popular among hikers and runners, the event kicked off on 9 May, when the capital celebrated Ljubljana Day alongside Europe Day.

Marking the 79th anniversary of the city's liberation, the 66th Walk along the Wire featured the annual hike, which draws in participants who wish to walk at least half of the 35km commemoration footpath around Ljubljana.

The gravel path follows the route where the Italian occupying forces set up a barbed-wire fence in 1942 to prevent any incursions or cooperation between the resistance movement forces in the city and Partisan units in nearby rural areas. Ljubljana was the only European capital at the time to be locked out in such a way.

First to hit the trail are always groups of kindergarten children, with nearly 6,900 kids turning out on the first day of this year's event to walk shorter sections of the hike.

What followed was a hike of primary and secondary school students where the number of participants was at 11,700.

The last day of the event saw another great turnout, with nice weather providing extra motivation to turn up. Some 13,100 participants decided to walk the entire hike and another 1,670 went for a shorter section.

Moreover, there were about 3,650 runners competing in the Run of Trios, an event where the main thing is not to win but to celebrate cooperation and comradeship.

One of the biggest recreational sports events in Slovenia, the Walk along the Wire was listed in the country's living cultural heritage register in 2016. The event takes place every year on or around 9 May, when Ljubljana was liberated in 1945.

The path, generally known as the Trail of Remembrance and Comradeship, was unveiled in the mid-1980s, but after the war people started hiking it as early as in 1946. Julijana Žibert, who used to helm the former national postal and telecoms services company, was one of those who made the path what it is today.

She was awarded the Freeman of Ljubljana title at a Ljubljana Day session of the City Council for her contribution to the development of the trail as a lasting monument to the city's perseverance during WWII.


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