FRIDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2023
Registration and race bibs pick up, Marathon Expo, Kasárne Kulturpark, Košice
SATURDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2023
Registration and race bibs pick up, Marathon Expo
Presentation of top athletes, Autograph Session
SUNDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2023
Start of Inline, Handbike and Wheelchairs
Start of Marathon
Start of Magna marathon 4×¼ (Relay)
NN Music Marathon (Musical performances on the marathon course)
Start of Half Marathon (in several waves)
Expected finish of the Marathon winners
End of 100th edition of Košice Peace Marathon
*Take into consideration that all translations were made with the help of artificial intelligence with minor terminological correction.
STORY OF NINE DECADES 1933 - 2013
Galambosa opäť nedobehli
At the tenth edition of the marathon in 1933, apparently by coincidence, 33 runners took part. The competitors from Germany who participate every year were missing, since the social climate changed after Hitler’s rise to power and the country was going through relatively turbulent changes. Perhaps the best chances were given to Josef Šulc, mainly thanks to his second place in the marathon in Vienna, which was held a little more than a month after the one in Košice. However, the favored Šulc took the third place in the end, when after an even course, the seasoned József Galambos gained a sufficient lead in the end on this track. He thus earned his fourth victory, which until now no one else in Košice has been able to repeat.
Battle of namesakes
During this period, events in Košice continued to be influenced by war events. Despite this, the marathon was organized on September 19. 34 runners reached the finish line, which was, as confirmed by accurate worldwide statistics, the highest number of all marathons held that year on regular courses anywhere in the world. The winning Géza Kiss tried it on the local track a total of six times, while his performance in 1943 was clearly the best of them. He won when he beat his namesake József Kiss by exactly one minute.
Without rivals from abroad
Going through the chronicles of the marathon in Košice, we see that indeed only a few of its years were held without international participation. In addition to the premiere, this also happened during II. World War and then also in 1968, when the country’s borders were closed to foreigners after the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops. And then foreign runners were absent for other, rather technical reasons two more times. This was also the case in 1953, when there was extensive road repair on the line to village Seňa. According to contemporary sources, the weather was too warm this year. This certainly contributed to the fact that up to a third of the runners did not finish the race. In the end, the victorious Walter Bednář dealt best with all these obstacles.
The world leader confirmed the qualities
American Leonard Edelen was back in 1963. He returned to Košice after a year as a number one favorite, which was predestined for him by the best world performance of the year 2:14:28 achieved in Chiswick, England on June 15. Kantorek was absent due to an injury, so the names of Sergej Popov, Basil Heatley and Václav Chudomel, all competitors from the leading places in the world rankings, were mentioned among the favorites in addition to Edelen. Expectations were high as always, but the split times achieved in the first part of the track were mainly affected by an unpleasant headwind. The acceleration came after a turn, to the extent that the excellently disposed Edelen gradually detached himself from his rivals and reached the finish line in a new track record, improving it by more than two and a half minutes.
Resignation from the first place
In 1973, the situation from ten years ago was repeated, when, after Edelen, a competitor from the top of the current world ranking took the start. Australian John Farington won the position in July thanks to his victory in Sydney in 2:11:12. As a clear favorite, Farington did not owe anything to his reputation and immediately after the start he started to rewrite one interval record after another at a rapid pace. However, he unexpectedly gave up at the 35th kilometer, and the way to the first place suddenly opened up for the steadily running Vladimir Mojsejev.
The second local who won
At the time to which we are now returning, the world was already experiencing the coming running boom, and only in Europe itself marathons in London, Rotterdam, Frankfurt or Vienna appeared on the map in those years. And so it was not easy to maintain the position of Košice, mainly because it was difficult to keep up with the newly emerging metropolitan events in many areas, especially in the financial ones. Nevertheless, there was always something interesting going on here. Even in 1983, when the victory of home runner František Višnický could almost be described as a sensation. He thus became, after Karol Halla, only the second runner from Košice on the highest level.
Champion from the neighbors
The first victory of a competitor from Poland in Košice came after 68 long years. But then two came right after each other. Wieslav Palczynski, who won in Košice in 1993 and defended his championship from the year before, also grew up in an extremely strong generation. The path to the second championship was to be made difficult by several invited favorites, among them Derek Froude from New Zealand, who was proud of his personal record of 2:11:25 achieved in New York. It is worth mentioning that in those years the marathon in Košice was going through a kind of crisis in terms of the number of participants, but this was successfully reversed in the following years.
The three previous African victories in a row seemed to signal the coming dominance of this continent even at the marathon in Košice, but the year 2003 denied this trend for a while. Not that Africans were missing at the start, but runners from Europe dominated both the men’s and women’s races. The photographer captured the winning Belarusian Jelena Mazovkova and the Russian Georgy Andrejev, who did not find the winner in the men’s race, in period photographs. He started a very successful career in Košice, which was later decorated with a personal record of 2:10:25 achieved at the marathon in Frankfurt.
Nine decades of the marathon in Košice
The marathon marked its 90th edition, but many fans still remembered the previous year, which brought significant rewriting of course records. The champion of the jubilee marathon, Patrick Korir, got out of bed in the morning with the luck, and his reward was a victory and a personal record improved by two minutes, which he did not rewrite until the end of his career. The story of the female winner was quite different. At the age of 25, Ashete Bekere Dido was just starting a stellar career, and the winning time, which was her personal and track best at the time, was surpassed later very often, up to the limit of 2:17:58.
*Take into consideration that all translations were made with the help of artificial intelligence with minor terminological correction.
American Leonard Edelen confirmed the status of the marathon unit 60 years ago and ran to the finish line with a big lead
The intermediate times scared the organizers at Lokomotiva stadium
60 years ago, the 33rd edition of the Košice Peace Marathon was very much associated with the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It was held in October 1964, and that’s why several top endurance athletes chose the October date a year earlier. For many, it was a great preparation for Tokyo. 123 marathon runners, 47 of them from 16 countries of the world, lined up for the start at the stadium in Čermel. And 115 of them made it to the finish line.
After a four-year break, Soviet marathoners – Sergej Popov, Yuri Popov and Oleg Dobrodejenko – were in Košice again. The Ethiopian duo Biratu Wami – Demisse Wolde joined the group of favorites. The British Heatley, German Hönicke, the Swedes Nyberg and Johansson, the Finn Salakka and the Czechoslovak Chudomel also fit into the fight for the race lead. Of course, the American Leonard Graves Edelen was also one of the hot favorites, who arrived in the capital of the east Slovakia as a recent holder of the world record on this track, when he was the first person to break the 2:15 mark. In mid-June, he won in Chiswick, England with 2:14:28.
KOŠICE BEFORE TOKYO
It should be noted that Edelen preferred Košice despite the Tokyo organizers inviting him to the pre-Olympic marathon. On September 14, he wrote to Vojtech Bukovský (the founder of Košice marathon): „Although I was invited to Japan, I still want to start in Košice. I cannot forget how wonderfully you received me last year and I believe that you will kindly allow me to run again your great marathon…“
The field of competitors in Košice was extremely strong for its time. The organizers were right to wring their hands. That is also why the chairman of the SV ČSTV athletics committee, Pavol Glesk, justifiably and confidently noted that such competition did not occur at any marathon in the world. He even declared: „I think that some of this year’s Košice participants may appear among the top ten at the Tokyo Olympics. It’s a shame that the Japanese didn’t come.“ How his prophetic words came true, more on that later.
NO ONE THOUGHT ABOUT THE RECORD BEFORE THE TURNOVER
The eyes of the fans focused primarily on the American Edelen. They remembered his unforgettable fight with Kantorek a year ago. The likable athlete was incredibly improving his performance. After all, he started the marathon only 16 months ago, and a year ago in Košice, he already wowed the public with only his third marathon in his life. Little did the people of Košice know that this time, during his sixth marathon, he would literally shock them. Despite the fact that the new world record resonated significantly. He was unmistakable on the track and very recognizable. He had a white handkerchief with four knots on his head, which became iconic for him. Edelen settled in the leading group right from the start along with two Ethiopians, Sergej Popov and the Englishman Heatley. Just before the turn in Seňa, it was the last-named who set off for a several-meter blockbuster and went to the second half of the track with a time of 1:09:02. As expected, he overestimated his powers. On the other hand, he tore apart the leading group. Wami and Demisse were also starting to succumb to their pace. In the second group, Chudomel and Košice local Kánio held on well. Until the halfway point, there was no indication that the record would be broken. True, it was running against a strong headwind. The second half of the race was somewhat different.
MINOR PANIC IN THE STADIUM
Before the 30th km, Edelen’s moment came for a decisive attack, behind which even Popov began to lag. On the track, however, they watched not only the decisive blockbuster, but also the reports of the timekeepers, who announced an attack on the track record. At the 35th kilometer, Edelen had a time of 1:52:22 (in 1959, Popov had a time of 1:53:20 for the course record). The situation behind the leading competitor also developed interestingly. Chudomel started to close Popov’s lead, but Popov finally repelled his attack. Even Heatley got out of the crisis. However, Leonard Edelen continued to increase his lead and pace. So much so that when he appeared in the streets of Košice, even the organizers at the Lokomotiva stadium did not want to believe it at first. Suddenly they had to postpone the start of the 1500 m run as part of the accompanying program at the stadium. It was originally supposed to start at 3:05 p.m. So there was a small rush to get everything done in time before Edelen ran into the champions‘ gate. 25,000 spectators eagerly awaited him at the stadium.
WITHOUT A SINGLE REFRESHMENT!
While in 1962 Kantorek won before Edelen by 1.6 seconds, this time it was an unequivocal triumph for Edelen. He had a lead of 2:36 min. at the finish line! If the year before, the winning Kantorek only had refreshments on the track once, when he drank sweet tea with vitamin C, this time Edelen did not have refreshments at all! „At the 30th kilometer, I refreshed myself with a sponge soaked in water. I didn’t eat or drink anything during the run,“ he said in an interview after the finish. He was satisfied with the time. I bet he was when he improved the track record by 2:36 min. It is hard to believe that Sergej Popov managed to run the same time on the 42,195 meter long track as he achieved four years ago, when he set a track record in Košice. And if only that. Popov had the same time by even a tenth of a second – 2:17:45.2! Something incredible. We dare to say that is something unrepeatable in the future. It will probably be very difficult for one competitor to achieve two identical times on the same track. Even for a tenth of a second. Understandably, in the context of that time, a joke immediately arose among the common people that the American won because the Soviet was chasing him…
HE SURPRISED THE EXPERTS WITH HIS REACTION AT FINISH
Despite the satisfaction and significant reduction of the track record, Buddy Edelen poured ashes on his head in an interview with Východoslovenské noviny. “I think if I had eaten less two days before the marathon, my time would have been about a minute better. The last ten kilometers I felt that I had stomach problems and they cost me precious seconds. However, it is a lesson for the future,“ said Leonard Edelen, and in the restaurant of the then Hutník hotel, he appreciated the excellent taste of Budvar when he drank a bottle of beer after the race. With these words, he properly surprised the experts, who were already praising new record to the heavens.In addition to the world record, Edelen also confirmed his excellent form in Košice. He looked forward to the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo with great hope. After all, both of the aforementioned performances were better than the time of the phenomenal Abebe Bikila when he won the previous Olympics in Rome – 2:15:16.Košice had a huge reputation in the world in those days. Just remember that Edelen’s finish time was second best in the world charts after his Chiswick world record! That is also why journalists liked to emphasize that the Košice marathon in that year surpassed almost all major international marathons in terms of performance – Boston, Enschede, Balkan Games, Mediterranean Games, Pan American Games or III. spartakiad of the nations of the USSR… HE REMEMBERED KOŠICE WITH LOVE 30 years ago, he received an invitation from the Košice organizers to the jubilee 70th edition. But not to Czechoslovakia, but to the newly formed Slovakia republic. Although he was happy at first, he later sadly refused, saying that he no longer felt like such a long journey. However, he still had a vivid memory of his victory. „I remember it very well. It was the most beautiful marathon in my life. I kept telling my friends about it. It’s a pity that Kantorek was injured. I won fairly easily. Who knows if I would not have achieved an even better time with him on the track,“ said Leonard Edelen in an interview with Andrej Buček, and also related to the atmosphere at that time. „I was pleasantly shocked. During the Cold War, they threatened us with a threat from the East. I was afraid of how they would look at an American. I have never experienced such a kind-hearted atmosphere in my life. I didn’t expect so many people in a relatively small town in Eastern Europe.“By the way, after the victory in Košice, Edelen lived in London for three more years and then moved back to the USA, from where he left for England years ago for the love of the marathon. From 1966 to 1980 he taught at Adamson College in Colorado. After moving to Tulsa, he was hired by Pepsi Cola in 1982 as an advertising agent. Since 1987, he has worked in the social field. He was married twice. The first marriage with the daughter of a Czech immigrant did not work out. He had a son, Brent, with his second wife. He died relatively early on February 19, 1997 at the age of 59.
THE QUARTET IN THE ELITE TEN
And how did the Olympic marathon in Tokyo turn out? Pavol Glesk had a good guess. The Košice marathon from 1963 had four members in the top ten! Heatley won silver in 2:16:19, Hungarian Sütő was fifth in 2:17:55, Edelen finished sixth in 2:18:12. Wolde completed the elite ten with 2:21:25. As is known, gold was won in style by Ethiopian Abebe Bikila (2:12:11), bronze by Japanese Kokiči Tsuburaja (2:16:22). It is clear from the overview that, if Edelen had repeated the performance from Košice, he would have finished comfortably second.
Many people wonder why Leonard Edelen was called Buddy. The hard worker himself had a simple answer to that. „My father’s name was also Leonard, which is why names in the family were sometimes mixed up. My father said that he would call me Buddy, and that’s how it came to me, and even today, no one calls me anything else,“ explained the marathoner from the United States of America.
TURNOVER A BIT EARLIER
The traditional route to Seňa had one minor change this year. Behind Barca, at that time, they were building a viaduct for the railway to steal mill factory. In this place, the organizers had to make a detour. But on a paved road. Since they added some meters to the competitors on this section, they took them away elsewhere. The turn in Seňa was a few tens of meters before the usual place. The track had a prescribed length thanks to officer Valach, who measured it for two days.
WHAT WAS THE WEEKEND PROGRAM OF THE MARATHON RUNNERS
60 years ago, marathon runners were definitely not bored during the weekend. In addition to training, they had a rich accompanying program. Finally, judge for yourself.
13.00: Tour of the track by bus
14.00: Welcome to the Regional National Committee
20.00: Festive premiere of the Romeo and Juliet ballet
09.30: Laying wreaths at the heroes‘ monument
12.20: Arrival of the competitors at the Lokomotiva stadium and a ceremonial speech
13.00: Start of marathon
Visit to the High Tatras for foreign runners
*Take into consideration that all translations were made with the help of artificial intelligence with minor terminological correction.
40 years ago FRANTIŠEK VIŠNICKÝ triumphed at the MMM in Košice.
The only Slovak who triumphed twice
In 1983, Košice had already been waiting 59 years for the winner of the second oldest marathon in the world, who would come from this city. Karol Halla, a native of Košice, won in the very first year in 1924, and since then no one has succeeded in imitating him. Until the era of František Višnický came. 40 years ago, there was great fame at the Lokomotiv stadium. So let’s go back in time.
HELSINKI INCREASED THE CHANCE OF SUCCESS
When František Višnický took to the starting line in 1983, he was aware that he was among the favorites. Asking the native of Poľov village whether there was any indication that he would win is pointless. At that time, Czechoslovak athletics was at a high level. The federal athletes led by athletes like Kratochvílova, Kocembová, Fibingerová and Bugár were among the world’s best. Finally, they confirmed it beautifully a few weeks before Košice Marathon in 1983, when they surprised the whole world with their results at the first World Championship in Helsinki. The fact that the elite marathoners gave priority to the World Championship may have played into František Višnický’s cards. However, this in no way detracts from his great victory. „I ran two marathons in the spring – in the former German Democratic Republic and in Geneva in order to meet the limit, but I did not succeed. So I didn’t qualify for Helsinki and I focused on preparing for Košice. Since the most of the elite marathoners were in Helsinki, my chances of success increased. At that time, Kenyans did not dominate marathons in the world as they do now. I went to the start thinking that I wanted to fight for victory, not to win. No one can set such a goal, because the marathon is very unpredictable,“ underlined the old truth of a successful endurance athlete. Otherwise, a very modest athlete, an introvert by nature, who does not want to be the center of attention and he himself admitted that he does not like too much interest from people and the media. In those days, top fighters from the socialist bloc used to go to Košice. Even in 1983, they were supposed to be František Višnický’s biggest opponents. During the preparation, the thought often flashed through his mind that after many decades he could become the second Košice winner. So he had a strong motivation to fight on his home track for the long-awaited victory.
SOUTHERN WIND A BIG POSITIVE
„The week before the marathon I felt good. Even the training showed that I was in good shape. That calmed me down. I felt I was at the peak. Of course, I didn’t know who I would be fighting on the track. I completed a 10-kilometer control run and jumped on a high-carb diet after three days without sugar. The night before the race was relaxing, I fell asleep without any problems. However, it was not that important, the priority was the ten-week preparation for the race. On the other hand, I know that a year later I couldn’t sleep before the race. The expectations were high.“On the day of the race, he accomplished what he had planned. In the morning he went for a jog, to warm up and prepare for a run. In Košice, the start was not at nine, as it is now, but at one in the afternoon. The weather was also quite good. But what was extremely important, the south wind was blowing. Many people still remmember that the course led to village of Seňa for many years, where there was a turnaround after halfway. It made a huge difference whether after 21 km in your legs you ran the next 21 kilometers with the wind at your back or against the wind. In addition to the northern one. When it was cold and the north wind added to the mix, the conditions on this track were extremely difficult. Several runners recall feeling as if they were running against a wall. On the horizon, they have long seen the tower of the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth but can’t get to her. That is also why the south wind was very positive news. The marathoners ran cautiously to Seňa, but on the way back they could afford more. „Back then, races were not directed the way they are today. There were no pacemakers to set the pace. Calculations and tactics were only up to the competitors, who made decisions according to the feelings on the track and based on eye contact. That’s why those times were the way they were.‘
THE CROWDS MADE HIM FORGET ABOUT FATIGUE
How does František Višnický remember the course of the race? „It was running at a relatively free pace until the turn. However, I have to admit that after the 15th kilometer I felt strong urge to push, but I resisted it. The tactic before the race was to not worry about the pace until the 15th kilometer. I shouldn’t have been the leader. I should have been hidden behind the runners at the front of the race. Then a group of about 12-15 members was formed. However, immediately after the turn, I felt that now was the moment. Now I have to take off and lead the entire 20 kilometers to Košice. I got on and kept the pace. I even ran the section between the 30th and 35th kilometers in under 15 minutes. It was a fast pace back then. The wind at his back, however, was a strong positive moment.“ He ran from the Južná street to the current Hlavná street with a comfortable lead of more than two minutes ahead of the Soviet duo Porotov – Yefimov. It’s a fantastic moment for any endurance athlete. Having such a luxurious head start on your home track, in front of your own fans, is the desire of many marathon runners. Few people are lucky enough to be able to enjoy the last kilometers like this. „But I didn’t enjoy it that much. Of course, I registered huge support from the people lining the track in the pedestrian zone, but I also fighted with cramps. I had to run more carefully.‘ What emotions must an endurance athlete experience on the track when, despite great exhaustion, various thoughts run through his mind? He knows that at home, where everyone knows him and everyone keeps their fingers crossed for him, believes in him, encourages him, he is close to victory. The last hundreds of meters remain and the crowds of people is getting bigger and bigger. The idea that after 59 years the native from Košice can once again stand on the highest step enters into all of this. One gets goosebumps… „Emotions were high. Of course, they were mixed with fatigue and self-preservation instincts so that I could endure it. I felt a friendly environment and great support. Košice lived a marathon and people lived the last meters with me. However, I was still careful to stay with the pace until the end. I knew I had a huge lead, but I didn’t want to underestimate anything. We know very well that there have been cases when endurance athletes collapsed even before the finish line. The dense network of people practically all the way to Lokomotíva stadium helped me a lot mentally. It’s an incredible boost for a marathoner.“
WALKING AFTER RUNNING THROUGH THE GATE OF CHAMPIONS
And the emotional icing on the cake was just around the corner – running into the finish gate of the champions at the Lokomotíva stadium in Čermel, where the finish was then. What more could a marathoner wish for, than when he runs into a sprayed stadium alone on familiar ground. Perhaps 30,000 people gave him a fantastic welcome. The palms and vocal cords were in permanence and the last meters to the finish line were suddenly approaching so quickly. I guess he would do one more circuit so he could enjoy and enjoy the atmosphere longer. After all, so many weeks and months of toil are unfairly disproportionate to a few tens of seconds of glory. That’s also why František Višnický added a lap of honor to enjoy the ovation already with the feeling of a winner. „These are unforgettable moments for every athlete. I ran the last meters in great euphoria. There is always a different atmosphere at the stadium than at a race on the road.“The euphoria he was experiencing is best evidenced by the fact that as soon as he received a gold wreath around his neck from a girl in a traditional dress, he grabbed her hand and together they ran to the finish line. No one before him or after him has repeated something like that in Košice. „I don’t know what I thought at the time. Maybe the knowledge that I have a huge lead. But I certainly didn’t plan for it. It was a moment.“The great triumph was seen by several acquaintances, friends and natives of Poľov village, who chased him by the track or waited for him to finish at the Lokomotiva. However, the parents did not watch their son’s progress with their own eyes. „They were older, they didn’t even go to the races. It seems to me that they didn’t even see it live on TV, only from the recording. I have the impression that at that time there was a live broadcast from Veľká Pardubická steeplechase. But the parents were happy, that’s understandable.“
BOYCOTT DESTROYED THE DREAM
Don’t the memories haunt you when you think back to that electrifying atmosphere with your victory from time to time? Don’t you get chills? „Not. My goal was to run the Olympic marathon. And I didn’t succeed,“ 65-year-old František Višnický does not hide his disillusionment even after years. No wonder he is a little bitter about athletics. For a simple reason, his big dream, for which he sacrificed his entire career – starting at the Olympics – did not come true.In April 1984, he ran a personal record of 2:14:14 in Maasluis, the Netherlands. But the leaders indicated to him that it probably won’t be enough. Four weeks later, he therefore ran another marathon in Amsterdam. According to him, it was stupidity. He ran out of average time and ended up not traveling to Los Angeles anyway. However, even the strong Helsinki generation and the biggest aces of Czechoslovak athletics did not travel to this Olympics, due to the well-known boycott. Because of politicians, they wasted their best period when they were at the top of their powers. Just for the sake of interest, the Portuguese Carlos Lopes (2:09:21) won in Los Angeles. Višnický’s personal best would be enough for 14th place. „It’s hard to compare like that. Los Angeles has a completely different climate. In addition, it was run in the summer, in August, which is not very favorable for marathon runners.“ He was thus able to feed the dream for another four years. However, he did not travel to Seoul neither. He was injured, so the idea of a start under five rings definitely disappeared.
THE SECOND TIME HE WON WHEN HE LOST THE SHADOWS
While in 1983, František Višnický won in a national team jersey and with a big lead of 2:27 min. before the pair of Soviets, three years later he was wearing the jersey of VSŽ Košice club and at the finish line only 15 seconds ahead of the duo Konzack-Eberding. „You could say that I was at my peak between 1980 and 1986. I value both victories in Košice equally. However, the second one was more difficult because I was injured.“ The conditions were completely different from his first victory. A strong north wind was blowing. „There were two Germans and two North Koreans in the group. I didn’t know if they would act like they used to in the past. However, I noticed that they started lagging behind. I ran only with Germans. I tried smaller escapes, watching their shadows along the way. If they caught the boarding, I slowed down. Then it happened again, but when I felt that the shadows were not getting closer on the next start, I switched to higher pace. That was already happening on Komenského Street, right in front of Lokomotiva.“ There was great glory at the stadium again. Višnický became the first Slovak athlete to win here twice. And he has remained so until now. Are you aware of this primacy of yours over time? „Not really. I don’t take it that seriously. I was simply lucky, maybe it was a bit of a coincidence. Of course, I feel good about it. After all, that’s why I devoted myself to the top of the marathon, at the national level. That was also my goal. The biggest was the start at the Olympics, but unfortunately, I didn’t make it.“ František Višnický started in Košice a total of four times. In addition to the mentioned two victories (1983 – 2:16:52, 1986 – 2:18:43), it is worth noting that in 1980, during his debut in Košice, he ran a time one minute faster than during his first victory (2:15: 58), but in a strong race it was only enough for 7th place! He lost only 33 seconds to the victorious Soviet Ljagushev. Let’s add that in 1984 he was fourth in 2:19:35. With the current marathon trend, Višnický’s two triumphs are practically unrepeatable. With the constellation of African endurance runners, we cannot imagine that any Slovak will ever win here twice again. „It may seem unimaginable now, but anything can happen. However, it is true that young people are attracted to sports other than athletics. On the other hand, it must be admitted that the running boom has also arrived in Slovakia. More and more people are moving, but it is still only recreational running, not professional one.‘František Višnický does not want to speculate on what his personal best would be if the current fast urban circuit course was used in his time. However, he would certainly be more generously rewarded for victories. „It’s already a commercial race. Like everywhere in the world. I received a medal, flowers and a crystal vase. At that time, Czechoslovakia was known for its crystal, so companies and government officials donated crystal at various events. I don’t remember exactly, but I think I still got a painted picture. As for the financial reward, I received 500 crowns in the factory as the best worker for the victory,“ grinned František Višnický. He donated the two vases he had for two victories in Košice to the East Slovak Museum in Košice.
ELEVEN GOLD MEDALS
The history of the Košice Peace Marathon is closely connected with the ideas of Olympism. As is well known, the first impulse leading to its creation was born at the Olympics in 1924 in Paris. Several marathon Olympic champions have visited Košice in the past. To this day, perhaps the start of the legendary Abebe Bikila in 1960 resonates the most. And the golden Olympians will not be missing in Košice even during the centenary celebrations. A unique relay consisting of the holders of a total of 10 Olympic gold medals will be presented on the track. The eleventh is brought by Matej Tóth, who decided to overcome the entire marathon distance for the first time. So let’s take a closer look at the line-up of these excellent athletes, who are also coming at the invitation and with the help of the Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee.
Polish Robert Korzeniowski is rightly considered the best walker in athletics history. This is especially evidenced by the winning of four Olympic gold medals. In Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, he won the 50 km race, and in Australia in 2000 he also won the championship on the 20 km course. In total, he enjoyed the title of world champion three times and won two first places at the European Athletics Championships.
Anastasia Kuzmina is one of the most successful female athletes in Slovak history. At the Winter Olympics, she successively won three gold medals in Vancouver, Sochi and Pyongyang, two in speed races and one in mass start races. She also won three more valuable metals at the Games under the five rings and in 2019 she won gold at the 7.5 km sprint world championships in Östersund. She has two children, son Jelisej and daughter Olívia, and lives with his whole family in Banská Bystrica.
Gabriella Szabóová is a Hungarian speed canoeist who has been competing in this sport since 2000. In addition to many medal successes from world championships, she is also the holder of three Olympic gold medals. She won her first in London in 2012 in the K4 discipline at 500 m. At the same distance, she won two gold medals at the Games in Rio, in the K2 and K4 disciplines.
The line-up is completed by an athlete who was enchanted by endurance running in a different form, that on skis. Martin Koukal, an outstanding Czech athlete, won a gold medal in the 50 km race at the World Championships in Val di Fiemme in 2003. And in 2010, he was a member of the relay team that won a bronze medal in the 4 x 10 km race at the Olympic Games in Vancouver. In his rich career, he competed in a total of 5 Olympic Games and 5 world championships in cross-country skiing.
Ak hovoríme o 11 zlatých olympjskych medailách, nemôžme obísť ani tú poslednú. Tento príbeh je však v niečom iný. Jej držiteľ sa nebude môcť spoľahnúť na pomoc priateľov štafetovej zostavy. Na trať dlhú 42 km a 195 m bude sám. Reč je samozrejme o Matejovi Tóthovi, ktorý už pred časom ohlásil, že prvý október 2023 bude dňom jeho maratónske premiéry. Zlatý olympionik z Ria 2016 i majster sveta z Pekingu 2015, v oboch prípadoch v chôdzi na 50 km, tak má po prestupe medzi hobby športovcov pred sebou nové výzvy.
MARATHON IN YOUR POCKET
We often forget and lose many things in life. Of the things within our daily reach, we probably pay the most attention to the mobile phone. Its ever-growing functionality opens up almost endless new possibilities. Mobile applications might be the most popular of them. And mobile app called Košice Peace Marathon has been here with us for several years. It is also being developed and improved, and its use for the peak of the 2023 season is fully prepared. If you don’t have it installed from years past, you can download it for free via Google Play or the App Store and thus have the marathon action within your reach at any time, whether you have an Android or iOS operating system on your phone.The application comes from the world leader in the field of chip timing and sharing of sports results, the Dutch company MYLAPS, and offers, in addition to a lot of basic and important information, so-called „live tracking“ which stands for online tracking of any competitors on the course and their actual ranking. If the app is used by the runners themselves, not only their fans, they can look forward to a detailed analysis of their performance after the race.
NN MUSIC MARATHON
NN MUSIC MARATHON – ENERGY THAT DRIVES YOU FORWARD
The positive influence of music during physical performance is indisputable. Music can motivate, lift the mood, extract energy even from a tired person, distract us, let us forget about fatigue or synchronize the tempo. It’s no wonder that sports events are connected with music all over the world.
The music on the course and at the start of Košice marathon has been here since the very beginning. Let’s mention the Košice marathon jingle by the composer Štefan Ladižínský, which opens each edition to this day, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which is played immediately after start every year, or the famous cimbalom band, which in the past in times of perseverance poured energy into the second half of the race.
And the organizers have already stopped counting the years of the Music Marathon, one of the most popular accompanying programs of Košice marathon. The unrepeatable atmosphere is not only about the crowds of loyal Košice residents, who cannot imagine the first Sunday in October without cheering on their favorite part of the course. It is also about the musicians, DJs, singers, up-and-coming bands who, together with the applause of the spectators, drive the persistent ones in a good mood to the desired finish line.
This year too, the Musical Marathon will be presented under the wingsof the NN Slovensko company, and believe, there will be something to look forward to again. The DJ Camp association will also help with the organization, artistic dramaturgy and realization of this popular program, for which the marathon in Košice and the production of music on its course are one of its passions. We remind you that a lot of great music will also be heard on the eve of the start at the opening ceremony, which cannot be held anywhere else but on the Peace Marathon Square.
Jubilee celebration in the circle of prominent congratulators
If we were to recommend something to the runners and visitors of Košice that they should not miss during the marathon weekend, we would certainly be able to compile a long and tempting list.
While we all enjoy the race itself, we should not miss the moments that will precede the long-awaited starting shot, the moments of the opening ceremonial of the jubilee edition of the marathon. The opening ceremony in a new, and indeed interesting dress, will take place just a few hours before the start, on Saturday, September 30, from 5:30 p.m. And that in a characteristic place, on the Square of the Košice Peace Marathon.
The music blocks, which will feature several bands, solo instrumentalists, singers and DJs in interesting arrangements and fusions, will be complemented by two ceremonial acts. The first will be the unveiling of a bronze replica of the World Athletics Heritage plaque, awarded to the Košice Peace Marathon by Sebastian Coe in 2020, which will now adorn one of the pylons under the Marathon Runner Statue. The second, already traditional act will be the ignition of the marathon fire itself, but this time in a new special way about which we cannot reveal more at this time.
And here you will be able to meet rare congratulators who come to Košice literally from all over the world. Among them will be representatives of the world federation World Athletics, the world marathon association AIMS, representatives of other major world marathons or several sports legends and Olympic champions.
Therefore, enjoy Saturday evening in Košice in a way that will not be repeated for the next hundred years. Come and have fun and pay tribute to the legacy of the oldest marathon in Europe.
MY FIRST MARATHON
Under this name is hidden the program that attracted hundreds of runners to the start, eager to make their marathon debut in Košice. Let’s look at the stories, motivations and preparation of a few of them.
A hundred for fifty
In our stories about the first marathons, we have often mentioned the motivation and influence of the wives and girlfriends of many runners. This is also the case with Ľuboš Hull. A member of the police force from Bratislava followed his wife’s well-intentioned advice and gradually began to join her running training. And when he wanted to relax, even his doctor couldn’t resist, so it was decided. Today, Luboš carefully plans his running seasons, sets goals for himself, and the bravest so far talks about conquering the Košice marathon. In his case, there is one more motivation. He is giving the 100th marathon in Košice to himself as a gift for turning fifty. He will certainly celebrate it in front of packed streets.
From Spain to Košice
Stano Urban, living alternately in Slovakia and Spain, one day discovered to his horror that he could not even run through a crossroad. He decided to act, to start running. At first, doctors forbade him to run because of his discs, then cardiologists recommended him because of increasing blood pressure. It helped. The spine stopped getting angry and the pressure gauge stopped jumping. He says with some exaggeration that if he is to stay healthy, he must already run to death. And today, at the age of 52, he is planning his first marathon. The Košice jubilee becomes an attraction, as for many others. That also decided that it was time to decide on the next step in life.
From the couch to the marathon
Stanislav Žakarovský from Moldava nad Bodvou makes a living in Bratislava as an orthopedic technician and until recently was far from doing any sports. After all, the restart was the recent pandemic, restrictions and efforts to deal with obesity. He trains alone, sometimes with his dog, gets advice from a „smart“ app, and his dream is to complete the half Ironman competition in addition to the jubilee marathon. He himself says that he is changing from a „couch man“ to an athlete. Although he hasn’t managed many longer runs so far, his belief in his own strength, often supported by two-phase training, confirms him in the correctness of his efforts. Well, he doesn’t set goals in the form of a dream time. According to him, that will come later.
Not just the first marathon, but the very first race in Slovakia. This is the goal of 36-year-old Roman Dorič, whose fate took him from Trebišov to Barcelona, where he works in the IT industry. So far, he has gained experience at half marathons in Prague, Budapest, Barcelona and Madeira, and he says that it will be an honor for him to complete his first marathon in the places where he grew up. With this intention, he did not hide even in his surroundings and „roped“ several of his friends to the start and the journey to Košice. He revealed to us that out of the three usual training sessions in each week, two are running and one is in the gym. And also that he is a fan of coffee and MMA fights. In October, he will definitely become a fan of MMM, too.
An experienced half-marathoner and his "double"
Milan Barányi from Topoľčany is not a running beginner. He ran his first half-marathon, which is also his most frequent competitive distance, in Košice in 2010. He added those in Bratislava, Vienna, Rajec and several in the Czech Republic. Together with his wife, they founded the TBK TORA Topoľčany club, they organize a local running league here, and as a certified athletics coaches, they are happy to give advice to everyone. Of course, he knew about the My first marathon program much earlier, but he postponed the decision and the premiere just for the anniversary. He will stand for the long-awaited start at the age of 61 to confirm the already known truth. That endurance sports are suitable for almost everyone.
An unmissable height
Lukáš Badinka from Nitra admits that the dream of a marathon in Košice has haunted him since 2017. It shines before him like a beacon. Although he often has to divide his time between family, work as a real estate agent and many other responsibilities, running cannot be missed. And this despite the fact that at first he recognized it and gave priority to many other sports. He made his debut at the Majcichovská decathlon, tried the Devín-Bratislava jubilee run and managed last year’s half-marathon in Košice after the flu. If you are looking for Lukáš in the crowd of runners on October 1, you might be able to do it thanks to his 193 cm tall figure.
Where else, if not in Košice?
Ivana Sústriková is a globetrotter. It swept her from Gemerská Poloma in the Rožňava district to Prague, Rotterdam, Larnaca and other corners of the world. Her boyfriend introduced her to running, and despite her many work responsibilities as a financial manager, she still runs today. She finds time for it especially in the morning, and when the going gets tough, when the race is coming up, she can push herself a little more in training. She is still an Easterner at heart, she likes to return home, which is also why her baptism of running fire was connected in 2017 to Košice, where she ran her first half-marathon. She then tried this distance in other places of the world and now she will rush home for another premiere experience. She doesn’t hide that it couldn’t have been anywhere else, because as she says herself, the marathon in Košice is a matter of her heart.
Motherhood and marathon? Both can be done!
Lucia Muller herself says that her current occupation is being a proud mother. Hanka and Martinko are still small, but Lucia shows that if everything is in harmony in the family, mom can also workout. Eight months after the birth of her son, she completed the Košice half-marathon course last year, and now, even as a member of the Tlmače athletics club, she is preparing for her first marathon. It is said that her husband, who comes from Poproč near Košice, talked her into it, so she has even one more reason. Let’s wish her, as well as all the „first-timers“, many returns and successful reruns.
From a Spartan woman to a marathoner
Maťa Susuková, like many of her IT colleagues, found in running a way to relax and recharge her batteries in addition to her sedentary job. She is from Bratislava and here, in addition to training, she participates in races and competitions. The „tens“ prevail, but she also knows Spartan Race or its equivalent Excalibur firsthand. She complements the varied training with swimming, cycling and Latin dance. She already has Košice mapped out, last year she tried a half-marathon here, and when she saw the My first marathon box in the application form this year, she didn’t think much and quickly crossed it off.
Martina's ten years
For Martina Novaková from Stropkov, the Košice anniversaries seem to be break points. When the 90th year was running, she managed the first half marathon and now, at the hundred, she is preparing for the first double portion. In her case, it is also a matter of family motivation, she gets advice from her husband, who has already gained a few marathon experiences during his own starts. And they look together for others, often even across borders, on the half-marathon tracks in Vienna, Belgrade, Istria or Edinburgh. When Martina is not running, or is not dealing with her duties at the bank where she works, she likes to put her hand to work, as she did when organizing the home Stropkovska 20k race.
The young gun Miska
In the My First Marathon program, we also find 20-year-old Michaela Buzogaňová from Lemešany, today a student at the Faculty of Sports at the University of Prešov. She has been running for 3 years and already her study focus says that sport is a permanent part of her life. Miška’s biggest dream is to run a marathon, and as she says, when, if not now. She has experience with races, especially at home in the east of Slovakia, she started getting to know the Košice Marathon itself in 2022, so far from the point of view of a runner for whom one circuit was enough at first. In order to be able to handle the other one, she honestly prescribes tempo runs, intervals, uphill runs, long recovery runs and a bicycle. As she herself says, she still has a long way to go, but she knows it will be worth it.
To help others
From marathon courses all over the world, we know very well committed professionals whose task is not to win the race, but to pull the favorites to the expected, often even record performance.
In Košice, as in many marathons around the world, hobby runners, many of whom have their own personal goals, but many also have concerns about how to cope with the demanding course, have been finding such help for years. More experienced colleagues come to their aid, who once again exchanged their own ambitions for the opportunity to become motivators and help others achieve their goals together.
Together with the organizers of the marathon, the people from the bart.sk company took on the entire demanding agenda. Experienced IT professionals, but also runners and fans of endurance running, with the same philosophy of achieving challenging goals.
The field of these running motivators is even wider this year than last year. You can find their more comprehensive profiles on the website …., so let’s take a closer look at at least one of the many names today. Well, Ivana Butoracová doesn’t even need to be introduced to many. One of the stalwarts of the running scene in our country, she has completed more than 50 marathons and has experience in many times longer ultra runs. It is far from the first time that she appears among Košice marathon pacemakers, and this year she was among those who patiently put together the current line-up. It is worth adding to her name that she manages to combine her running enthusiasm and long training sessions with her work as a university professor at the University of Prešov, and she is also unmissable in her tireless work at the Vyšná Šebastová Running Club.
So who will undertake to set their „cruise control“ in favor of others this year? In both the main and most crowded disciplines, the following runners will be:
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