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history


isn’t a race at all, but a plot!’ It did instantly bring an air of sci-fi to the whole proceedings as a helicopter circled above us and we were penned in behind our iron railings. “The gun fired and we were released. I was a bit


disorientated as even up in the ‘A’ section the road was packed; a man running beside me had bare feet and I felt a bit as if I was hallucinating as when I looked again, it seemed everyone around me was barefooted – too much sun already! “The race looped around and about and we came back on ourselves a few times. I wasn’t exactly sure where we were, but I occasionally got the feeling of déjà vu!


A run through time


“The route took in the famous Charles Bridge, one of the main symbols of Prague, which dates back from the 14th century. This year we didn’t actually run over it, as it is under repair, but we ran nearby. The sun was shining brightly and it couldn’t have lent a better light to the history and magic as we raced by through historical streets, dodging the tramlines and tip-toeing over the cobbles. The first loop was rich with architecture and history. A building we saw often during the route was the Vysehrad, a centre of ancient legends and myths.


We raced through historical


streets, dodging the tramlines and tip-toeing over the cobbles


“I reached 10k in 42:08, having really enjoyed that section of


the race. Although it had felt quite hard work, I had enjoyed the terrain and the history all around me and I felt like I was having a good run. We passed by Prague Castle and at that point I felt strong and hopeful of a new PB (new PBs all re-started once I crossed the 50-year age line, so my new half marathon in my second half-century is 89:06!).


Digging deep


“We headed out along the river and I could feel I was starting to struggle to hold the pace. We went over quite a few cobbled


areas and my feet were feeling sore. The joy of running then has to come from somewhere deeper, as it doesn’t feel very joyful losing energy with sore feet and especially not so great when the 1:30 pace guys sprung alongside me looking as if they were out for an easy run. “This was at nine miles and I hung on for as long as I could,


but they started to run away from me at 11. I rounded the corner to the finish and was delighted to see the clock still reading 1:30 and some seconds. In the end my chip time was 1:30:46 (first over 50 and 13th woman overall) and I felt relief at not having gone over 1:30. “It always interests me the targets we set and how they


stretch us to dig deeper, to see what is possible and to come face to face with ourselves again and again!


A banana, a beer and bed!


“After the race, one of the race officials, David, grabbed me for an interview – he had seen the Union Jack on my number and as a Brit himself with a wife who lives in Prague he wanted to chat about my run, what I thought of Prague and he also asked me about my history as a runner. “Having no sense of direction, I was found by Alan, another Running Crazy group member, wandering aimlessly around, hoping I would find my way. He led me to the tree where we were all gathering and where we had left our kit and I spent an hour or so sitting in the sun chatting to other runners and feeling totally relaxed, another race run and new friends... a banana in my bag and a muesli slice and a bottle of water meaning all my needs were catered for! “Later that evening we went out for a lovely meal and then onto the Hard Rock Café for free beers, always attractive to runners post-race, and lots of chat about our experiences. As someone who’s not a big drinker, it was last orders for me, as the other runners headed off for a late night of clubbing… another race done, another story to tell.”


ABOUT THE RACE ■ The race is officially called the Hervis Prague Half


Marathon and you can find out more/entry details at www.praguemarathon.com. ■ It was held on Saturday April 2nd 2011 and 9,000 ran the race. ■ J- Kimeli Philmon Limo won the race, breaking 60 minutes, running 59:30. ■ First woman was Lydia Cheromei in 67:33. ■ One of the declared aims of the race is to “promote health and solidarity”. Doctors from the local hospital ran to lead by example, and like many big races, money was raised to support local charities, including children’s homes.


RUNNING FREE ■ 35


RACES


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