2 Oct

Czechin Out Prague

Prague Marathon

Flights Booked? Check. Bags Packed? Check. Destination? Czech.

One of Europe's most beautiful cities, Prague, is also a great place to go for a run as scottishrunningguide.com found out...

After winning his marathon debut in Helsinki in 1952, Czech athlete Emil Zátopek said: 'If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.' 43 years later, his home city hosted the inaugural Prague marathon.

As races go, you will struggle to find a more diverse event. Billed as the most international marathon in the world, 92 nationalities competed at this year's race - making up two thirds of participants. As well as having a cosmopolitan field of entrants, the IAAF gold event boasts one of the fastest courses - 7th fastest in Europe in fact - and frequently finds itself in the top 10 'most beautiful marathon' lists. One look at the historic city centre with its mix of gothic, renaissance, baroque and art nouveau architecture, and it's not hard to see the attraction for international participants. For runners interested in learning about the the Czech capital's history, Prague on the Run offers running tours of the city.

Jenny Lees with Client

Founder, Jenny Lees, spoke to scottishrunningguide.com about the tours: "As a marathon runner and triathlete I know how important it is to continue training and maintain an overall fitness routine when travelling, so I designed Prague on the Run to give runners the chance see the whole city while at the same time get a good hour or 90-minute workout. I created a route that would enable runners to take in all the highlights of Prague and see sweeping views of the city."

As well as her running tours, Jenny regularly competes in races throughout Europe, and considers Prague marathon as good as any. She said: "Prague marathon is a fantastic and very well organised event. I've done a few marathons in Germany and Italy and feel that the Prague event is really one of the best organised races I've ever done."

The race is on 11 May next year and starts at Paížska Street in the Old Town Square. After a leisurely start, enforced by narrow streets, runners cross the Charles Bridge. The course snakes through the Old Town, skirting into some of the more modern areas of Prague, and crossing the Vlatava River on several occasions. From its inception in 1995 with just 1,500 entrants, the race has grown to 9,000 runners and due to its success, organisers have now added two other running events in the city.

Prague half marathon takes place on 5 April 2014 and is a looped course starting and finishing in Jan Palach Square near the Rudolfinum Concert Hall. It follows the Vlatava River and takes in Prague Castle and National Theatre, Vysherad. Like the full marathon it is flat and fast. So fast, that many felt last year's winner Atsedu Tsegay, who completed the course in 58:47, would have set a new world record if he'd been running in less windy conditions.

In September, the city hosts Prague Mattoni Grand Prix which consists of a men's 10k, women's 5k, and several other events including a race between foreign embassy employees and an event where bartenders run holding a tray of drinks.

When organisers set out to introduce running events to the city they dreamed of creating races that would rival those of New York, Berlin and Boston. With Prague now firmly established as one of the fastest and most scenic events in the running calendar and the half marathon proving even more popular, it seems they're on their way to achieving this.

For more information on Prague marathon, visit the event website. To find out more about Prague on the Run, visit Jenny's website or email her directly.