A New Country and…A Marathon

I’ve hemmed and hawed about whether or not to actually make a formal announcement about this on the blog, but the excitement is overtaking me. I can’t help it. I have to tell you. You guys? I’m going to the 2017 Volkswagen Prague Marathon, which is hosted by RunCzech, in Prague, Czech Republic.

I should rename this blog and call it “Danielle’s Geography Lessons”

Oh, and there’s this whole minor detail that I’m…well…running the marathon (hopefully). Yes, I, Danielle, am planning to run the 2017 Prague Marathon. I’ll let you absorb that while I talk about how we got to this point.

What is RunCzech?

A few months ago, the lovely people at RunCzech reached out to me about covering the 2017 Prague Marathon as part of their press team on the recommendation of my good friend, Anders. I was very excited about the opportunity but never considered the idea of running the marathon, as there is no half marathon option. I figured that I would just go and cover the event from a journalist’s perspective, which would also be interesting, since I’ve never covered a race that I wasn’t running! RunCzech puts on all of the big-name events in the Czech Republic, including the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon, Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, and more. It’s a huge organization and one that supports hundreds of thousands of runners each year!

Just a few thousand runners casually making their way through the streets of Prague (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)

Why Prague?

The Prague Marathon is one of the premier marathon events in the world, hosting over 16,000 runners through one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It’s also the fastest May marathon in the world, with an event record of 2:05! The elites come out in full force to run Prague, and with good reason. In addition to the beautiful, fast course, there’s also incredible elite support from the RunCzech organization, which works with many of the athletes throughout the year. The event sells out quickly every year and includes a 2-person marathon relay as well. Plus, it’s truly an international experience – runners from 116 different countries came to RunCzech events in 2016!

You can see why the race sells out quickly – look at those buildings!

What about my marathon retirement?

So, here’s the thing. As you may have gathered from my post about the Route 66 Half Marathon this year, I really miss marathons. I had been thinking about trying to train for another one but wasn’t sure if I had the time, energy, or ability. The thought grew more and more and when I was officially offered the opportunity last month, I took it as a sign that this was the time to try. To be clear, the reasons why I stopped running marathons still stand, and I’m not 100% sure I will be able to make it through training in one piece without causing more pain with my back. I’m fully prepared for the fact that it might not actually happen. I may get halfway through training and realize it is too much for my body – and that’s ok. However, there are a few things that make me think it is possible:

  1. I’m no longer teaching at the barre studio on a regular basis, which frees up my time and means my body gets more of a break.
  2. My back has been feeling pretty good lately.
  3. I’m working on creating more balance in my life, including diversifying the type of workouts I do.
  4. I’m genuinely excited about it.
  5. I’m working with a coach who is creating a plan just for me that will help me prepare while still protecting my back.

I’m so excited @thetrexrunner is running the Prague #Marathon – her first in 1.5 years! Check out the details!… Click To Tweet

This might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever decided to do (doubtful – please see the years 2011-2014 on this blog for further proof), but for some reason, it feels right to try. So, I’m going to try! I’ll be recapping my training here each week with the full rundown of all of my workouts and how things are going – I know you’ll be waiting on the edges of your proverbial seats.

I just couldn’t pass this up (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)

Does this mean I’m running marathons again?

At this point, I’m saying no, but we’ll see how this one goes. This is the only marathon I have on my calendar, because I took this one as a sign – I mean, it’s Prague! Never say never, but right now, I don’t foresee suddenly switching back to marathons for the majority of my races.

Want to join me?

If you just have to witness this potentially embarrassing marathon spectacle for yourself but haven’t registered for the marathon yet, don’t despair! There are still charity spots available for both the Prague Half Marathon (held in April) and the Prague Marathon itself. If you can’t make it to either of those events but are intrigued by the idea of racing in the beautiful Czech Republic (and who wouldn’t be?), there are also smaller races held in nearby towns that offer the same support and organization as the bigger events, as they are all put on by RunCzech.

  • The Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, held on June 24, 2017, runs through the Czech Republic’s historic capital, Moravia and Czech wine country! This race is easily reachable by train from Prague and featured about 10,000 runners in 2016. The race starts at the main square near by the Holy Trinity Column, which has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000. The city is full of stunning cathedrals, monuments and town squares. Running AND wine? Count me in! (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)
  • The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, held on May 20, 2017, is the most international event in RunCzech’s portfolio besides Prague! My friend Anders says this is one of his favorite events of any around the world – and he’s run hundreds of marathons! This race can be easily reached by bus from Prague and is much smaller – about 6,000 runners in 2016. The city, which is also known as Carlsbad, is famous with its spas and movies festivals. It is located in West Bohemia region. Many famous movies were filmed in the Karlovy Vary, among them Casino Royale, The Grand Hotel Budapest. I think I can see why this is one of Anders’ favorite races! (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)The Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon 2017, held on June 3, 2017, takes you through medieval villages and towns in one of the most beautiful parts of the Czech Republic. The city is also called Budweis and is located in South Bohemia. It is a brewing cradle and ancient city with many narrow beautiful streets and 13th century Old Town Square. Is it me or is every race in the Czech Republic absolutely stunning? (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)As you can see, if you’re interested in running in the Czech Republic – as you should be – there are a ton of options! I think I want to do all of them!

What’s Next?

Marathon training is officially underway! I’m committed to maintaining balance in my workouts and my life, so I’ll still be doing some barre, cycling, and strength stuff. When I’m traveling, I’ll work running in if I can and if I can’t – hiking and barrre it is! I’m realistic about what my goals are here – and the goal is to make it through the marathon in one happy, smiling, hopefully unmedicated piece. Only time will tell what will happen! Either way, I’ll be giving you a first hand look at my training right here on the blog each week – don’t miss out!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Do you think this is a good idea or a terrible idea? Have you ever been to Prague or dreamed of visiting? Which of the RunCzech races sounds the most exciting to you?