The ongoing ramifications of the coronavirus has forced the cancellation of the 2020 Prague Half Marathon and Marathon this autumn but mass participation road races are beginning to return to the Czech calendar albeit on a small scale for the time being.
Just under 2700 runners this weekend streamed through check-in at the Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague before boarding at Gate D6 in order to take part in the 5km Runway Run which was organised by RunCzech.
To adhere to current health and safety regulations, the runners were split into different events which included the Sunset Run on Saturday (18) evening and the Breakfast Run on Sunday (19) morning. Others chose to run collectively in the 3km Family Run. For the vast majority of participants - if not all of them - this was their first race proper since the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the majority of the spring road racing season.
“As the world awakens from bearing scars of the pandemic, this event shows us that runners are eager to come back to their passion which is manifesting signals of reopening. Our humble attempt is to demonstrate the country is safe and competent and that the Czech Republic is running,” said Carlo Capalbo, the founder of RunCzech.
He added: “This is a true physical verification of showing what a place can do and how it works. We simply hope to contribute to the Czech Republic’s post-pandemic recovery strategy.”
There was also an elite element to the Runway Run as RunCzech and the Czech Athletic Federation teamed up to organise an Elite Run which was broadcast live on Czech television. Four Czech elite men and women created mixed gender relays in an exhibition race of 500-1000-500-1000 metres on the runway.
RunCzech has been equally creative with the choice of venue for the next fixture on the calendar. They will be arranging a mass participation event in the famous Pilsen brewery on 1 August.