Distance Running 2021 Edition 1

Page 36

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Europe’s oldest Marathon celebrates its very first edition A marathon dream transformed into reality By Buhuslav Matia The only witnesses to the occasion were Turna Castle, gnawed away by time, and one lone tree standing below it. Five hundred metres beyond Turňa village, beneath this tree and beside the high road, the photographer focused on eight runners and a handful of other figures. They had all become obsessed with the idea of transforming a marathon dream into reality. A trio of East Slovakian sports officials had returned from Paris to Košice with this dream in 1924. For it was on one hot summer’s day in the Colombes Stadium at the eighth Olympic Games that they became gripped by this most noble of all athletic disciplines.


Distance Running | 2021 Edition 1

Those men, who remain to this day captured on that wonderful old yellowed photograph in their vests and shorts had a true baptism of fire awaiting them – even though it was 28 October and late in the year. It was a trial of as yet untested strengths and abilities. Ahead of them stretched more than 42 kilometres of road through the countryside all the way back to Košice. Halla, Tronka, Badonič and Kulcsár from the local Košice Athletics Club, Schuller from Slávia and the valiant soldiers Lenart, Zajič and Schmidt. There were no famous Olympic runners there that day, for it was only later on that they became charmed by the atmosphere of the Košice Marathon. In the propositions issued for this race by the Czechoslovak Amateur Athletic Union and

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