As some of the readers know, I am Croatian, so I’ll promote some of our races with the intention to get some of you interested. One of these took place today – the Zagreb marathon. This year marks the 21st marathon, and it is still a growing event—but, with a much smaller field than most other city marathons in Europe.
Last year, 268 runners completed the marathon (including the city mayor), while 666 finished the half marathon. I went running on the half marathon last year. Public interest in the event was relatively low, and it was not uncommon that residents loudly complain about the city center being (more or less) closed to traffic.
The start/finish area are placed on Zagreb’s spacious main square (Ban Jelačić Square), and there is plenty of room for marathoners, half marathoners, as well as for citizens running the 5K citizens race. The route is an out-and-back mildly undulating course, starting eastwards to the suburb of Dubec, and then back to the city centre. The next leg looks westwards along Ilica (Zagreb’s main shopping street) and back again to Jelačić Square. Participants in the full marathon run two laps.
I finished the half last year with a time slightly under 2 hours (1:59:52), which was my goal at the time – I was a novice runner. This year I’ve decided to take on the 5K citizens race with my wife for a number of reasons (haven’t really trained for long distances yet, an upcoming trip etc.). Unfortunately, as is often the case, the start was very crowded (around a 1000 participants) and you had to fight your way through slowly moving bodies. I’d say this cost me about 1-2 minutes tops. The weather was nice, 18 degrees Celsius, lightly cloudy. I hadn’t set out to break my PR, but I had a decent run. Time at the finish – 23:30.
Here is some info for those of you who might be interested:
Venue: Zagreb (Ljubljana 139km, Graz 183km, Trieste 228km, Budapest 346km)
Date: early October (Sunday)
Distance: 42.2km; 21.1km; 5km
Start time: 10.00
Start and finish: Trg bana Jelačića (Ban Jelačić Square)
Route: course map
Entry fees (21km, 42km): 150 HRK (ca. 20 EUR)
Event website (in English and Croatian): Zagreb Marathon
Tourist information (in English and Croatian): Zagreb Tourist Board