Pardubický vinařský půlmaratón.

The Pardubický vinařský půlmaratón or Pardubice Wine Half Marathon is an annual athletics event that takes place in Pardubice each year. It actually caught us by surprise when Sinead looked out the window and exclaimed “Oh, the road’s all sealed off, something must have happened”. I jumped up and  immediately grabbed my camera expecting to see a crime scene. But the reality was much better. A cyclist rode past, and then another, and another. It was then we realised it was an organised event, and Sinead remembered reading about it earlier in the week. We quickly formulated a plan to check it out and find out where the epicentre of the action was. I took a few photos of the cyclists and hand bikers going past outside our apartment before heading back up to do some chores.

By the time we were ready to go the wheeled element of the marathon had finished and the main event had begun. Hundreds of runners were taking part with all ages and abilities running side by side. I even saw one lady running with her pram, exercise and fresh air for the baby in one, clever girl.

We strolled down towards the town centre, past the rest station, where runners were handed sponges soaked with water to cool themselves off. It wasn’t a scorcher of a day but it was pretty warm all the same. When we reached Pernstejn Square, the heart of the event many people had finished and were walking home with their medals around their necks. Some were doing warm down exercises and rehydrating with water and energy drinks, others were enjoying a nice cold beer.

We strolled onwards into the square where there was a really nice village fair atmosphere. A multitude of tents had been put up selling everything from sports equipment to traditional cuisine. We partook in a local delight, Trdelnik which starts out as a croissant like dough which is then rolled out into a long tube before being spun around a large cylinder until it forms a hollow tube of dough. This is then dipped into and rolled through a mixture of sugar, nuts, toffee, cinnamon and vanilla. The coated tube is then placed onto a spinning rack in an oven and cooked until golden brown, texture like sun. Sounds delicious right? It’s not, it’s disgusting!! NOT!!! Only kidding it’s freaking delicious!

Of course we couldn’t investigate a half marathon with the word wine in it without discovering why. Sure enough we found the wine stand and tried a lovely refreshing rose. We strolled around a few of the tents for a little while longer and then took off for an exploration beyond the square. More on that to come…

I’ve always admired marathon runners, it’s one of the hardest things you can do to yourself and there’s people out there who do it year in and year out, sometimes running several marathons in one year. It takes a great degree of dedication to commit to running a half marathon, never mind a full one. Many of those who take part, do so for charity, to raise funds for a worthy cause or to raise awareness of a family member’s illness. Just one week previously in Boston, two bombs had caused devastation at the finish line of a marathon there. Attacking people taking part in such a heroic activity was such an act of cowardice. Congratulations to all the runners and cyclists on completing the half marathon.

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