Volkswagen Prague Marathon Highlights

On Sunday 6th May, the Czech Republic’s most famous running race gets underway for the twenty-fourth time. Over the years the Volkswagen Prague Marathon has become an integral part of the world running scene. An exceptionally beautiful course, elite athletes from all over the world, thousands of enthusiastic runners and an experience to last a lifetime – the Prague marathon offers all of this. Whether you’re taking part as a runner, volunteer, fan or watching the live broadcast on Česká televize, this is an athletics celebration to thoroughly enjoy!

Key information:

● This year will mark the 24th event year.
● The Volkswagen Prague Marathon will be broadcast live on ČT Sport. The broadcast starts at 8.50 on Sunday 6th May. The online live broadcast will be streamed on
● The Volkswagen Prague Marathon is the second RunCzech event series comprising a total of eight races in five cities around the Czech Republic. A record 82 883 runners took part in all RunCzech events last year.
● The race is awarded the IAAF Gold Label for the eight year in a row.
● This year’s Volkswagen Prague Marathon will welcome the millionth runner in RunCzech race history since 1995.
● International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe will be attending the race.
● The race kicks off at 9.00 from Old Town Square. The last runner will arrive at the same place seven hours later, i.e. at 16.00 and will be welcomed by the entire RunCzech team.
● Prague City Mayor Adriana Krnáčová and IAAF President Sebastian Coe will assume start gun duties.
● The race rose to fame thanks to the beautiful course which penetrates the heart of historical Prague, leading runners along the Vltava and over six Prague bridges including the renowned Charles Bridge. Competing runners will start from Old Town Square, run around the National Theatre, the Dancing House, the Municipal House and other sights.
● 10 600 marathon runners will compete in the main race. Anyone not quite ready to take on the entire marathon distance can sign up to the 2Run where two people take on a half marathon stretch each.
● Prague marathon runners can now also use the brand new RunCzech mobile app. It features a guide to the entire race, your start number, offers from our partners, live monitoring of runners and loads more. The app is available on both Android and iOS devices.
● Runner pre-registration is one of the most widely anticipated new features. In practice this means that if runner can’t take part in a race, they can transfer their start numbers to someone else.
● Thanks to Eluid Kiptanui’s record time of 2:05:39 back in 2010, the Volkswagen Prague Marathon ranks as the fastest May-held marathon of all time. As of last year, the women’s race record of 2:21:57 has been held by Valary Aiyabei.
● African long-distance runners headed on this occasion by Sisay Lemma are the hot favourites to win. The Ethiopian runner is expected to launch an assault on the race record, though he will face fierce competition from compatriot Bazu Worku and Kenya’s Stephan Chemlany while excellent half marathon runners Asefa Tefera, Belay Tilahun and Felix Kibitok, who will be running their first ever marathon in Prague, may also deliver some surprising performances.
● The US’s best marathon runner Galen Rupp will also be returning to Prague one year on.
● Records will be on the agenda for the women too. Ethiopian star Amane Gobena will likely take care of that, though we can also expect to see an excellent performance from Portugal’s Sara Moreira.
● Czech fans can look forward to checking out the Czech national marathon championships which traditionally takes place as part of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon. Those competing include defender of last year’s victory title and five-times national champion Petr Pechek, Jiří Homoláč and Vít Pavlišta.
● In Eva Vrabcová-Nýlvtová’s absence, the trio fighting for a spot on the women’s podium are Petra Pastorová – triple Czech national champion in the marathon, Olympian Ivana Sekyrová and the talented Tereza Ďurdiaková.
● Aside from smashing records, runners will also be aiming to qualify for the European Championships in August.
● In addition to the elite athletes, a number of well-known personalities will be taking part in the race. Guitarist from the band Chinaski František Táborský will be taking part in the 2Run with Light for the World Director Richard Schinko. Rower and silver-medal winning quadruple scull member from the Athens Olympics, David Kopřiva will be braving the entire course as will the surgeon Tomáš Šebek, actress Lenka Vacvalová, journalists Tomáš Poláček and Petr Honzejk, the virtuoso pianist Michal Rezek and the Karlovy Vary mayor Petr Kulhánek. Blind runner Ondřej Zmeškal will also be taking part and guided by the barefoot runner Tomáš Zahálka.
● The Volkswagen Prague Marathon was the world’s first marathon to exist in digital version. This year’s Prague Digital Marathon will kick off at 9.00 on Sunday 6th May.
● The Volkswagen Prague Marathon not only delivers an interesting sporting spectacle to those watching on the sidelines but also boasts a rich accompanying programme. The Sport Expo Prague will be held all day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Also featuring on the accompanying programme will be a book signing with Gabriela Koukalová, a meeting between elite athletes and runners, not to mention the traditional Barilla Pasta Party.
● The non-competitive dm family minimarathon will take up its usual spot in Stromovka on Saturday as part of the dm Family Day. The 5 400 dm family minimarathon participants can choose between completing a three or five-kilometre course starting and finishing in Výstaviště, not forgetting of course the Walk with Dogs plus the competitive canicross category which expects to welcome five hundred participants.
● IAAF President Sebastian Coe will start the dm family minimarathon with Patricie Solaříková in charge of the same for the Walk with Dogs.
● 34 bands will be taking part in the Marathon Music Festival on race day.
● 300 high-school students will take part in the race as part of the Junior Marathon Final. The 30 ten-member teams came together from 13 semi-final rounds held all over the Czech Republic which saw a record 2 630 students take part this year.
● The top level of medical care will include four mobile AED cycle patrols furnished with an automatic external defibrillator linking up to Prague medical services. A sufficient number of Medical Points (marked as such) will also be dotted around the course.
● Light for the World is the main Volkswagen Prague Marathon charity partner.
● The greatest number of foreign runners taking part in the marathon will come from France, Italy, China, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Spain, Slovakia and Russia.
● The official race hashtag is #PragueMarathon

Interesting statistics:

● Capacity for the Volkswagen Prague Marathon is 10 600 runners, a further 5 400 people will run the dm family minimarathon with 500 people taking part in the Walk with Dogs. This tallies up to a grand total of 16 500 participants at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.
● A total of 85 nationalities will appear at the start line.
● 76.6 % runners are men, 23.4 % women.
● The average age of women taking part in the marathon is 39.9 years, the average age of men is 42.7 years.
● On average women manage to complete the Volkswagen Prague Marathon in 4:19:29, men in 3:50:52.
● 13 men and 28 women runners will celebrate their birthdays on race day.
● The most common name of men participants is Jan (289) followed by Petr (281), Martin (273), Pavel and Jiří (190 each). The most common names among the women are Jana (52), Petra (45), Lenka (35), Martina and Lucie (33 each).
● The most common race surname among the men is Novák (30) followed by Svoboda (24), Wang (20), Novotný (15) and Marek (14). For women it is Wang (23) again followed by Chen (15), Novotná (6), Smith (5) and Urbanová (4).
● The most widely represented professions of those taking part in the RunCzech Running League are managers (841), admin employees (685), electrical or mechanical engineers (53), doctors (352) and company owners (291).
● The least represented professions of those taking part in the RunCzech Running League are councillors and mayors (3), politicians (4), diplomats (6), brewers (6), librarians and those working in the print industry (8).
● The oldest male runner is 84 (Jiří Přidal, CZE), the oldest female runner is 71 (Liliane Gless, FRA).
● The vast majority of long-distance runners are educated to university level (58 %), with college-educated individuals making up 34% and the remaining 8 % made up of those with high school education.
● 1 320 volunteers will help out during the race.
● On race day almost ninety thousand people from all over the world will access (87 787 in 2017).
● Messages from RunCzech channels on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) will reach over four hundred thousand users on race day (443 749 in 2017).

Used during the race:

● 421 traffic signs
● 66 540 safety pins
● 374 241 cups
● 107 850 water-soaked sponges
● 10 600 thermal sheets
● 16 500 medals
● 5 621 metres of Johnny Servis fencng
● 241 Johnny Servis portable toilets

Drunk during the race:

● 41 889 litres of Mattoni water
● 18 741 litres of Gatorade sports performance drink

Eaten during the race:

● 5 364 kilogrammes of Kaufland bananas
● 3 789 kilogrammes of Kaufland oranges
● 1 789 baguettes
● 29 kilogrammes of salt
● 24 kilogrammes of sugar


● World record – men: 2:02:57 (2014) Dennis Kimetto (KEN), Berlin
● World record – women: 2:15:25 (2003) Paula Radcliffe (GBR), London

● The fastest Czech man: 2:11:57 (1993), Karel David
● The fastest Czech woman: 2:27:00 (1995), Alena Peterková

● Race record – men: 2:05:39 (2010), Eliud Kiptanui (KEN)
● Race record – women: 2:21:57 (2017), Valary Aiyabei (KEN)

● Czech race record – men: 2:12:35 (2004), Róbert Štefko
● Czech race record – women: 2:30:10 (2016), Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová