Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cheering on the Athletes at the Prague Half Marathon

Today my friend Anna ran her first half-marathon! What a fun and exciting challenge to set. Gulnara and I offered to serve as her "Sherpas," the people who carry the water and raisins necessary for refueling along the way.

Over 6,000 people from 79 different countries had signed up to run. It set off at the Rudulfonium and went through some of the most beautiful streets in Prague. It was probably cobblestone most of the way.

This was Gulnara's first time at a race too!

A nice Czech couple who helped us find our way.

Three fun-loving ladies from Spain
ready to run!

Adorable Anna
preps for her first half marathon

Three pals before racetime

Milan from the Czech Republic

Marc, an auditor from Luxembourg
We enjoyed getting to know people before the race
and cheering them on.

Mohito from Japan
works here in Prague
as a construction engineer.

Czech native Karel
was excited to run.

Agnes and Stephanie
are U.S. Department of Defense civil service staff
working in Germany
They were off to see the Mucha Museum while
their friend ran the race.
Thank you for your service to our country, ladies!
We appreciate it.

This woman and I had fun
chatting about her height
we never spoke the same measurement system
though so let's just say
she was a good half a head taller than me.

We American ladies had to give our native friends
a hard time about the European
way of doing things.
Notice how the male numbers don't have an "M" for male.
Men are the default.
They put an "F" for female who are the exceptions.

The parade of flags

Another Prague native ready to run

Jorg from Germany

As the race gets close to starting
you can feel the runners get jazzed
as their adrenaline gets ready to be sprung.

And they're off!

Align Center
The Prague Half Marathon
is officially opened by Vaclav Klaus,
the President of the Czech Republic.
The first piece of music played
as the runners take-off is
Smetana's "My country."

I shook the President's hand
but got a bigger kick
out of listening to two teenage Czech girls
literally squeal when they got to meet him.

President Klaus
of the Czech Republic
(he's better-looking in person than in the paper).

My compliments to him and his English teachers.
His accent when speaking in English
was practically native.

This man, who is Czech Secret Service
totally impressed me with
how graciously he did his job
with a constant smile
for those in the crowd
even as he protected the President.

The lead pack
halfway through the race.

A fun exuberant Czech runner.

It was nice to experience his enthusiasm
because Czechs in the crowd don't
cheer on their countrymen.
They just watch.
Anna said the only cheers she heard
along the way were in English.

Anna coming in strong and with a smile
near the end of the race.
Her goal was to run a 2:30.
She ran a 2:32.

I saw these braids go by during the race
and knew it could be only one woman:
Black Girl from Prague!
I was right.

Marco from Bavaria
blew us kisses as he raced.

Everyone should get a medal sometime
in their life, don't you think?

Anna happy, tired, and sore.

Can you get a better backdrop for a race well run
than Prague Castle?


Sher said...

Hi Karen, said you were getting ready to do a big post...and you weren't kidding!!!

It looks like you all had so much fun!!!! :0) And congrats to Anna!!!! :0)

You even got to shake Pres. Klaus' hand...that's really great!!! :0)

Love your pictures, too...the whole post is really fun!!!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)

Kathy said...

Congrats to Anna and the rest of the runners. I envy people that can do that. I can't run down the block without near collapse! Love the F on the women's numbers! How funny is that?

Great pictorial!

Chaplain said...

Great blog & great photos as always Karen. I shall congratulate Anna in person when I see her on Tuesday at Czech language class.

With regard to male being the default and 'f' for female being the exception, please don't tar the whole of Europe with the same brush. If that had happened in UK, all hell would have broken loose!!! I have to say that I found it quite a surprise here in the Czech Republic. One of the few good legacies of communism is men & women being treated equally. Just see how many trams, buses & metros are driven by women.

Anonymous said...

Karen, congrats to your friend. Our friend Katrina finished as well, but we were not as good friend and were still at the museum when she finished...Thanks for the suggestions, Mucha is wonderful and the museum lovely. Good luck with the rest of your time in Prague and if we came back will be sure to look you up!

s0cketka said...

Wow, very nice blog! :)
And about Czech silent audience: I don't like this. I'm also Czech but I cheer runners up! They need it, they appreciate it. I really don't understand why do they go there if they are so disinterested :( However it's not about Czech people only. I've met some foreigners like that too - but the truth is that the most of silent audience are Czech people... Grrr :)

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