The oldest marathon in Europe is a real font of historical inspiration. Each of its editions has produced something extraordinary, unusual, even unique. If we leaf through the annals of the KPM, we cannot fail to notice the great number of true legends of this athletic discipline who have been here. Stepping out in their tracks today are young people who have got through the regional qualifiers and now see their efforts crowned with selection for the final Junior Relay 42 x 1 km, which always starts off together with the main races. This project was originally planned for the years 2006-2011, but it gained so hugely in popularity that the organizers decided to keep it going every year since then.
The editions of the Junior Relay to date have been dedicated to these marathon legends:
2006 – Juan Carlos Zabala – we recalled the triumphal victory of this Argentinian in Košice in 1931, Olympic winner in Los Angeles 1932.
2007 – Désireé Leriche – winner in 1937, this Frenchman travelled to Košice from Paris thanks only to funds collected by his friends. Fate was later not so favourably inclined towards him, and he died in a concentration camp during the Second World War.
2008 – Pavel Kantorek – we were able to welcome him in person in Košice, this second most successful runner in the history of the KPM, having won here three times.
2009 – Waldemar Cierpinski – Waldemar Cierpinski – the youngsters had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to run the final kilometres of the Junior Relay together with this double Olympic marathon winner.
2010 – Christa Vahlensiecková – on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first women’s race in Košice, we welcomed the most successful woman in the KPM, its five-times winner Christa Vahlensieck.
2011 – Abebe Bikila – this double Olympic winner is considered by many experts to be the best marathoner of all time, and we honoured his memory on the 50th anniversary of his 1961 victory in Košice.
2012 – John Farrington – as if transported to Australia by John Farrington’s presence here in person , we recalled the 40th anniversary of his victory in the KPM in 1972.
2013 – Leonard Edelen – this time we shifted over to the American continent, recalling the 50th anniversary of ‘Buddy’ Edelen’s KPM win in 1963.
2014 – Ron Hill – moving back to the continent of Europe, we personally welcomed one of the world’s best long-distance runners, Ron Hill, here in Košice, and recalled the 40th anniversary of his memorable performance in the KPM in 1974.
2015 – Auréle Vandendriesche – outstanfing belgian runner, winner of Kosice Peace Marathon in 1965. Due to his age, he declined our invitation to Kosice, but we welcomed in Kosice his son Tony, who also ran the last kilometers of the realy with the students.
2016 – Takeshi So – In his aera he was in the front rank in the world in marathon distance. Between years 1979 – 1988 he finished ten times under 2:12 and three times under 2:10. The Marathon became Takeshi’s hobby and destiny. In the Marathon distance he debuted when he was only 20 years old. Three years later, in Košice, he was considered one the favorites. In a sultry hot weather he crossed the finish line in 2:18:42,4.
2017 – Emil Zátopek – Phenomenal Czechoslovak long-distance runner, former holder of 18 world records, best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He won gold in the 5,000 metres, 10,000 metres and marathon too. We recalled 25th anniversary of hist last visit in Kosice during 75th Kosice Peace Marathon in 1992.