In the Footsteps of Marathon Legends

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:

2019 – Ingrid Kristiansen – as the first female athlete she managed to win the title of World Champion on all surfaces (track, road and cross country). She was there when the history of women’s marathon runs began at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Her greatest fame was brought by breaking world records and triumphs at major marathons around the world. As a guest of the Košice Peace Marathon, Ingrid spent the whole marathon weekend in Košice attending a number of meetings and accompanying activities.

2018 – Gösta Lenadersson – 70 years have passed since his first victory at the marathon in Košice in 1948. He started his sports activity as a 12-year-old boy and 13 years later, in 1943, with a time of 31:29.0 per 10,000 m, he became one of the elite Swedish endurance athletes. He became the first runner in the world who won both, the oldest marathon in the world (Boston) and the oldest marathon in Europe (Košice). Although he never competed in the Olympics, he was one of the best marathon runners in the world.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2013 – Leonard Edelen – this time we shifted over to the American continent, recalling the 50th anniversary of ‘Buddy’ Edelen’s KPM win in 1963.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2006 – Juan Carlos Zabala – we recalled the triumphal victory of this Argentinian in Košice in 1931, Olympic winner in Los Angeles 1932.