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SINGAPORE Raving since 2017 IRONMAN active 3 years, 3 months ago

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Past Races (1)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Prague, Czech Republic May 8, 2016

My Raves

I am very happy to run my personal best times at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon 2016. I ran one race and got two PB’s – FM PB and HM PB! … MORE

I am very happy to run my personal best times at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon 2016. I ran one race and got two PB’s – FM PB and HM PB! I think I ran my 10 km PB too at some split along the 42.195 km course. What a run, what a joy – very satisfied!

Prague is a beautiful city with European charm, and the people are polite and friendly. The various aspects of the race showcased the city’s best with outstanding organisation all round.

The race expo was held at an art nouveau fairground which used to be a palace. It occupied all three halls and I had a jolly good time exploring the booths and indulging in not just one but two pasta meals less than two hours apart! As in most international marathons, the start number collection was a breeze.

It was a nice gesture for the organisers to print the country flag next to runner’s name on the start number, making it special to wear on race day. I was very pleased with the quality of the race bag and the event tee (adidas!).

As for the race itself, the Prague Marathon was famed for its beautiful setting. It was amazing that the organisers managed to stage the race at the Old Town Square itself, the true heart of Prague. It was a huge success. Everyone loved the start and the finish right next to the Astronomical Clock.

The tradeoffs? Well, the race had to be kept at 10,600 runners beyond which the Old Town Square would not be able to cope. The number was large enough to have a great atmosphere and yet small enough for all to move through the space with ease.

The race start was at 9 am. As there were no cut-off times for the corrals, you could turn up at 9 am and still make it! With such a late start there was lesser anxiety of oversleeping and missing the race – the worst nightmare that we runners often worry about.

On race day the temperature was 12 C at the start, rising to 18 C by midday – perfect for running!

The marathon course was what set Prague apart. Right after the start at the Old Town Square, runners got to run the elegant, tree-lined Pařížská Street, dubbed the Champs-Élysées of Prague. At the end of the pencil-straight street was the picturesque view of the Čechův most over the Vltava River. A quick left turn heading south and about 2.5 km after the start, there it was – the iconic Charles Bridge, the sort of place that made you have goose bumps when you ran over it.

The 42.195 km was run almost entirely in and around the historic centre along three different loops, and passing by four times the Hotel Intercontinental, my lodging in Prague. Well, except for the few bridge underpasses, it was mostly flat.

The city route gave runners a one-of-a-kind experience; traversing the winding streets and alleyways of the Old Town, running on cobblestones while surrounded by views of castle, spires, yellow-themed buildings and red-tile roof tops. It doesn’t get any more beautiful than Prague.

The course criss-crossed six bridges alongside the Vltava River, allowing runners to really see the hills and the city. I certainly ran through the most scenic course that I have run so far. It was beautiful. I relished every moment of it and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The aid stations were well stocked with water, isotonic drinks and fruits. I liked the icy cold sponges which offered welcome reliefs, and the bananas were life-savers. The distance markers were clear and accurate. All in all this was a truly top quality Gold label race.

Two things stood out from the Prague Marathon – cobblestones and tram tracks.

There was much chatter about the cobbles being hard on the legs so to counter it I wore my Fresh Foam. Intuitively the softness of the shoes cushioned off nicely the hardness of the surface. In this way the Yin and Yang were sort of balance off. Brilliant!

As it were, the cobbles never caused me any problem at all. Anyway there were only 4 km of it, all were very well kept and for the most part flat like pancakes! In fact I like running on cobblestones as they are oozed with old world charm, and the magic and mysteries of a bygone era. It is definitely a more delightful experience compared to running on dull asphalt.

Imagine Prague without the cobbled Old Town Square and Charles Bridge, it wouldn’t be same would it?

As for the tram tracks, if you watch where your feet land you should be fine. If any the tram tracks added to the overall uniqueness of the race. Frankly the cobblestones and the tram tracks didn’t bother me much.

Running wise my sub-3:30 plan was to break the race down into eight 5 km splits and to run each of them in 25 minutes. Along the course I would adjust the pace at the beeps of the timing mats, which were wonderfully placed at the end of each 5 km split. I would then use the last 2,195 meters to make up for any lost time.

Mostly I was able to keep to the 5:00 min/km pace. From 20 km through 30 km I ran the fastest. Boosted by the excellent running conditions, I got some sort of runners high and let myself lose a bit. I was ahead of the splits.

Passing the 30 km mark, I was still feeling good. After the 35 km, however, I was beginning to find it tough. The pace got slower with each stride, and my time in hand was slipping away quickly like sands through fingers.

At the finishing straight towards the Old Town Square I took a glance at my watch – Yes! I could still make it under 3:30. After all the hundreds of kilometres in training, it all came down to this last 500 m!

I ran my heart out at the long Pařížská Street and gave it my all for that last burst. In the end I made 3:30 with mere seconds to spare. Phew!
The finish at the Old Town Square was pure joy. I felt a deep sense of self-fulfilment – the ‘self-actualisation’ kind based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 16 weeks of track repeats, tempo runs and long runs were all worth it. I couldn’t be happier about the finish. And yes! I am now a sub-3:30 marathon runner.


The beautiful city has given me such a beautiful run. Thank you, Prague, for the beautiful marathon. I will remember it for a lifetime

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