Although Marg and I were disappointed to miss out on visiting some of the historic places in the Jewish Quarter, we were heartened to note that just a couple of blocks away athletes were gathering for an important running event. We decided to czech it out.
To our delight, we had stumbled upon the Prague Half-Marathon, a prestigious international event on the running calendar. It had drawn thousands of entrants, including some of the best distance runners in the world. I haven’t been to an event like this before, but some runners were already out on the course when we arrived, and we watched thousands of others mill around for a 10am start.
Helicopters and TV cameras were covering the event, and all the streets were lined with spectators. The course took the runners past many beautiful sights under sunny blue skies in this magical Eastern European city. How lucky were we to witness this.
We stationed ourselves on the end of the bridge near the finish line and were entertained by the hypnotic rhythms of a very energetic drum band. Every runner was applauded and cheered on as he or she passed us. A huge screen broadcast vision of the lead runners – a group of Kenyans – and a very enthusiastic commentator kept us all informed of what was happening over the PA (it was all in Czech language, but from his tone it was clear that an exciting close finish was imminent).
I moved to a spot a few metres from the finish line and managed to get shots of the first four Kenyan male runners as they finished. They had been tightly grouped together in a bunch just moments earlier. The winner, Benard Kimeli, made it two wins in a row, finishing in 59.05 minutes. He won a Volkswagen Touareg for his efforts.
We were fortunate to be in Prague on such a beautiful day to see world class athletes competing.