Running The World: the Czech Republic

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a weekly feature where I ‘interview’ runners from around the world about what it’s like to be a runner in their country. Please remember that this is just one person’s view and therefore subjective – I’m not claiming this as groundbreaking journalism but rather a fun way of learning more about the running culture around the world!

We’re kicking off with the Czech Republic, in the heart of Europe.  This week’s interview is with the lovely Michaela (or Myjka), a Slovakian living in Prague! I was put in contact with Myjka via our mutual friend Pavlinka, a fellow Slovakian living in the UK. Pav asked her if she’d be willing to speak to me and she gamely said yes!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Myjka. I’m Slovak but I’ve been living in the Czech Republic since 2006. I studied and worked in Brno (the Czech Republic’s second city, 200 km from Prague) and three years ago, I moved to Prague. I live with my boyfriend in the city centre, near the Vlatava River. I’m 27 and I work in Customer Support. I like animals, reading, running and yoga, and I like cooking and baking healthy goods.

Myjka!
Myjka!

Tell us about your running

I started running in March 2012. My first goal was to lose weight – I lost about 40 lbs. I’m not very fast but I like running and now I run for fun. Sometimes I run races. I’ve run six half-marathons and this year I’m planning to run half-marathons in Prague, Karlovy Vary and Ústí nad Labem. I’ve not been running so much over the Winter but Spring is in the air and I’ll run more. I started my blog Bežkyňa in 2012 to help me stay motivated. Bežkyňa means ‘Runner’ in Slovakian.

Bezkyna 1 Czech

How popular is running in the Czech Republic?

Running is as popular in the Czech Republic as it is around the world. I’m meeting more and more joggers, and races are selling out weeks in advance. It’s popular with both men and women.

Due to the popularity of running, in Prague we have the first Running Mall – a place where you can train, learn and relax alongside your fellow runners.  They organise running events every day.  Cat’s note: It’s worth checking this place out via the link above, there’s an English translation button. It looks amazing, I’m jealous!

And I’m going to Nike Training (a running club held at the Prague Nike store) twice a month. I’ve got a running friend there and we are now the best of friends!

What is the racing scene like? 

The biggest company is RunCzech. They organises races in 5 Czech cities from the Prague Marathon to some half marathons and some family runs etc. Of course there are a lot of other races…both shorter and more extreme. At the moment, RunTour is really popular – a series of 5k and 10k races in 7 different Czech cities. You can earn loyalty prizes if you run all seven. They also organise kids’ runs of 500 or 1,000 metres too. Also popular is We Run Prague, a 10k race which is organised by Nike. Races cost anything from under 100 Czech crowns ($5/3 GBP) to a thousand crowns ($50/30GBP), depending on how big the race is.

The biggest race in the Czech Republic is the Prague Marathon in May with 10,000 participants (roughly $120 entry fee) and the Prague Half Marathon in April, which has about 9,000 participants, but my favourite is the half-marathon in Karlovy Vary due to the beautiful views of the city.

Where is this?? xxx
Mjyka crushing the cobbles in Plzeň

Is trail racing popular there?

Trail Racing is getting bigger here, like in America. For example, we have the ŠUTR ,a trail ultra near Prague. Also really popular is the Spartan obstacle race!

ŠUTR - photo from their FB page
ŠUTR – photo from their FB page

Which brands are popular in the Czech Republic?

My favourite is Nike but I can get cheaper running clothes at Tchibo (a cafe that sells running clothes every few months) or DirectSport, so I tend to shop there. I wear Adidas shoes.

Tell us about the running media.

I know of Behej.com (both a website and a published magazine) and Run. There was a magazine called Bĕžec (‘Runner’) which I wrote a few articles for, but sadly the magazine closed.

czech myjka

Who are people’s running heroes?

My favourite running star is Miloš Škorpil. He is a trainer  and ultramarathon runner and he is the founder of  a running school – Bĕžecká Škola.

Are there other Czech running blogs out there?

Yes, I read a couple…Baborka On the Run (English language),  http://kilometrzakilometrem.blogspot.sk and Mojetelo.

Bezkyna 4 Czech

Finally…what is the best and the worst thing about running in the Czech Republic?

The best thing is that you can always find someone to run with if you want to. The worst thing? Running through the cold, dark Czech winters!

Thanks so much Myjka for all your help pulling this post together! Do check out her blog, there’s a ‘translate’ button so you can see it in English.

I would really welcome your feedback about the structure of these Running The World posts. Are there any questions or issues you want me to cover in particular, were there any questions I missed out? Please feel free to let me know.  

27 Comments Add yours

  1. NicJ says:

    Excellent! really interesting stuff, and good questions to find out the information too! Thanks to Myjka for taking part and being the guinea pig as well! Interesting to know she buys running gear from Tchibo – we had some of those stores here and I bought a lot of running clothes from them. Then all the stores disappeared, and all my clothes are starting to fall apart (6-8 years later) so need to find their online store and re-order!
    Also made me think – the big ‘Four oh’ is approaching and I’ve been trying to think of something to do – Keith suggested perhaps finding a running event, possibly abroad. If you find any half marathon races (or similar distances, but not marathon) around 6-8 March next year, please flag them!
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Cathryn says:

      So glad you liked it, I’m really excited about it. Did we have Tchibo in the UK? I had no idea!! 6 -8 years is a flipping good life for running clothes! Love the idea of a big race for the 4 – 0…I’ll have a look around. The Dude is sick today so i’ll have plenty of inter web time.

  2. Myjka says:

    Cat, thank you. 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      So glad you like it, thanks again for being part of it!!!!

  3. SusieM says:

    Great post! Really looking forward to the others in this series – brilliant idea. I’m teetering on the verge of starting my own blog now… do you have any tips on how to get started?

    1. Cathryn says:

      So glad you liked it!

      Ref starting your own blog – it’s been a great way to make local running friends so I’d def recommend it. I use both wordpress for this blog and blogspot for a private family blog, I like them both. I also blogged ‘in secret’ for a month, trying to do a post every day or so just so I settled into it before I started trying to make links through the blog. Built up some content and just felt more confident!

      1. Susie M says:

        Thanks for the tip about blogging in secret, I think I’ll give that a go and see how I get on.

  4. Kate says:

    Great interview and beautiful photos. I really want to visit Prague now. I’d love to know what runners in other countries eat while running, and how it differs.

    1. Cathryn says:

      GREAT question, I’ll add it to future interviews! (Really glad you commented, hope we get to meet up soon,I’ve heard so much about you).

      You have to go to Prague. I honestly think it’s the most beautiful city in the world. (That I’ve been to, clearly).

  5. Jen says:

    Yay! Awesome first installment, Cathryn! Looking forward to more interviews!

    I think one question I might be interested in is: is there a gender difference (i.e., more men vs. women)? That might be more specific to certain countries. Another question is: if you could recommend one race to a traveler, which would it be and why? (That one was sort of addressed by Myjka’s response to the racing scene.) And finally: if I landed in your city, where would you send me to find out about the local running routes, group runs, and local races?

    p.s. the running mall link is broken 😦

  6. Cathryn says:

    Thanks about the link and also for the questions – great great ideas. I’ll add them to future interviews!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Great idea for a series! Looking forward to reading more!

    1. Cathryn says:

      So glad you like it.

  8. BT says:

    Cathryn: This series is brilliant — thanks for making the effort and sharing! I sincerely enjoyed this installment and look forward to the new ones.

  9. Cathryn says:

    Thank you so much. So glad you enjoyed it! x

  10. This is an awesome idea for a series! Looking forward to reading more. But now I’m worried that I will start dreaming about running races in Europe. Putting the Karlovy Vary half on my short list!

  11. Cathryn says:

    It looks ridiculously beautiful, doesn’t it! Next installment is next Wednesday – so glad you like it!

  12. Angela says:

    Very interesting! Looking forward to more! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Glad you liked it!

  13. This “Running Mall” seems great ! I wonder why it doesn’t already exist in the USA. Also, I can’t imagine how she can run in the winters there… bbbrrrr I wouldn’t be able to do it. It is nice of her to have shared that with us 🙂

      1. Cathryn says:

        Yes it is, but it’s such hard work! Makes you stronger though 🙂

      2. Ah ah ! Your are right, it is definitely beautiful… but hard 😉

    1. Cathryn says:

      Doesn’t it sound brilliant? I’d love something like that. And running in the winter…i think we’re a bit spoilt here 🙂

      1. We are definitely spoiled. I don’t even know how I was doing before (and it was only Paris winters…). Now my concerns are : having to buy a running hat (no need for that in Paris, believe me) / running in shorts instead of biking shorts which are longer and so I am now suntanned like a cyclist / thinking about applying sunscreen… life is hard 😉

      2. Cathryn says:

        I know. I had to run in the rain ONCE this Winter and felt like it was a real trial. And I’m BRITISH! I should be running in the rain every week.

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