Yesterday was the day of the 17th Ljubljana marathon. The last Sunday in October has been reserved for this event in the Slovenian capital for quite some time.
Yesterday's weather conditions however, were not something one would wish for. After a night of torrential downpour temperatures dropped to zero Celsius and rain turned to snow all over Slovenia. We woke up into the first white morning this season! Luckily I had anticipated this and changed to winter tires just a couple of days ago.
As I expected, all this did not turn M. away from participating - hardly anything is an obstacle for her when it comes to running.
After a usual morning routine we made our way to Ljubljana. On our way we drove through some areas with quite a lot of snow - at one point there was even a fallen tree partly blocking the road.
Once we reached Ljubljana things looked a little better but still far from perfect. After I dropped M. off for a warmup I met up with a couple of friends. Together we went to the start line and cheered to the crowd of eager runners. On our way there were running-late runners whooshing by us all the time. Obviously not everyone was expecting winter road conditions.
With live music and snow falling down on the excited crowd, the air was buzzing with energy. Group performing on the stage set over the start line was a great choice - the percussion extravaganza group The Stroj made even my heart jump!
There were also many other bands playing at multiple points around the track, helping runners' spirits to stay high throughout the whole experience.
We chose to retreat to a nice bar nearby for a quick drink. After our quick warming up session we proceeded to the finish line.
Some participants obviously did not take the event too seriously - many were dressed up in funny costumes. My personal favorite were a group of Paleolithic runners - with beards, wooden clubs and some even in flip-flops!
We watched the Ethiopian runner Shiferaw Berhanu win the 42 kilometer event (and a check for €15.000,00) in the time of 2:09,40. An excellent time in given conditions.
Because of a lack of practice in the last two months, M. was not so very sure what her expectations and target time should be. In the end everything worked out more then fine and she easily finished her second half-marathon with a personal best of 2 hours 4 minutes and 57 seconds. Congratulations!
Despite far from perfect conditions, 16.441 runners competed in various events in the two days of the event. Although this year's record number of registrations (25.686 runners from 41 countries) seemed enough to break last year's record in participation, they came roughly 2.000 participants short.
I think with the weather we have had, this was a formidable achievement as well. Big thumbs up to all the runners who took up this challenge!