Półmaraton Św. Mikołajów (Santas’ Half Marathon), Torun, 4th December 2011
December in Poland might not seem like the ideal time and place for long-distance running, but it didn’t stop 4 WITC club members – Mark, me, Andy, & Cristina – from signing up to run the superbly named Bieg Mikolajki (Santas’ run) half-marathon in Torun. As the roads in Poland are even more treacherous than usual in winter, the four of us and Julia decided to enjoy the 3 hour journey in the comfort of a train. Heading there on the Saturday also gave us the chance to see the sights of Torun, the home of pierniki (gingerbread) and another famous Nick, Nicolaus Copernicus. And arriving the day before also allowed us to sample a bit of Torun’s nightlife, and make some new four-legged friends …
The next morning we headed to the main square in Torun for the start of the race. While we were standing by our new friend the Torun donkey, a TV crew came and accosted us! I tried (fairly unsuccessfully) to say a few coherent words about the race and why we were doing it, but they soon left us in peace.
Now anyone visiting Torun that day must have been a bit surprised by the sight they saw that Sunday morning – thousands of people in the main square dressed up in Santa hats and red scarves! After taking photos with the little donkey and big Nick, we headed down to join the rest of the Santas at the start, to run in Torun. Although the race started in the town centre, it mainly took us through the woods surrounding the city before ending at a sports centre. The organisers decided to play a trick on the runners by placing a Meta (finish) gate 400m from the actual end. This confused me and countless others when we realised we still had to do a lap of the running track after the fake meta!!
A special mention should go to Andy Mossop, who completed his first ever half marathon in a (to be confirmed) WITC record time of 1.35.10, as well as Cristina Moldoveanu who shaved over a minute of her Lodz half-marathon time to set a new pb of 2.08.18. Well done to everyone who took part and thanks to Julia too for her support!
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