Less Snow and Ice, More “All Things Nice” – 5th Zúzmara Half Marathon
On Sunday 12th February Budapest’s Kincsem Park hosted one of the first big running events in Hungary of the year. This event, which in the previous three years offered some of the white stuff, was for 2020 sans precipitation but was chock-full of excited runners out to test themselves in the cold of the new year.
The Zúzmara Félmaraton and associated runs of other distances have grown over the five years since its inception. Always at the same location, it now fills the mighty exhibition hall in which only 4 years ago, when I attended for the first time, the runners felt lost. This is tantamount to the good work of BSI on the organisation and development of the event, and some canny thinking with the timing of the event and the chosen location.
On a normal day the route would seem mildly dull. Flat, with two thirds repeating the same loop and the other third on the road. There wouldn’t be much going for Zúzmara if it wasn’t for the general likelihood of snow and ice and that feeling of collective guilt that even the running community feels following the excesses of the holiday season!
In combination these factors ensure that excitement abounds. Unfortunately, this year wasn’t going to go down as one which fulfilled on the magical potential of the event. Snow failed to materialise. And to compound things there was a huge amount of building work along the course. That extra something, something runners love about Zúzmara, could not be delivered.
So, what was left? Well, only a bloody good ‘foot race’, that’s what! The organisation was impeccable. Refreshment stations were enthusiastic in handing out their offerings. The competition at the top was fierce and in the lower orders there seemed nothing to interfere with each runner’s determination to achieve their goals.
And goals are what is important here. For me, the goal was to prove to myself that I could complete the event strongly despite months of injury. It wasn’t important to be at my best, the enforced break from running made that impossible and the conditions (weather, building work) were hardly inspiring, but on this day it was time to come back to running once more. It was a new year, with new goals and Zúzmara offered the possibility to start this one on the right foot (not the left, that one has a sprain!).