Celebrating important national dates with mass races is becoming a good tradition around the world. On the one hand, it is a way to loudly remind about an important date or a famous person, and on the other - to promote running. I took part in one of these races with a national connotation in Poznan, Poland. But about everything in order.
Planning your own race calendar in November, I decided that I should take part in two starts of 10 kilometers each. I was looking for options for competitions in different countries. While reviewing upcoming running events in Poland, I stumbled upon it “Bieg Niepodleglosci” (“Running for independence”), Which was to be held soon in Poznan.
I've heard before about the competition in this series - on half marathon in Tarchin (a city in central Poland). There, in parallel with the half marathon, was a 10-kilometer race dedicated to the restoration of Polish Independence (100 years since the proclamation). And this was one of the launches held under the brand "Bieg Niepodleglosci" throughout the country. Often these running events take place in parallel with other starts, but, for example, in the same Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Poznan "Independence Run" - separate independent competitions.
Running under the motto "I love Poland"
Races "Bieg Niepodleglosci” have been going on constantly for several years. As of now, the organizers have held more than 30 events. Each competition of the series is held under the constant motto "I love Poland" and aims to actively and in a large company to celebrate the country's largest national holiday. And also to promote the sights and beauty of nature in Poland.
The program of starts is standard - race for a distance of 10 kilometers. Anyone over the age of 15 can take part in the race. And in order for people with different levels of training to join, the organizers lifted any restrictions on the time of the distance and allowed participants to cover the distance by running or walking. By the way, there is a similar analogue in Ukraine race timed to the Independence Day of Ukraine and has a name "Race in embroidered shirts".
Personally, I was first interested in the scale of "Bieg Niepodleglosci". A lot of people take part in all the events of the series - at some races, the number reached 25 thousand. Not every start can boast of such a large number of running fans.
Registration with a surprise
To become a member of "Bieg Niepodleglosci", you must go through the standard registration procedure. I did it on the site biegniepodleglosci.pl. But after filling out the form, a surprise awaited me: all payment systems are Polish, so it was problematic for a resident of Ukraine to pay.
The way out of the situation I took advantage of was the help of acquaintances from Poland. They registered me, and I went to look for an apartment near the starting point.
Road to Poznan
I decided to go to Poznan via Katowice (a city in southern Poland). I got there by plane. As soon as he landed in Katowice, he immediately found a bus that took him to the train station. There he bought a ticket for the nearest train to Poznan and went on a 4-hour trip.
Immediately after arriving in Poznan, I had two priority tasks - to pick up the starting number and settle in a hostel. Race numbers were issued in one of the pavilions of the local exhibition center near the station, so 5 minutes after getting off the train, I was already there. My documents were checked and I was handed a starter pack with a number, an eco-bag, hairpins, a number plate, a bar, and a T-shirt. The color of the latter could be chosen on the spot: white or red. I spent two minutes on the whole procedure.
Since I still had free time before settling into the hostel, I went for a walk around the city. Especially since my place of accommodation is located right in the middle between the station and the starting point. We walked through the center of Poznan, visited the shopping center "Stary Browar" and then went to the hostel.
Running with support
In the morning, as soon as I woke up, I packed up and went to the starting point, which is about 25 minutes walk from my hostel. At first I wanted to use a navigator, but as soon as I went outside, I gave up on the idea. And all because the people around me were all in white and red T-shirts. And they definitely went to "Bieg Niepodleglosci"! So without hesitation I joined this procession and went to the start.
There I first went to the locker. At once I want to note that there was no queue near them at all - neither during delivery of things before the start nor after the finish. Added convenience was the fact that the lockers were divided by starting numbers.
Then the most important thing was running. All participants of the competition were divided into sectors, because we had to start in groups, gradually. This was closely monitored by volunteers. So I went to look for the sector with my letter and take a place at the start. Even before the start, a mass warm-up took place traditionally for such events. And of course, the anthem of Poland sounded. And what about without him on "Bieg Niepodleglosci"? Immediately after the sectors in turn began to start.
The route consisted of one circle and ran through paved streets. There were also a few small descents and ascents. But despite the picturesque streets of Poznan, there were two things that somewhat spoiled the competition. First, there were no hydration points along with the distance. And for some reason, I did not take water with me before the start. Secondly, a lot of people ran in a group, and it interfered. Sometimes it even resembled an interval run: you gain speed, then slow down, because there is no way to overtake those who run ahead..
Added strength and a little comforting crazy support. Guests and residents of Poznan gathered along the route and greeted all participants of the race. And at the end of the competition, you could meet those runners who had already finished. They walked around the city and supported those who were still on their way.
Finish and the way home
After the finish, which took place at the starting point, I went for my medal. We had to walk a bit because the awards were given to the participants a little further from the finish line. And in a "conveyor" way. There are no queues here. Along with the medal, I received water and a croissant and slowly went to pick up my things in the storage room.
He rested, changed his clothes, took some souvenir photos, and started going to the station. He had to return home by direct bus to Kyiv. But since there was still time before departure, I looked at the parade for the Independence Day of Poland, which was just beginning. And then - home, look for new interesting races and test your strength at other starts.