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Warsaw Marathon

30/09/2012

On Sunday September 30th, Jo Zakrzewski took part in the 34th Warsaw Marathon, which was also doubling up as the Polish ladies' National Championships. This year 8000 runners entered the race, twice as many as in 2010...

After rain overnight, the day dawned bright and clear, but unfortunately the runners got a first taste of running into a headwind as they started on the Poniatowski Bridge away from the newly built National Stadium. The stadium was built for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship with the opening game being played there (a 1-1 draw between Poland and Greece).

Jo enjoyed the atmosphere of the early part of the race, as the course wound round the old town and some of the city's most famous monuments. The runners then headed south towards Wilanow Palace and then on to Natolin - a National Park which was only opened for the runners (even supporters were denied access). Conditions at this point took their toll on runners, as there were 2 miles of rough, twisty, undulating cobbles to negotiate, and then a final climb out of the park did not give them the break they'd hoped for as they turned into the headwind to run back towards the city centre.

Jo ran a steady pace throughout the first half of the race, but found it hard going on the long straights into the wind. She managed to pick it up for the last couple of miles, after engaging her brain to ask Grzegorz (her accompanying cyclist who spoke no English) the whereabouts of the 4th placed lady, and so entered the National Stadium in 3rd place (and 1st Zakrzewski!) to finish in a time of 2:45:11.

Winner of the men's race was Kenyan athlete James Mbiti Mutua in 2:15:02 with Agnieszka Ciolek heading the woman's field in 2:34:15, and in doing so collecting the 2012 Polish Ladies' marathon title.

The next day, a national newspaper reported on the ladies' podium placings by printing the following, "Wsrod kobiet spokojnie wygrala Agnieszka Ciolek (2:34:15), siedem minut przed Katarzyna Durak (obie z Polski), za ktora po czeterech minutach przybiegla Brytyjka Joanna Zakrzewski."

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