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Czech Marathon Hopes

Czech Marathon Hopes

Czech Marathon Hopes

The Czech Marathon Hopes project is coming together nicely. After a successful start in September with the 5 km run as part of the Mattoni Grand Prix, preparations for the selected female trio are well underway for the Hervis Half Marathon Prague. But only if they manage to meet the limits at the Junior World Championships beforehand.

Very recently the team came one step closer on their quest to turning dreams into reality with a new contract signing from a reputable sports company “I am pleased to see this take place in the Adi Dassler conference room named after the man who set up the company in 1925. We support top Czech runners such as Dan Orálek, Petra Kamínková and Ivana Sekyrová. We are also very keen to help young talent” said Marketing Manager for Adidas CR, David Horák.

“We have been organising first-class races for a long time now. The number of runners is growing however the quality of Czech top runners is deteriorating”, says Jana Moberly, one of its authors together with Carlo Capalbo speaking of how the idea came to life. She is a former athlete and current manager for foreign runners at Prague International Marathon. A while ago she was browsing through the running league tables which only confirmed the dire situation on the domestic endurance running scene. If we take a look at the men’s ten Km, of the top twenty best Czech times, aside from Pešava (1998), the remaining nineteen top times date back to the 1980s at the earliest. When it comes to women, there have only been four from this millennium.

“We however didn’t want to bring in young people and start pushing them straight away to achieving better times. We are more interested in finding true talent, paving the way for them, allowing them the possibility to choose” says Carlo Capalbo, Chairman of the Organisational Committee for Prague International Marathon. The objective, therefore, is not to try to find an Olympic medallist straightaway. But to provide young talent with the chance of discovering their own way to run in the world and supplying them with quality material. The choice went to Ivo Piták’s training group who is currently working at the Jilemnice sporting grammar school.

The three girls entrusted in his care, 17 year old Linda Vítová and 16 year old twins Anežka and Eliška Drahotova are truly good all-round endurance runners – they have
been scooping up great results not just on the athletics oval but also in walking and cycling events as well as triathlons. “No specialisation is required. Weaker links become
apparent over time and these ones fall behind”, says the trainer who brought Barbora Dibelková, later to become his wife, to fifth position in walking at the world  Championships in Helsinki in 2005.

Already back in October the young girls ran in Prague with Marathon Champion, Patrick Makau, They were able to talk to him plus pick up a few exercises from his warm-up
routine. They are currently planning a trip to the training camp for top Kenyan female runners spearheaded by renowned manager, Zane Branson.

And what do they enjoy most of all? Anežka Drahotová, who has just received a Silver at the Czech Indoor Championships among women in the 1500 metres is causing her
trainer some distress by expressing the desire to combine the 1500 m with the walking 10k distance at the Junior Championships in Barcelona. “When it comes to walking I’ve already set certain expectations for myself. I’d like to try running at this top level because as I get older the competition is going to get much tougher” she says.
Meanwhile Eliška Drahotová is clear about her goals “I’m not so fast and so am focusing on walking. Later on I’d like to give cycle racing a go” says the girl who finished
up in fourth place at last year’s European championship in walking. Piták’s team already has an offer to take part in the prestigious international stage race, Gracia in Orlová. “It’s a waste of time for me to bother going home. Instead our parents sometimes come for the weekend to see us at the boarding school” says the girl from the North Bohemian town of Rumburk of the demanding programme.

“I am now working towards the Junior European Championship for the triathlon in Israel” the former synchronized swimmer, Linda Vítová reveals. She left her family and a
prestigious school in Prague behind to pursue a top sporting preparation programme having decided to head off to Jilemnice, located in the foothills of the Krkonose mountain range. “I don’t waste any time here travelling around the city with all those coughing people on trams. The school, athletics track, swimming pool and gym are all within 5 minutes of each other”, she boasts.

“They do everything, are good all-rounders. And they can develop at their own natural pace, without any restrictions placed on them”, their coach claims.

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