Bieg Nocny (Kraków Night 10K) 2024 Race Report and Result

By: Brian Jenkins.

Race Date: 13th April, 2024.

Venue: Kraków, Poland.

So how did a 10k in Poland make it on to my race watch list? Well, the answer is simple. I entered the London Marathon ballot last year, and they said “No”. It was clear that I was not going to get my marathon fix in “that London” so I had to get it somewhere else.

Some research on the internet identified a whole weekend of road runs in Kraków, Poland. The centrepiece was a marathon (the “Cracovia Maraton”) and there was also an inline skating marathon (not for me thank you), a 4.2km “mini marathon”, and a night 10k (the “Bieg Nocny”, the night before the marathon).

Getting into the spirit of the event, I signed-up for the Bieg Nocny 10k, and the “Cracovia Maraton”.

I was last in Kraków just after the Iron Curtain came down (back in the 20th century, when I were a lad) as an Inter-Rail back-packer. I can remember there being 36,000 Zlotys (the Polish currency) to the Pound Sterling, making it very important to count the number of zeros on any bank note. I really enjoyed my all-too-short flying visit to Kraków (very much unlike Warsaw, which I didn’t like at all) so I was looking forward to returning.

I arrived at Pope John Paul II Airport (named after the well-known local lad) and headed into the city centre on a particularly modern train. My hotel was near the railway station and about a 10 minute walk to the races’ start line.

I went to a local football stadium that was hosting the Marathon Expo on the Saturday and picked-up my race numbers, goody bags and a complementary plate of Lasagne (I’ve had better), and took my swag back to my hotel.

My route back just happened to follow part of the Mini Marathon route (which happened to be in full swing). My initial thought when I was booking, was that it was an event just for children (as important as that is in nurturing the next generation), but was proved to be very wrong as several adult Kenyans were moving with all the grace of gazelles (with the speed to match) behind the lead race motorbike heading towards the finish line. Whilst I’m sure some thought of this as a “fun run”, some were taking it very seriously indeed.

After pinning my race number to my race top (and otherwise composing myself) I turned up to the start in the centre of the medieval Old Town (on Rynek Główny, the main town square) in time for the 9:30 pm start on Saturday evening.

The town square was lit with dramatic blue lighting, and a viewing position was erected to provide spectators with a better view, and they were a noisy lot.

Us runners were allowed into the pre-start gathering area, and we waited for the off.

Once the race had started, those of us in the gathering area streamed under the elevated viewing position and towards the start / finish arch with cheering crowds on both sides (and behind).

Once over the start line the cobbles of the town square were covered with some rubber matting (which was welcome), but this proved to be short-lived. As we cleared the cobbles of the Old Town we headed-down roads rutted with the tracks of the city’s comprehensive tram network, and down to the River Vistula, over the bridge and back again after a short loop. The route then loops the Old Town, past the historic Wawel Castle, the imposing Barbican and then back to Rynek Główny where we started, and our appreciative spectators (of course).

With this being a night run, the illumination was provided by street lighting, and with the dense packing of runners at some parts of the race, there was very little warning of obstacles like bollards, kerbs etc. But once the crowds had thinned-out and you could see further ahead and to the sides, overtaking became much easier. The route was relatively flat, with occasional undulations in the tarmac (not necessarily where you would expect them).

So, if you after not just a scenic, competitive race, but an “event” (one that is a bit different), then this might be for you, and well worth a long weekend away. And yes, Poland has changed a lot since I was last there.

4,586 people from 35 countries took part in the Bieg Nocny, and the Kenyans I came across in the “Mini Maraton” that afternoon, did quite well in this race too (according to the race results).

The race was won by Albert Kipkorir Tonui (Benedek Team, Kenya) in 32:54 and Valentine Jebet (Benedek Team, Kenya) in 33:34

Strider’s Result:

Pos Name Cat Pos in Cat Chip Time
1407 Brian Jenkins M50 85 00:52:20


Full Results:

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