Cracovia Maraton (Kraków Marathon) 2024 Race Report and Results

By: Brian Jenkins

Race Date: 14th April 2024

Venue: Kraków, Poland

It all started when those who organise the London Marathon ballot said a very firm “No” to my request for a place. This, I was not prepared to take lying-down.

Some internet research showed that Kraków had a weekend of running events on the same weekend as the aforementioned marathon, offering the potential of shielding me from the FOMO (fear of missing out) whilst watching the event on the TV.

I kept my beady eye on the event news feed, and due to a clash with the local municipal elections, the date of the race weekend was moved forward a week (a rescheduling reason I had never come across before). Oh well, further internet investigation had me sold. I put my hand in my pocket and signed-up for the race, alongside the Bieg Nocny Night 10K the night before the centrepiece event.

I had never run another race so close to a marathon before (but I was glad that the 10k was to be before the marathon, rather than the other way around). I reasoned that if I didn’t feel up to running both, I could restrict my activity during the Bieg Nocny night run to spectating (as I was really taken by video clips on the internet by the atmosphere).

In Poland, I went to the event Expo at a local football stadium on the weekend of the races and duly took my place in the queues for race packs for competitors in my two selected events.

I went back to the hotel with my race numbers and then had a decision to make. It wasn’t a tough one, my route back from the Expo took me past the “Mini Maraton” in its closing stages, and motivated by this I thought that I could do both (providing I didn’t go overboard on the 10k).

Decision made I pinned my 10k race number to my Strider’s top and made my way to the race start on Rynek Główny (the medieval main town square in the Old Town). Race start was at 9:30 pm, and I ran the race a bit faster than I had planned (I blame the atmosphere and the supporting crowds).

After getting back to the hotel, and a trip to the hotel bar (for recovery drinks) I went to bed in preparation for the big day.

The next morning (suitably clad) I made the 10 minute walk from the hotel to last night’s start / finish line which was also the start and finish of the “Cracovia Maraton”.

I had previously thought that I was the only Strider in town, but on an online forum I discovered that fellow Strider Lee Kenton was also signed-up for the marathon.

At 9:00 am the bells of Kościół Mariacki (St Mary’s Basilica) tolled, a bugle fanfare was played and the race was started and runners were set loose in regular batches. As I was moving to the start line I saw a Strider’s top in the near distance, it was Lee Kenton. After a quick exchange of pleasantries (and a selfie) we edged closer to the start, and then over the start timing strip on to the plastic covered cobbles.

Lee set-off with clear intent, and I was intent on pacing myself, and kept to my plan.

Soon we were exposed to uncovered cobbles and did a near total loop of the old town (on tarmac), a loop in the west-end of the city, then over the River Vistula.

One recurring feature of the race course is the out-and-back sections, so I saw Lee on his return journey a few times and was able to shout encouragement. These out-and-back sections were also useful in judging your position relative to the teams of pacers immediately ahead and behind. These were conspicuous because of the silver balloons tied to their wrists.

Water stations were very regular, interspersed with “Nutrition Points” which provided “woda” (water), “izo” (isotonic drinks), bananas, chocolate, sachets of salt and all manner of weird and wonderful refreshments (which I would recount to you if I understood any of the Polish shouted out by those handing them out). These nutrition points seemed to go on for ages.

The drinks provided were all in cups, which I find difficult to handle on the run, but seeing as the temperature was rising, the regularity of them was particularly helpful.

Just after the halfway point there is the mother of all out-and-back sections (along Pope John Paul II Avenue) and eventually you cross the tram tracks and head west back to the city (via the south bank of the Vistula) then back to the old town, and the finish.

The race is a good one without much horizontal elevation, with runners from all around the globe. Crowd support is solid throughout the course, and especially good at the start / finish. Drink and nutrition stations are plentiful.

On the downside, a lot of the race route includes running down (and back) urban dual-carriageways (which are rarely stimulating), but the scenic first and last few miles make up for this.

I don’t regret racing both the 10k and the marathon so close together (my thoughts in the final miles of the marathon may have been a bit different) as they both have their own distinct characters (I enjoyed both), but if I had have foregone the 10k, the marathon provides plenty of P.B. potential, even more so on a cooler day.

5,488 runners completed the race (96.6% of starters).

The race was won by Ezekiel Kipkorir (Benedek Team, Kenya) in 2:13:26 and Vitalyne Jemaiyo Kibii (Benedek Team, Kenya) in 2:39:26

Striders Results:

Pos Name Cat Pos in Cat Chip Time
1799 Brian Jenkins M50 191 03:59:52
2334 Lee Kenton M40 800 04:10:44


Full Results:

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