Running Events and Races in Hungary
There are lots of running events and races in Hungary if you know where to look. The most obvious omission compared to the UK is the lack of a weekly Parkrun (although there is something of an equivalent at Margitsziget).
However, there is a strong running culture and lots of organised races over a wide variety of distances to suit all levels of participation.
One of the biggest organisers of running events and races in Hungary is Budapest Sportiroda (BSI). They are responsible for many of the races that may be familiar to those outside Hungary, including the Wizzair Budapest Half Marathon, the SPAR Budapest Marathon and the Spuri Balaton Super Marathon. As well as these, there are also many that I wasn’t familiar with, including the Telekom Vivicitta Festival and the Zúzmara Running Festival.
At most of these events, you can run distances from 2km or 5km up to a half marathon (21.1km), so there is something for everybody. One very nice attraction for a keen runner (or medal hunter) is the Half Marathon Mania initiative, where you can win an extra medal by completing one half marathon in each of the four seasons of the year.
I started this with the Zúzmara Félmaraton in January, as you can see in the photo. It was an unsurprisingly cold, yet bright and fresh morning running around the Kincsem Park racecourse in what was a very popular and well-organised event. The medal, t-shirt and finishers’ pack were all high quality and no language certificates were required to figure out what was happening!
To register for events, you will need an account on the futanet.hu website and a BSI number, which is used to track your progress particularly through the Half Marathon Mania attempts. There is no real English equivalent version of the website but it’s straightforward with Google.
The Panorama Futas events and races seem to focus on being more picturesque and atmospheric than the average, with locations outside of Budapest really capturing the natural beauty of Hungary such as the Dunakanyar Half Marathon and the Moonlight Run.
If Covid-19 allows, I’ll be participating in the 45km Panoráma Trail race in October, on what looks like a stunning route through the forests, castles (and mountains!) of Zemplén. It will be my first “ultra” and my first official race on trails so I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Again, if your Hungarian is at a similar level to mine, you’ll need to deploy some Google translate to get through the registration process, but there’s nothing complicated. They are well regarded among Hungarian runners, and I’ll probably post about the race when the time comes.