Head to the corner of Milady Horákové and Františka Křížka Streets and you’ll be greeted by the world’s only running centre – a meeting place for running fans and elite athletes alike, all of whom are welcome to use its luxury facilities and share in the company of other running enthusiasts.
The Running House was opened by the organisers of the RunCzech races who have been committed to organising long-distance races for almost 20 years now. “We used to only meeting up with runners seven times per year at our races. But we now have the chance to see them on a daily basis and to draw mutual inspiration from one another,” reveals Chair of the Organising Committee, Carlo Capalbo.
The Running Mall is a place where running fans can find everything they would possibly need. As part of the PIM Running Club, they can take advantage of the chance to use changing rooms featuring lockers and showers, to relax in the Water Bar after a training session, plus stock up on new running gear to add to their collection at the adidas Running store. Registered members have the opportunity to use the club’s facilities independently or, alternatively, to head out with a professional trainer into nearby Stromovka Park. The Running Mall will also host seminars with interesting personalities from the running world and training sessions with top athletes.
It didn’t take much time for the Running Mall to draw attention from a number of important personalities in the field of athletics. The Director of the New York Marathon, Mary Wittenberg expressed her admiration for Carlo Capalbo’s idea during the grand opening held in May of this year. While on his journey back from the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Director of the Boston Marathon, Thomas Grilk also made sure to stop by in Prague to check out the unique Running Mall in person. Meanwhile Chair of the Czech Athletics Union, Libor Varhaník didn’t hold back his words of encouragement for the initiative either: “The Running Mall wonderfully complements the mosaic of activities the RunCzech organisers are already involved in,” adding that he hopes the organisation will continue to succeed in promoting the sport in the Czech Republic and throughout the world.
One person particularly inspired by the Running Mall is member of the Kenyan Parliament and successful long-distance runner, Wesley Korir. He found out about the Running Mall a few months ago and immediately thought of doing something similar in Kenya. Using the prize money he won at races, he built a Running Centre in Kenya which he’d now like to convert into the world’s second Running Mall.
“The creation of a running community is something I see as a truly crucial element to athletics. The majority of athletes who take part in races don’t know each other nor do they have any opportunity to meet any of the local runners or other fans of the sport. The Running Mall is a place which helps build the running community, contributing to developing young athletes and offering a nice way for the whole running family to spend time together. I’d like to see this kind of place appear in Kenya too,” Wesley Korir revealed at yesterday’s press conference.
The first interesting training session in the Running Mall is a run taking place with Wesley Korir later on today in Stromovka. Next Thursday you can look forward to checking out two elite Kenyan athletes, the Karanja brothers, who always run together since one of them is blind. During the following week the Running Mall will host a number of elite athletes taking part in the O2 Prague Grand Prix as well as the Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon. As you can see, there really is something for everyone to look forward to at the Running Mall.