Zalaegerszeg - Keszthely (Hungary), Sunday 7 May 2017

Futás a koraszülöttekért - runners enjoy fine views of the hills of Zala County (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

This year's Futás a koraszülöttekért, or Run for Preemies, was not only an amazingly-scenic race, it was also great fun:

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - drummers in Keszthely (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

The event was held for a good cause. It supports a Charity for Premature Babies.

The route was 59.5km long — too much for the vast majority of runners, even in Hungary where ultra marathon running is a hugely popular pastime.

Fortunately, it was possible to run the race as part of a relay, and this is what many participants did. Teams consisted of between two and ten runners.

The race began at the delightful Göcseji Falumúzeum (Göcsej Village Museum) in Zalaegerszeg, a city of about 60,000 people in the western part of the country.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - start at the Göcseji Falumúzeum in Zalaegerszeg (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

After the start, the field was guided by an ambulance through the city centre.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - runners in Zalaegerszeg (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

Then, the route took the runners into the hills of Zala Megye (Zala County).

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - the first long climb (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

Follow the little bear signs and you won't get lost!

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - course marker (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

The race was run on a mix of roads and trails, some of which were quite slippery after a night of rain.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - a downhill section in the forest (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

The route was very hilly and challenging, but it included also some flat sections.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - a runner near Nemesapáti (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

It offered superb views of this beautiful part of the world.

 

preemies 2017 eszter szandi

 

There were enough aid stations and many friendly volunteers on the course who helped the runners to keep going, and some local residents offered drinks as well.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért — Run for Preemies - A local resident offers water to runners (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

You've never done a race through a churchyard? Run for Preemies!

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - a runner at the Saint Anne Round Church in Kallósd (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

After passing the round church in the village of Kallósd, competitors headed for the next village, ...

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - Runners near the Zala Spring Golf Resort (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

... Kehidakustány, which is home to a big and deservedly-popular thermal spa.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - a runner at the Kehida Termál (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

Then came the long climb to the village of Nemesbük.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - a runner in the village of Nemesbük (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

Runners were rewarded with fine views of Balaton, Central Europe's largest lake.

 

preemies 2017 nemesbuk balaton

 

From this point, there were just about 13km to go to the finish, mainly downhill!

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - Runners in Nemesbük (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

The next highlight on the course was the spa town of Hévíz, where the participants passed the second-largest thermal lake in the world, Lake Hévíz.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - a runner at Lake Hévíz (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

Finally, they ran through the park of the impressive Festetics Palace in the town of Keszthely.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Run for Preemies, Hungary - runners in the park of the Festetics Palace in Keszthely (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

The finish line was on Fő tér, Keszthely's spacious main square, where the finishers were treated with Hungarian delicacies and entertained by live music and by a very skilful Jump Rope group.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - rope skippers in Keszthely (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

Once again, the race attracted a large number of fun runners as well as several elite ultra marathon runners.

 

Futás a koraszülöttekért - Hungarian ultra marathon runners (Copyright © 2017 Hendrik Böttger / runinternational.eu)

 

Race information: 2. Futás a koraszülöttekért 2017

Results: 2017