We searched in the archives, asked active race walkers and are bringing feedback from elite athletes, including Olympic champions, world and European champions and even world record holders.
Raúl Gonzáles (*29 February 1952, Mexico) Holder of a gold and silver medal from Olympic Games; he made a world record 3:41:20 in 1978 race walking from Prague to Poděbrady (50 km). He held the continental record for 35 years (until March 2013).
"It was a tough track, but extremely interesting. The track ran through the terrain, villages, people, so the race was not as dull and tedious as other tracks on stadiums or circuit. I would also like to thank for the warm welcome."
Winners of the 18th World Cup, Poděbrady 19 and 20 April 1997
Irina Stankina – 10 km (*25 March 1977, Russia), World Champion, 2 gold medals at the Junior World Championship and a holder of the world record in this category
"After disqualification in Atlanta (1996 Olympics), me and my coach paid more attention to technique, and it has paid off. I was a little nervous and started cautiously. The finish came to my liking."
Jefferson Pérez – 20 km (*1 July 1974, Ecuador), Olympic Champion, three-time World Champion
"I am happy I could confirm my Olympic triumph here. I am also pleased with my new personal record. But on the other hand, I regret to be attending the races on my own. We do not yet have other race walkers who are successful internationally."
Anežka Drahotová (*22 June 1995, Czech Republic) Junior World and European Champion, bronze medal at the European Championship, silver medal at the U22 European Championship, one-time winner of Poděbrady race
"I really like racing at home in Poděbrady. I was here as a spectator when I was younger, and now I compete with some of those I had then been admiring. I made my first national team start here and I was really happy when I won here two years ago. After repair of the roads the track is fast, but mainly there's a great, homey atmosphere. A lot of people come here, friends and others, and everyone cheers. I like the town and I also have my favourite café I go to the day before the race. Poděbrady is simply a pleasant fixed point in my calendar.
Matej Tóth (*10 October 1983, Slovakia) World Champion, European Vice-Champion, five-time winner of Poděbrady race
"It's a matter of the heart. Nowhere else can I race walk as well as in Poděbrady. In addition, I have made four personal records here. It was my first senior race and winning right away, plus an excellent performance – at the age of just twenty I raced 1:23:17. My dad joined me every year, it's his annual tradition. In Poděbrady I got to love race walking. As a fourteen-