Poděbrady Race Walking
WA Race Walking Tour Gold Meeting

13. 3. 2024

​The world's best race walkers are returning to Poděbrady

On Saturday, April 6, 2024, the 92nd annual Poděbrady Walking meeting will take place. This year too, we can look forward to medalists from the Olympic Games and world championships at the Spa Colonnade.

Also this year, the meeting is part of the world walking tour in the highest Gold category. The men's 20 kilometer race offers a very packed start list. The Swede Perseus Karlström is already a traditional participant in the Poděbrady walking races, who is doing exceptionally well on the Spa Colonnade. He triumphed here for the first time already in 2016. He added another record four years later and won the European Walking Team Championship here in the 2021 season. Karlström is among the most successful world walkers of recent seasons. At last year's World Championships in Budapest, he ran the 20 kilometer course for silver in a new national record of 1:17:39. In addition, he has three more bronze medals from global athletics summits in his collection.

The Brazilian Ciao Bonfim was also able to dominate Poděbrady Walking in the past. He ascended to the highest step two years ago. The walking matador from South America has already won world bronze twice on the 20 kilometer course, at the championships in London 2017 and less than a year ago in Budapest. He is also in excellent form at the start of the 2024 Olympic season, when he set a new personal record of 1:17:44 in Taicang, China at the beginning of March.

Experienced Canadian Evan Dunfee, who can be proud of the Olympic bronze from the Games in Tokyo (Sapporo) 2021 and the same valuable metal from the world championship in Doha 2019, will make his debut at this meeting.

The packed line-up is complemented by the Italian Francesco Fortunato, who achieved his biggest career success so far in Poděbrady last year when he won the 20-kilometer race as part of the European Walking Team Championship.

A rich accompanying program

In Poděbrady, you don't just have to watch the performances of top walkers, you can also join the accompanying program. It will mainly be procured by the popular project Athletics for Children. Children will be able to throw a foam spear, jump from one place to a distance, run a slalom or over obstacles. Thanks to the Leontinka Foundation, you can also try walking without a visual inspection.

More than a century of tradition

The history of pedestrian races connected with Poděbrady goes back to the century before last, they have been held regularly since 1929, and the lively present continues the long tradition.

In 1997 and 2017, Czech athletics celebrated their 100th and 120th anniversaries here, first with the World Cup and then with the European Cup. We hosted the European Team Walking Championships in 2021 and 2023, the event will return for a third time next year.

The sports level of Poděbrad is evidenced by the fact that in the quality assessment according to the WA methodology, the meeting and the ME are traditionally among the pedestrian events in the highest ranks. In the ranking, which tracks performances and also takes into account the level of the participants themselves, last year's European championship (along with Slovakia's Dudinci) takes first place. The year before last, when it was a meeting without an EC (like this year), then Podebrady was second in this ranking.

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