Press Releases

UNIS/INF/107
18 October 2005

Vienna-Budapest Supermarathon to be Flagged off on 19 October

Traditional Run on the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 2005 International Year of Sport and Physical Education

VIENNA, 18 October (UN Information Service) -- On Wednesday, 19 October 2005, the 16th Vienna-Budapest Supermarathon will be flagged off at 9:00 hours in front of the Ernst-Happel-Stadium in Vienna, Austria. The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna is promoting this event as a landmark of the 2005 International Year of Sport and Physical Education and of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. The two countries covered by the route of the Supermarathon, Austria and Hungary, are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of their membership of the United Nations this year. With the theme "Run without borders!", this event helps to underline United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's statement: "Sport is a universal language that can bring people together, no matter what their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status."

The race, which takes place over a total distance of 352 km, has been held annually for the past 15 years, growing every year in size and standard. In the first year, 308 competitors from eight countries participated, while this year, more than 1,000 runners from 15 countries have registered.

The aim of the competition is to strengthen international relations, with a particular focus on the good relations between Austria and Hungary. The idea is to further promote the friendship of the two countries through sharing cross-border ideas by the means of sports. One objective of the run is also to promote a healthy lifestyle through sports. By providing racing possibilities for long-distance runners of all ages, and by enabling the participants to explore both Austria and Hungary, the Supermarathon is not a mere race, but a sports festival.

The Vienna-Budapest Supermarathon supported the process that led Austria and Hungary from the opening of their common border in 1989 to the accession of both countries to the European Union. As the participating runners, cyclists and inline-skaters over previous years have come from many countries of the European continent, the race developed into an international event that represents a Europe without borders. In 2005, the organizers look forward to welcoming long-distance runners from Africa and Asia.

The Supermarathon will be run over a course of five days, from Vienna to Budapest, from 19 to 23 October. On Wednesday, 19 October, the participants will run 93 km from Vienna to Sopron; the second stage on Thursday, with 116 km from Sopron to Györ, will be somewhat longer. On Friday, the course will lead participants from Györ to Tata over 61 km and on Saturday, participants will run another 60 km from Tata to Budakeszi. The stage on the fifth and final day, from Budakeszi to Budapest, is a standard "half-marathon" with a distance of 21 km. The final half-marathon is open to general participation, separate from the preceding Supermarathon. Participants will arrive in the centre of Budapest on Sunday morning, 23 October.

***

For more information, visit the UNIS website at http://www.unis.unvienna.org
or contact the Vienna-Budapest Supermarathon organizers at:
Tel./Fax: ++36 1 312 88 92.
E-mail: istvan.szabo@szupermaraton.hu
Internet: http://www.szupermarathon.hu