Ljubljana Half Marathon, 2023 Race Report

November 3, 2023 · run travel

Or, more accurately, an account of zombie-shuffling 21 kilometers through the Slovenian capital. I'll go ahead and say up front that this race qualifies as the hardest run I've ever completed. It's a close call between it and the 2017 Houston marathon, but at least that time I was able to eat solid food afterwards.

Readers of this blog might suspect the cause of this misery was the cycle tour adventure I covered in the last series of posts. Maybe my legs would not be able to withstand plonking the pavement 20 thousand times in one go (after very little on-foot time during the bike tour!). Or maybe I got a cold from delivering myself through the wind and rain every day. But no, the true culprit was a cheese dumpling (Štruklji) I had the morning before the race. It didn't taste remarkable at the time, but from that point on I felt more and more tired and bloated. There won't be any pictures of it here because I feel my stomach turning just from the thought of the thing. Well, lesson learned!

Pre-event (and pre-🧀)

On Friday, I visited the race expo to pick up my bib and check out any interesting freebies. The expo takes place in a sports stadium about 15 minutes by bus away from the city center. Since I was a bit early, there were not many runners in the venue yet. My haul included the race bib, a sturdy new full-size backpack, and a free* t-shirt courtesy of two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar. Now I know who I'll be cheering for next year!

*donations requested for the victims of flooding in the country

Half Marathon

On account of exhaustion from sickness and waking up 6 times the night before (hello 80+ resting heart rate), I did not film as much as I had hoped to originally. Please excuse me!

Luckily, Google Street view has good coverage along the route, so please follow this link for an impression of the surroundings. Just imagine all the cars being disappeared. https://streetwarp.com/result/39b30322

Below are all the videos I captured.

Crossing the starting line
Stampede through an underpass shortly after the start
Nice boulevard with pretty colors
Short segment of the Tivoli Park, reminded me of going through the Bois de Boulogne in the Paris Marathon
The final lurch across the finish!


Overall, I would have liked the race. It had good crowd support, nice and wide roads, and pretty views of the mountains in the distance when the clouds clear.
My only critique is that the half marathon misses out on crossing the iconic triple bridge through the city center. Instead, this experience is reserved for the full marathon.

Walking back from the finish meant crossing the path of the full marathon around the time some of the 2:20 finishers were arriving. I couldn't imagine how they covered twice the distance in about the same time!

After a few days on a very minimal diet my stomach managed to recover, leaving behind only a severe distrust of cheesy products and increased suspicion towards any local specialties in the future. After all, if they're really that good, why haven't I heard of them before? 🧐


One of these is Paris, the other Dallas
race bib and backpack (of course I wish a shoe company sponsored it instead of a car company)
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