Budapest Marathon

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Budapest Marathon
Date2nd weekend of October
LocationBudapest, Hungary
Event typeRoad
DistanceMarathon, 30K, 10K, Marathon relay, 7K, fun run
Primary sponsorSPAR
Course recordsMen's: 2:13:11 (1985)
Hungary Sándor Szendrei
Women's: 2:28:51 (1986)
Hungary Ágnes Sipka
Official siteBudapest Marathon
Participants4,530 (2019)

The Budapest Marathon is an annual marathon and sport event hosted by the city of Budapest, Hungary since 1961. It is normally held at the beginning of October or the end of September. Since 1984, Budapest Sport Iroda (BSI) has organised the event.


Like many sports, running in Hungary was limited to professional athletes only. With the growing popularity of marathons in other countries, in 1984 BSI decided to hold a "marathon for everyone", where amateur runners could participate too. The event would be held in spring. A half marathon and a shorter race for school children was also held alongside the event. This would continue until 1996, when the Budapest Half Marathon became an independent race.

The first edition of the marathon consisted of two loops, 21 km each. 625 men and 25 women from 18 countries reached the finish line. The results of the race can still be found on the marathon's official website. The official sponsor of the event was the IBUSZ travel agency, which remained for the next ten years.

In 1986 the Budapest Marathon became an AIMS member, the first one in Eastern Europe. The prize for winning the race was a trip to New York to participate in the New York City Marathon, provided the winner finishes under 2:18 (man) or 2:40 (woman).

In 1987, with full AIMS membership, the race attracted more international participants and the number of runners passed 1000. This was also the first time that every finisher received a medal.

In 1993 the official sponsor was changed to Mars. Fred Lebow, the founder of the New York City Marathon and of Hungarian origin was the guest star of the event (he ran a half marathon).

The marathon was not held in 1994 and 1995 due to financial difficulties. In 1996, the marathon event was moved to autumn, while the half marathon remained in spring. The sponsor was changed to Kaiser's-Plus.

In 2009 Spar bought Plus, which meant the marathon's name was also changed to "Spar Budapest Marathon", which it remains. This year saw over 13,000 participants, with 2,388 running the full length. The number of people increased every year, so in 2016 there were over 28,000 participants, with 4,969 running the whole marathon.

In the early history of the race, it was known as the Csepeli Nemzetközi Maraton (Csepel International Marathon). It obtained its current name in 1984.[citation needed]


The Budapest Marathon is managed by BSI, led by Árpád Kocsis. BSI is an acronym for "Budapest Sport Bureau". The organization always needs to delicately position itself to produce profit, while at the same time keep politicians happy. Almost every marathon has either the mayor or a minister as the "main patron" of the event. Budapest has a loud group of people that don't want the race to be held in the city center (due to the road closures that inevitably occur), which forces BSI always to be close to the party currently in power.

The Race[edit]

The course of the marathon changes every year, but the main routes usually remain. The race center is situated at the Városliget (City Park). The race starts in Hősök tere (Heroes' Square), and due to the large number of participants a "zoned start" is implemented, where each subsequent zone starts a little bit later. It takes more than 15 minutes for the runners from the last zone to cross the starting line.

The marathon passes through two UNESCO World Heritage sites. It also crosses the Danube several times. There are many music performers along the route. While there are usually crowds along the route, there are several "crowd support points" where large groups of people cheer. These points are well organized (usually near metro stations) so that people can go from one point to another quickly and find their friend or family member that is running.

Each year, the organizer prepares a video (available on Youtube) where you can see the entire track in 5 compressed minutes.

After the race is over, competitors can bathe their aching feet in the Széchenyi thermal bath (usually for free thought this can change).

Race Times[edit]

Among men, the time of 2:15:04 time from 1984, set by Zoltán Kiss, is still a record. Among women, Simona Staicu has the best time ever, she was able to stand on the podium four times and in 2010 she completed the distance in 2:37:47.

Past winners[edit]

Key:   Course record   Hungarian championship race

Edition Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
1st 1961  Sándor Molnár (HUN) 2:28:20.2 Not held
2nd 1962  József Sütő (HUN) 2:23:05.8
3rd 1963  Sándor Molnár (HUN) 2:28:21
4th 1964  Istvan Kun (HUN) 2:24:14
5th 1965  János Huszár (HUN) 2:19:55.8
6th 1966  Andor Bruder (HUN) 2:33:36
7th 1967  Denes Simon (HUN) 2:22:19
8th 1968  János Szerényi (HUN) 2:26:13.2
9th 1969  Gyula Tóth (HUN) 2:26:51
10th 1970  Nikola Simeonov (BUL) 2:21:56.2
11th 1971  Gyula Toth (HUN) 2:21:46
12th 1972  Ferenc Szekeres (HUN) 2:22:38  Sarolta Monspart (HUN) 2:59:53.2
13th 1973  Jozsef Babinyecz (HUN) 2:17:45 ? ?
14th 1974  Martin Schröder (GER) 2:15:13 ? ?
15th 1975  Jürgen Eberding (GER) 2:15:36 ? ?
16th 1976  Ryszard Kopijasz (POL) 2:16:21  Sarolta Monspart (HUN) 2:48:22.2
17th 1977  Jerzy Finster (POL) 2:15:41  Sarolta Monspart (HUN) 2:48:59
18th 1978  Ferenc Szekeres (HUN) 2:16:38.8  Ágnes Sipka (HUN) 3:02:21
19th 1979 ? ? ? ?
20th 1980  János Szekeres (HUN) 2:14:25 ? ?
21st 1981  Zoltán Kiss (HUN) 2:18:52  Liane Winter (GER) 2:51:22
22nd 1982  Zoltán Kiss (HUN) 2:15:32  Antonia Ladanyi (HUN) 2:38:29
23rd 1983  Antoni Niemczak (POL) 2:14:15  Ágnes Sipka (HUN) 2:44:33
24th 1984  Zoltán Kőszegi (HUN) 2:14:32  Karolina Szabó (HUN) 2:33:43
25th 1985  Sándor Szendrei (HUN) 2:13:11  Ilona Zsilak (HUN) 2:37:44
26th 1986  Peter Antal (HUN) 2:14:48  Ágnes Sipka (HUN) 2:28:51
27th 1987  Stephan Freigang (GER) 2:14:37  Birgit Stephan (GER) 2:32:20
28th 1988  Attila Sulyok (HUN) 2:17:59  Andri Avraam (CYP) 2:41:50
29th 1989  Klaus Goldammer (GER) 2:20:58  Andri Avraam (CYP) 2:41:55
30th 1990 ? ?  Anna Kamkalova (RUS) 2:52:05
Not held from 1991 to 1995
31st 1996  Endre Laczfi (HUN) 2:19:50  Erika Csomor (HUN) 2:56:29
32nd 1997  Martón Lajtos (HUN) 2:22:02  Éva Petrik (HUN) 2:46:50
33rd 1998  Gergely Rezessy (HUN) 2:15:38  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:40:09
34th 1999  Gergely Rezessy (HUN) 2:19:31  Erika Csomor (HUN) 2:44:39
35th 2000  Mykola Rudyk (UKR) 2:19:32  Erika Csomor (HUN) 2:41:57
36th 2001  Tolosa Gebre (ETH) 2:18:45  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:39:04
37th 2002  Gergely Rezessy (HUN) 2:18:41  Ida Kovács (HUN) 2:38:18
38th 2003  László Nagy (HUN) 2:24:39  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:41:56
39th 2004  Jackton Odhiambo (KEN) 2:24:17  Simona Staicu (HUN) 2:38:17
40th 2005  Jackton Odhiambo (KEN) 2:22:03  Katalin Farkas (HUN) 2:49:31
41st 2006  Tamás Tóth (HUN) 2:25:03  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:59:49
42nd 2007  Tamás Tóth (HUN) 2:24:40  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:47:10
43rd 2008  Gergely Rezessy (HUN) 2:24:21  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:45:32
44th 2009  Moses Chepkwony (KEN) 2:25:18  Andrea Szederkényi-Takács (HUN) 2:44:34
45th 2010  Ashenafi Erkolo (ETH) 2:23:14  Simona Staicu (HUN) 2:37:50
46th 2011  Elisha Sawe (KEN) 2:25:58  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:54:47
47th 2012  Gábor Józsa (HUN) 2:21:06  Tímea Merényi (HUN) 2:49:30
48th 2013  Gábor Józsa (HUN) 2:22:58  Simona Staicu (HUN) 2:42:26
49th 2014  Tamás Nagy (HUN) 2:27:15  Simona Staicu (HUN) 2:51:08
50th 2015  Dániel Soós (HUN) 2:25:21  Tímea Merényi (HUN) 2:45:11
51st 2016  Gábor Józsa (HUN) 2:22:39  Simona Staicu (HUN) 2:50:30
52nd 2017  Gábor Józsa (HUN) 2:20:22  Tünde Szabó (HUN) 2:42:49
53rd 2018  Gáspár Csere (HUN) 2:20:10  Tünde Szabó (HUN) 2:47:41
54th 2019  Péter Jenkei (HUN) 2:23:21  Fanni Gyurkó (HUN) 2:42:54


List of winners

External links[edit]