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Hungary

The Popularisation and Expansion of Amateur Running Culture

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Abstract

Hungary was one of the five countries at the first Olympic Games in 1896 which had athletes in the marathon race. Kellner Gyula1 won the bronze medal and attained a level of success that has not been repeated or topped by any other Hungarian marathon runner ever since (Toró, 2003). This promising beginning, however, did not result in a direct development of long-distance running in the country. Only after the Second World War were the results of both track and cross-country running again noticeable. During this first period, long-distance running was limited to members of sports clubs involved in the competitive sport structure. For amateur runners to be accepted into races, however, the National Athletics Federation needed to overcome the assumption that only club-registered athletes have the ability to compete, especially in marathon races, without seriously damaging their health. These regulatory transitions on the one hand, and the relocation of races from peripheral roads to the streets of historic central areas of cities on the other, resulted at the beginning of the 1980s in an expansion of running in Hungary.

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© 2015 Szilvia Perényi

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Perényi, S. (2015). Hungary. In: Scheerder, J., Breedveld, K., Borgers, J. (eds) Running across Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137446374_8

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