Małopolska – the best place to run not only in the mountains

View of the Pieniny Mountains
Running is becoming the most popular recreational activity among Poles, with tens of thousands of people taking part in some events, and each week is filled with more than a few large competitions. Małopolska is one of the regions with the greatest number of running competitions.

Running is one of the most popular forms of sport that gives you positive energy and can be practiced individually or socially. Running can be pursued as an amateur, with more or less regular training, and professionally, by participating in sports competitions. There is no shortage of such events in Małopolska – all competitors, both more and less advanced, can find something for themselves, from marathons, through mountain ultra-marathons, to short-distance runs organised in virtually all major cities.

Mountain running

Mountain runs are the most popular in the Małopolska region, usually taking place in the summer months. Despite the fact that due to the difficult terrain and high altitude, these runs require appropriate technical facilities and good physical preparation, there is no shortage of enthusiasts. The calendar of running events has been regularly updated over the last few years. The most important of these are the Tatra Mountains Ridge (Granią Tatr) Ultra Run, the Franciszek Marduła High Altitude Mountain Run, and the Babia Góra Ultra Marathon.

  • The Tatra Mountains Ridge Ultra Run, which took place for the fifth time this August, is the most difficult running event. The route, which requires great technical preparation, runs through the territory of the Tatra National Park through the peaks of the Western and High Tatras, from Siwa Polana at the outlet of Chochołowska Valley to Kuźnice. The distance is 71 kilometres and the elevation gain is about 5,000 metres.
  • The Franciszek Marduła High Altitude Mountain Run, organised as part of the Zakopane Running Weekend in early summer by the ‘Falcon’ Polish Gymnastic Society (Polskie Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne ‘Sokół’), Zakopane Nest. The route of the run is about 32 kilometres and leads from Krupówki through Nosal and Jaworzynka Valley to the peaks of the Tatra ridge – Świnicka Pass, Liliowe, Beskid and Kasprowy Wierch.
  • The Babia Góra Ultramarathon and other runs are organised during the running weekend in Lipnica Wielka and Zawoja in August. During the event, you can try your strength in running events: Chaszczok – a run up Babia Góra at a distance of 8 kilometres, the Rising Sun Summer Run at a distance of 4.5 kilometres and 2xDevil’s Peak Race at a distance of 22 kilometres. You can also check your individual condition in the cycle of Żywiec Golden 50 runs, i.e., in the Pilsko Run, the Żar Run or the Rysianka Run.

In addition to fashionable mountain runs, Małopolska hosts numerous running events in the region’s larger and smaller towns and cities. The cycle of runs organised as part of the Tour de Małopolska is worth mentioning, along with the summer Tour de Małopolska Festival and the Myślenice Street Run. In Zakopane, the Run for Breath, Hasior Run, and the Wolf Tracks Cursed Soldiers Run are held regularly.

For those who have not yet managed to take part this year, we recommend runs organised in autumn. Among the most popular upcoming running events in Małopolska, these still await us:

  • The 21st Run to the Rysianka Peak, organised on 5 September, with a distance of 6 km. The start is planned in Żabnica Skałka and the finish on Hala Rysianka (1,322 m above sea level). The run is one of the events of the Golden 50 series of mountain runs in Żywiec.
  • Dycha pod Krokwią is a 10 km run on the running trails of the Central Sports Centre in Zakopane. Scheduled for 8 October, the run is organised by the ‘Flow’ Association for the Promotion of Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity.
  • The 4th Hasior Run is a 5-kilometre run organised by the Tatra Museum in Zakopane and commemorates Władysław Hasior – an outstanding sculptor. The downhill route is a tempting challenge to achieve extraordinary records.
  • Pearls of Małopolska is a series of sports events organised in the Małopolska region. The event aims to combine high-level sports rivalry with a form of a family picnic in the most beautiful places in Małopolska. The nearest dates are 19 September – Szczawnica, 24 October – Rabka-Zdrój.
  • The 100 Miles of the Island Beskids series consists of several runs of various distances, from 100 to 14 miles, and its message is to popularise and promote mountain running in the Island Beskids, in the range itself, and in Małopolska. The competition takes place in the spring and registration for next year is already underway

Almost every mountain range and every city in Małopolska has its own running competition.

Run virtually, too

Virtual runs are also becoming an increasingly popular form of pandemic running, where people can take part regardless of where they live, and walking or Nordic walking is often also allowed. So, it’s worth keeping fit regularly, to test your running ability and achieve new records.


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