Imperial College Cross Country and Athletics team won a superb silver trophy at the Economic Five Race in Poznań, Poland, on Sunday 7th April, adding to their 2019 collection of successes.
On Friday 5th April, 12 of their finest runners took an early plane to Poznań, one of Poland’s major cities. At the pub in Stansted Airport, the theme of the trip was set: some running, a sprinkle of sight-seeing, high class meals in top restaurants and of course, enjoying local beverages!
After a two-hour flight, the team arrived at its five-star accommodation. ICXC was kindly hosted by the Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu (Poznań’s equivalent to LSE) in their student houses for three nights. It was an honour to be invited by the former Polish Olympic Athlete, Rafal Wieruszewski, to take part in the 9th edition of the Economic Five Race organised by the University of Poznań. Upon arrival, bags were quickly unpacked, and it was time to explore!
All the Poznań rumours are proven right: it is a young and dynamic city with a subtle mix of Renaissance buildings, Art Deco streets, and Communist-era austere infrastructure. Amazed by the main square, Stary Rynek, and its town hall, the team practiced their pronunciation of ‘Ile kosztuje piwo?’ (‘piwo’ means ‘beer’), whilst enjoying the spring sun for the rest of the afternoon. Their first dinner was was a traste of rich and appetizing traditional Central European food, all for the price of a sandwich from the JCR! It was then time to hit the Polish pubs on an eventful night-out.
The next morning. for the early birds amongst them, the Citadel Park provided a perfect spot for a short jog and a yoga session in the grass. The awakened team then went to the city centre for breakfast, composed of famous ‘Rogale Swietomarcinskie’, or Saint Martin croissant. The cultural experience moved from their mouths to their ears as they attended a traditional dance and music performance. Their exploration continued on the Cathedral Island, which saw the formation of the Polish state. Next stop was the hipster neighbourhood of Srodka, on the other side of the Warna River. Another hearty dinner around a massive wood table welded the team together before going to bed for a nice long rest.
Sunday was race day and everyone loaded up with carbs from a homecooked porridge. The team arrived at Lake Matla, along which the 5 km race was to take place. They received their racing packs containing a towel and a beer. At 12 sharp, they and 800 other runners from all around Poland began a flat and fast 5 km lap around the lake. One mile before the finish line, they were all very pleased to see their own photographer Willy Bonneuil, who was unfortunately injured and not in the race, cheering them on.
Matt Ryan led the team with an amazing pace, completing the race in 17:47 and securing a strong first place for an International competitor. Fresher Lea Adamson brought back a 1st place for Imperial in the International Womens, followed by Kay Raftery. ICXCAC’s ladies all ran great times with Marie Jones, Maryna Voloshyna, and Lisa Hey all scoring personal bests.
The biggest moment of glory came when ICXCAC was announced, with a strong Polish accent, to be the second-best team of the race. Matt Ryan, Jim Warren, Aymeric Regnier, Mihai Vanea, Thomas Deronzier and Lawrence Tse climbed on the podium to raise high their silver trophy! After an extensive photoshoot, the team headed to a quiet restaurant for a traditional post-race meal.
Their last evening in Poland was devoted to the celebration of their morning successes. Following a final king-like dinner together, the team took over the ‘beer and vodka’ bar for an unexpected karaoke night. Once given the microphone, top hits from socials back in London were sung, giving Poznań a taste of a night-out iat The Slug! They chanted, until the early hours of the morning, songs in both English and Polish to the delight of all the pub.
Trophies survived the night-out and were safely packed to bring home.
At the end of the long weekend, some members had to fly back the next morning, with revision waiting for them back in grey London. The others enjoyed a nice relaxing day in Poznań, making the most of the sunny Old Market Square, its restaurants and bars, and the Easter market before saying their goodbyes to their very welcoming hosts.