Wooden skis, leather straps and traditional regional outfits reigned over Górna Równia Krupowa on Saturday, February 24. 52 contestants participated in a cross-country race to memorialize Mieczysław Król-Łęgowski. As many as 20 runners put on the garments and equipment from before 1970.
The cross-country ski race “From Barabbas to now” turned out to be the main attraction of an event devoted to the memory of an acclaimed artist and collector from Zakopane. The spectators cheered for 20 participants who raced on the 100-meter distance, wearing outfits and using skiing gear from before 1970s, such as wooden skis, bamboo poles and vintage leather ski boots. What’s interesting, the most popular category was the one represented by female runners over 50.
The classic cross-country races included an 8-kilometer distance for men, a 4-kilometer distance for women and a 2-kilometer distance for children. The winners of the competition were Urszula Łętocha, who unquestionably outclassed her rivals, and Andrzej Pradzad, who gained a narrow winning margin over an excellent ultra marathon runner, Robert Faron.
In the end, however, the sports aspect was far from the most significant. The organizers’ plan was to commemorate the memory of Mieczysław Król-Łęgowski and support the Myeloma Treatment Centre Foundation in Kraków.
„We all want to be remembered. We all want to achieve something and live on in the memory of future generations. Mietek couldn’t deserve it more. He had fought his illness daily for many years, not only able to face all the difficulties himself but also to make other people laugh. He sculpted, painted, and collected skis. He loved everyone around him”, commented a friend of the event’s patron, Rafał Sonik, who along with Kornelia Król-Łęgowska, was the motivating force behind the tournament.
The organizers’ wish is to turn the competition on Górna Równia Krupowa into one of the main winter attractions in the Tatras. The idea is to offer continuous, annual support to the Myeloma Treatment Centre Foundation and keep the memory of Mieczysław Król-Łęgowski alive.
„Mietek was a solid fellow. An artist, a blacksmith, a poet, a skier, plus he had collected ski equipment that could fill a museum. We pulled out our skiing gear to honor our beloved Mietus”, said Józefa Chromik, one of the participants in the retro run.
There is a big chance that the event will be organized on regular basis due to popular interest and a big turnout of fans. Besides participating in ski races, there was a chance to take a dog sled ride, meet Józef Łuszczek, a cross-country skiing medallist in Lahti in the 15-kilometer classic run, or strike up a conversation with the Dakar champion, Rafał Sonik. A special tent was set up to showcase the most valuable skies from Mieczysław Król-Łęgowski’s vast collection.
A separate play area for children offered snow games and activities organized by the Fabryka Marzeń (Dream Factory) Foundation.