The March along the Barbed Wire was first organised in 1957 running on the almost 35 km long path around Ljubljana where during the Second World War a barbed wire fence was erected by Italian and, later, German occupation forces. Recently, the number of participants, who decide whether to march or run, is increasing and it has more than doubled in the last decade (36,828 in 2016; maximum > 100,000 in 70-ies and 80-ies). Every year the event is organized at the end of the week in early May, when the Municipality of Ljubljana celebrates Day of Peace, now also a Europe Day.
By its tradition the grand opening starts with the march of preschool children. It is followed by a march of pupils from primary schools and secondary schools on Friday. The march is the most crowded on Saturday. It is designed in such way that all the participants (more or less fit) can join it. They can choose the route length between 3 and 35 km and therefore adjust the distance according to their ability. There is no entrance fee for the march. Each participant can register on one of the input control points, where control card for collecting the control stamps are given. The only defined rule is clockwise direction of the walking. After finishing the route, every marcher then gets a badge or a medal, if he/she completed the entire route. One of activities on Saturday is “Three-Member Team Run”, 12.5 or 29 km long in men/women and senior categories and 3 km of primary and secondary schools. It is a unique running event during which the threesome has to constantly run together and the time of the last member crossing the finish line is taken into account. Such a competition encourages mutual assistance and solidarity among runners as the time of the weakest member of the team counts and so the other two teammates who are perhaps better prepared have to help, encourage and motivate the third one.
Otherwise, this path (“The Path of Remembrance and Comradeship”) is very popular daily recreational zone all year round. The path is 4m wide, almost 33 km long and covered with gravel. Along the green area adjacent to the path, 7,400 trees of 49 tree species have been planted. The most popular form of recreation on the path is walking and jogging. Cycling is also permitted with standard wheels on condition that pedestrians are not endangered. During snowy winters, also cross-country ski tracks are provided at some parts. The Path of Remembrance and Comradeship was proclaimed by a City Council decree in 1988 as a unique historical monument of landscaped nature and is outstanding even by world standards.
Results and impact
Besides the memory of the liberation of Ljubljana (9th May 1945) the event also wants to promote a healthy lifestyle and also has a social dimension. It includes people of all ages, from preschool children to pensioners. They can choose the route length between 3 and 33 km and therefore adjust the distance according to their ability. The detailed statistics from year 2000 on is available. In majority of Ljubljana kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools this is regular annual activity for obliged sports day.
This very popular path leads mostly through suburban cultural landscape (fields, meadows, city parks), partly also through the woods. It is used for the daily recreation all year, partly equipped with open fitness devices, street workout installations and also with some drinking fountains. In many parts it is designed as a promenade with trees along one or both sides of the path, preventing summer heat and enabling its use even in hot sunny days (most crowded is in the late afternoon and evening hours). A society called Green ring (Zeleni prstan) takes care for its maintenance (working and cleaning actions) and development measures, financed partly by municipality and also with donations and membership fees.
Type of activity
Physical actives in natural and cultural ecosystems