When I recently moved to a new flat, there was but one thing on my mind-and it had nothing to do with the flat itself. It just had to be close to Margaret Island and its 5.35 kilometres of magnificent polyurethane running track. Making one full circle around the island’s outer edge, the track runs under leafy trees, thus providing shelter even in hot weather, has splendid views of the Danube and is also blessed with a pleasant river breeze.
The ever-changing scenery and the clearly marked milestones make it the perfect choice for a beginner, with the 5 kilometre initial target (locally known as the ‘szigetkör’, or the ‘island circuit’) being fairly easy to reach with a bit of perseverance. The well maintained polyurethane surface is also kind on the knees and joints- if you’re on the island for other purposes, please try to protect it, and avoid riding over it with bikes or stepping on it with shoes that can damage it.
For more seasoned runners, it’s about piling ever more full circles, and if you run often enough at the same time of the day (summer dawn is my personal favourite, with the pink sky brightening over the lazy river), you’ll start to recognize the same people, the island’s faithful tribe, some running alone, others in small groups, perhaps accompanied by dogs or pushing a baby carriage- the Margaret Island track welcomes everyone, irrespective of their lap times or running competence.