Budapest Marathon, 1998 (© Photo: Getty Images, Stu Forster /Allsport)
Although the exercises of the medieval ruling class were already very similar to the sport in the modern sense, we cannot speak of organised athletics in Hungary until the middle of the 19th century. The Hungarian who introduced the sport was Count Miksa Esterházy, who published long series of articles to promote athletics. In November 1874, the count presented the statutes of the association to be established at the National Riding School, and the Hungarian Athletics Club (MAC), the first athletic association on the continent, was formed a few months later. On 6 May 1875, MAC organised the first public athletics competition of the European continent in Budapest.
The inaugural general assembly of the Hungarian Athletics Association (MASZ) took place on 21 March 21 1897, but Hungarian athletes had already taken part in the first modern Olympics in 1896, with great success. International successes came continuously, Hungarian athletics reached its first peak between the two world wars. The second can be traced back to the 1950s, and technical advances allowed for an ever-higher standard of preparation and racing in the country. The Hungarian middle and long-distance runners became world famous, and our throwing athletes were also at the forefront.
The sport, which has played a decisive role in domestic and international sports since the first modern Olympics, contributed to the success of Hungarian sports with 10 Olympic champions, world championships podium finishers, an indoor world champion, more than 20 European champions, world and European record-holders and winners of major competitions.
Budapest, Hungary, has successfully hosted several major athletics competitions. In addition to senior competitions, it also played a prominent role in organising U18 competitions.
The list of athletics events organised in Hungary is quite illustrative:
- 1966, Budapest: European Championships
- 1983, Budapest: European Indoor Championships
- 1988, Budapest: European Indoor Championships
- 1989, Budapest: World Indoor Championships
- 1994, Budapest: World Athletics Cross Country Championships
- 1995, Nyíregyháza: European U18 Championships
- 1998, Budapest: European Championships
- 2001, Debrecen: World U18 Championships
- 2003, 2004,2005, Szombathely: World Athletics Final - Hammer Throw
- 2004, Budapest: World Indoor Championships
- 2006, Debrecen: World Road Running Championships
- 2007, Debrecen: European U23 Championships
- 2010, Nyíregyháza: European Veteran Championships
- 2012, Budapest - Szentendre: European Cross Country Championships
- 2014, Budapest: World Masters Indoor Championships
- 2018, Győr: European U18 Championships
- Budapest Grand Prix
- Budapest Mobil Grand Prix
- István Gyulai Memorial - Hungarian Athletics Grand Prix