Reading time: about 6 minutes


We are shocked by the news that reached us last night. On 11 April 2023, after six months of convalescence due to heart surgery, the competitor of the first edition of Race Around Poland, Marcin Karłowski, set off on his last bicycle tour with friends. He was beaten 30 km from home by a heart attack. Marcin died practising a sport he loved so much that he could not give it up despite being aware of the risks. He left behind a wife and two daughters. He had recently become a grandfather. We extend our condolences to all his loved ones.

Marcin is an extraordinary character. He started his sporting career in strength sports, only to switch to MTB cycling. Powerfully built and strong, he later found his passion in road cycling and covering increasingly long distances on his bike. As he said in an interview he gave in 2019 after having ridden the Baltic Bieszczady Tour 1008 km (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnHxZgweKFI) as a person who had been involved in sport professionally for a while, it was difficult for him to get rid of his competitive spirit and give up on overcoming more challenges even after he retired from professional sport.

As for the Race Around Poland, he will be remembered as the winner of seventh place in the 2021 edition in the solo unsupported category after covering 1185 km in a time of 89:24:56, and a radiant man with positive energy and a smile. He was given the #19 start number for life - no one will ever, at any future RAP edition, receive it again. In May 2022, he wrote to us that he intends to run Paris-Brest-Paris 2023.

In addition to Race Around Poland, Marcin has completed iconic Polish ultra cycling events: the Maraton Rowerowy Dookoła Polski Zachód, the North-South Marathon, the Bałtyk Bieszczady Tour 1008, the Beautiful East or the Ring of a Thousand Lakes.

On 27 October 2022, he informed his friends and acquaintances on FB that he had suffered a heart attack and appealed to them to be careful and undergo periodic examinations. We are sure that he would have wanted his appeal and warning to reach the widest possible range of people practising endurance sports and thinking that they are specimens of health. In this particular situation, we believe that this is even more important than ever, which is why we give him the floor at the end of this short farewell. Goodbye Marcin! See you on the other side of the rainbow!

27.10.2022 - Marcin Karlowski FB profile:

"Hello everyone

The day of summaries has arrived as it turns out, not only of 2022 but of my entire participation in cycling/cycling ULTRA distances.

Many of you are fairly up to date with the situation I'm in at the moment, but as a significant number of friends are from outside of where I live I feel obliged to have a few words to post.

As you know, I come from a sporting background and it was at the instigation of my friends that the bicycle took on quite an important role in my active life. Due to the fact that I still have a hint of rivalry in me, I have chosen the way of overcoming my own weaknesses, achieving higher and higher goals and "suspending" subsequent bars.

This is how I found myself at the start of a series of events organised by Czesław Lang, Skandia Maraton MTB, in which I participated for several years. Of course, I wasn't competing with the best because, with my figure riding the same route, I decided to be the background for all those who were completing the route before me. As I said, I was the background, but to myself I was a guest who, step by step, fulfilled my resolutions, pushing my own limits, which gave me great satisfaction.

After a few years, I was persuaded by friends to switch to a road bike. Due to my physical conditions I did not participate in the cyclical "meetings" of cyclists from Częstochowa and its vicinity. I found my place in conquering distances which, at first, I could not imagine. 300, 500, 600 and more than 1000 km in a limited time became another challenge in which I found myself. I got to know my strengths and weaknesses.

I realised tasks that are as unimaginable for many people as they used to be for me. I prepared myself for the successive competitions in which I took part and so on for more than ten years.

This year, I completed, among others, two Ultra bicycle marathons over 1000 km, Bałtyk Bieszczady Tour and Maraton Rowerowy Dookoła Polski odcinek Zachód, which I reported about on the portal.

Why am I writing about it again?

And here we come to the crux of the matter. I completed my last ultra in good health on 27.09.2022. Unfortunately, on the morning of 30.09.2022 I was taken from home by the emergency room with a diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. As it turned out later, it was the second heart attack that affected me (I didn't know about the first one at all).

This time it ended with an open-heart operation in a hospital in Katowice Ochojce.  All in all, I managed to come back from the most difficult marathon I had not planned at all.

Dear friends, I am writing about this not to lament or feel sorry for me - that is not the point of my message.

Many of you were surprised that a guy who is very active in sports, doesn't smoke, drinks alcohol very rarely and eats well can get into this kind of trouble. Well, until then I thought that my only visits to the doctor were the ophthalmologis and dentist. After all, I am healthy.

Friends, acquaintances living a normal life but, like me, involved in amateur sport, often in the extreme category, please pay attention to periodic examinations to check at least a minimum of your organism.

As an affiliated athlete, we are often under medical supervision, but when we move into amateur sport, these "medical check-ups" are rather out of place. I have covered great distances, as in my case, under great strain without feeling the slightest symptom of a lurking danger. When taking part in competitions, we usually sign a document stating that we are taking part at our own risk....LET'S REDUCE THAT RISK - EXERCISE AND CONTROL OUR OWN ORGANISM

Unfortunately, I rather have to leave active starts in Ultra events in my memories. Memories that are very pleasant. At each event I was able to meet interesting and very positive people, both starters and organisers. I would therefore like to say a big thank you to all my friends from the Ultra routes. I am not giving up my bike and I hope that maybe not on the Ultra distance, but we will meet again maybe as a help in organising, maybe as a volunteer, or maybe on a shorter distance e.g. 200km 😊.

Thank you all and sincere greetings.

P.S. in my edition "cordial greetings" has a new dimension 😊"

  • Author: Mateusz Przygodzki
  • Date: 25.06.2024