A serendipitous adventure for vintage cameras in the Czech Republic

It was my second time to Brno, I had spent an afternoon in Brno the previous month and thought I had seen everything I needed to in town. I decided to make a second trip on an offer from a friend, Jiří, who graciously offered to take me around his favorite spots in town.  During the first evening, we ended up heading to one of his jobs at an upscale Hookah bar. This is where he introduced me to  Eliška, a budding local photographer that just graduated university. She took one look at my camera and we instantly started geeking out, the rest of the night was over photography and unusual and cool things to check out when in Brno. She said if I am interested in vintage cameras, I need to check out the Café Flexaret just outside of the city center.

CafeFlexaret in Brno, Czech Republic – A vintage camera themed cafe for camera and coffee lovers alike.

Cafe Flexaret
Kopečná 2/21
Brno, Czech Republic 602 00
Highlights info row image
+420 530 341 628

I arrived at the cafe the next day, unsure what to expect. The cafe has a vintage diner feel with large display cases full of old cameras and and Flexaret branded TLRs (Twin Lens Reflex) . I had never heard of Flexaret before, but Eliška later explained that this is a Czech camera brand that was made in the former Czechoslovakia, which peaked my interested. Being a camera themed coffee shop, we spent the afternoon flipping through an encyclopedia of vintage cameras, day dreaming about what kind we would collect if we had infinite money (and storage space). One thing led to another and told me there’s another shop that I must check out that sells some old TLR’s that I might be interested in.

Antikfoto
Antikfoto – Brno, Czech Republic

ANTIKFOTO (BAZAR)
Kounicova 31, Brno 602 00
Tel .: +420 541 213 129
E-mail: [email protected]
Open: Mon-Fri 9.00-12.00, 13.00-17.00

Entering Antikfoto, you are instantly greeted by large glass shelves filled with old film and digital cameras, barrels of camera covers and a workbench where the owner works on camera repairs. It was like a little museum with the carefully laid out displays, loads of photography memorabilia including vintage pins from photography conferences and camera brands. I spent the afternoon looking through the display cases and knew I could not leave without making some sort of a purchase here. A day well spent, Eliška and I both ended up walking out with cameras from Eastern Europe. 

Flexaret IIa TLR
Flexaret IIa TLR

A very nice shop to check out if your journey takes you out to Brno, Czech Republic. There are not the lightest souvenirs to bring home, but there’s a satisfaction in finding these little gems while you are backpacking across Europe.

Team RADepilliar [8] Race report & Reflections

Race report & Reflections

All of the training paid off, we were able to finish with an official completion time of 4:53:33, which was 10 minutes faster than the previous record! We can honestly say this was one of the best experiences of our running career, to be running with folks in another Country and have them waiving and reacting to our costume while running. Some of our favorite memories of the run:

  • Mile 14 is where things got real. There was a lot of pain, and the reality of having to finish 10 more miles to go
  • Run/Walk schedule was important for this marathon, it’s difficult to run so close together
  • The look on the little kids faces when they saw the caterpillar comping up! Some of them just lost it and started dancing around and waiving their hands!
  • Crowds. The fine folks of Berlin at every corner of the run cheering us on.
  • Running into other runners from home, making it feel like such a small world.

We’re blessed to have had such a wonderful experience at the 2017 Berlin Marathon. Thank you to all of our friends and family that have helped us out along the way, our crazy Dog Haus Run Club and everyone else who thought we could pull off this whacky run record.

Team RADepillar [5] Training for the Berlin marathon in the costume

In order to give breaking the current Guinness World Record (4 person marathon in a costume [previous time was 5:10]) a try, a few training runs would be required to work out the kinks of the costume. The real challenge here was keeping all 4 teammates training for running a regular marathon, and making time to try out these test costume runs. Everyone’s schedules were erratic, so we would frequently have to swap out runners for other friends that were crazy enough to run with us.

Luckily the 4 of us were already accustomed to a marathon training schedules, so it would be a matter of incorporating some mileage in with the costume on. We would run our normal weekly workouts, and on the weekends we would throw in a few miles with the costume during the long runs:

  • 3 mile short run- prototype run
  • 8 mile long run – 6 miles regular, 3 miles in costume
  • 16 mile long run – 8 miles in costume, followed by 8 miles regular run
  • 3 mile short run – dress rehearsal before the marathon
  • 1 mile test run – day before the Berlin Marathon (make sure the thing didn’t fall apart!)

Total training miles while in costume: 19miles (~30k)

We definitely got some funny looks running around, especially during a training run around the Rose Bowl where one of the eyeballs fell off! We learned to not use hot glue gun in California weather races, and fixed this with the help of liquid nails. A few lessons learned we gained from the training runs:

    • Backpacks – Good for distributing the weight of the costume
    • Modify the suspenders to be shorter
    • Running cadence, we found a way to “sync” up our feet if we kicked each other too much
    • Hot glue gun isn’t strong enough (use liquid nails) for running costumes

All in all, the hardest part was trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules and get a few good runs in.