If you want to truly understand someone, you have to be in someone else’s shoes and in this case you can say to be in someone’s running sneakers.
I believe that’s the case also when we are talking about Belgrade marathon – until you don’t stretch your shoelaces and don’t try to overcome those kilometers, you won’t be able to truly understand that euphoria and energy which is carried by that event let alone how can one single half-marathon change your whole life.
People can’t understand when I say that I hated running ever since, due to the fact of my long experience of a dozen ran half-marathons and several street races. Though I have always been active in different activities, I considered running as a sort of punishment. Until one day I realized that even the chubby neighbor has participated in Belgrade marathon (21km) and I was struggling on the second round of trim track in Košutnjak park.
That day I made a decision, out of pure spite, that I will be ready for the famous marathon next year. It took three years for me to become ready for it and ever since that moment, out of love towards that self-triumph feeling I participate in at least two marathons.
Reasons to come from 0 km to 21km?
Like I previously said, it took three years from the moment I thought that I would run a marathon until the very first half-marathon in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That wasn’t even the main target – Belgrade half-marathon. The reality was – I spend preparing myself for a month and a half, but I finally did it. Running came to me as therapy after I resigned, moved and ended a long-lasting relationship. To be honest I wasn’t physically the most prepared person for that attempt.
As time passes by, you realize you are never ready enough for the race, because you want your results to be as best as possible. It is not the question if you will end the race – it is considered. That is the most incredible feeling you may experience, a feeling of potential without any dilemma.
What did exactly changed and in which ways I changed?
Almost nothing has changed about my body, my shape is at a similar level – but within me, a winner was born and a scale of impossible obstacles rose to the top. There comes a moment when a circle round Ada Ciganlija is “only” one and that there is no questioning if you can run a half-marathon, there is only a question how fast you will be able to finish it.
Your point of view starts to changes, cities get new dimensions, obstacles become challenges not barriers and target becomes a pleasure regardless of the burden of the path.
How to get from 0 km to 21 km?
Still, I am not a fan of running and very often the thought of running seems very intense to me. I prefer to enjoy in hedonistic lifestyle and to relax than to work out on a regular basis, three times a week, but I will never give up the feeling which finished half-marathon provides, therefore I will be always prepared enough to finish one half-marathon. So, who knows, maybe one day I can finish a whole race of 42 km. I can assure you that almost everyone can finish a half-marathon in the given time which is a maximum of three hours and for that, you don’t need top preparations, only good will, healthier lifestyle and a functional body. For a better, than two hours result, you will have to work out more and for that, I propose to take advice from an expert.
While writing these lines, I am in an RV in Death Valley located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, in a race called The Speed Project. The team I run with for the last three years Belgrade Urban Running Team has been invited to represent Serbia between 50 world running teams on one of the most extreme relay races.
Our mission is to run 550 km, the distance between these two cities, as soon as possible. Our goal is to make this possible in a period of less than 44 hours. Team build out of 10 Belgrade runners, one RV, two cars and 4 additional members and one of them is me.
If someone told me three years ago that I will find myself in this particular situation I would probably think that I have a vivid imagination. Nowadays, I have experienced half-marathons in all capital cities of former Yugoslavia, I have participated in the biggest race in Washington, D.C., half-marathons in Cologne and Barcelona and several others. However, I won’t stop participating.
Remembering my timid running beginnings, during one of the biggest adventures in my life I can say that the best thing you will do for yourselves is to overcome situations and things which are useful for you, but you don’t feel like doing. Wash those dishes, eat something less tasty but healthy, work out, shake out those carpets, at least run The Pleasure Race of 5km in Belgrade this year. I can assure you that your life will instantly become much better. You won’t be bothered by the closed streets on 14th of April, you will have the will and understanding for tourists and runners, the city will become different and the streets of Belgrade will be yours.
So, who knows, maybe next year you will run a half-marathon. I am not saying you have to, running is only of the activities which may ennoble your life, find the source of your inner fuel and move the boundaries of impossibility.