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Friday, 21 June 2013 12:49

Urban race in the town of Sinj

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I admit, I've turned into a real office book worm!
I spend the whole of my working day staring at a computer screen, surrounded by tons of paper, the only physical activity the one when at 10.30 I leave the office to have my lunch, taking some 50 steps to my favourite coffee bar where my thoughts become clear as I take a fresh dose of caffeine and nicotine. Does it sound familiar to you?

And so, one day I got an invitation from the most amiable Director of the Sinj Tourist Board to join some sort of urban race, to be fair, I didn't quite understand her, but I accepted it so that I wouldn't make myself rude. I took her so seriously that I forgot almost everything before I even turned the next corner, however, the Director wouldn't let her get confused so I received reminders more than once a day, and of course, all the emails, SMSs and calls contained lists of new candidates.
So many familiar and likable faces and guys – yes, she managed to talk me into doing it!
This shouldn't be missed. Still, it's the First!


Our Sinj is a small place, more or less almost all people know each other, and when you happen to see someone who hasn't run for a long time suddenly jogging all around the town, then you know for real that something is about to happen! It has all become serious, people buying sports equipment, new trainers running all on their own, mobile phone purses just in case, whereas those cool water bottles and some secret magical drinks have also been taken care of... As for nutritionist or culinary exhibitionism interventions, I really don't know if there were any! Let's keep it a secret. The week simply flew by, in the blink of an eye, and here comes Saturday! It's the race day! The sunny morning at last, a pleasant temperature and, believe me, after those dull rainy days it's high time we went for a walk, or did any other physical activity...

While some competitors were stretching and running to and fro before the start of the race, I took the time to have my coffee, light a cigarette and thumb through newspapers. I yawned, stretched a bit, paid my bill, and slowly, with light step I made my way towards the start. I can do it! With full equipment on, a pair of old shabby Converse All Star trainers, cut off jeans, and a mobile in my pocket.

Aerodynamic, Bolt can't hold a candle to me – just wait till I become wide awake!
Taking an easy walk through the town park I reach the starting line, and all over the place there are volunteers running and gathering the registered competitors, adding the new ones, giving information about the race, in fact everything is so lively that it looks unreal. Folk both local and foreign, a miracle indeed! If someone was to tell me about this, I wouldn't really believe them. This project has been taken very seriously, it has the best chances to work out!
When you happen to see someone you've known for all your life – wearing a tracksuit and trainers, with full sports equipment – the atmosphere automatically becomes very lively, everybody is ready to pose for photographs – just keep smiling! Whole young families, mums and dads, sports enthusiasts, mountaineers, both amateur and professional sportsmen and sportswomen, curious folk,all the dignified ladies of our town – yeees, they all competed in the Saturday race, plus of course, our dear guests from Split, Makarska, Opuzen and Dubrovnik.

And so, in that big crowd of familiar and unfamiliar faces I found a gang not really in the mood for stepping on the gas, running and testing its capacity to the utmost limits. The decision was to take a quick walk and, of course, to stick to the strictly defined tasks waiting for us in the true challenge like this one. We were also given the race T-shirts as well as all the necessary amounts of water so as not to get dizzy spells on the way, 'cause you never know! As 10 o'clock was approaching, the organisers were so kind as to show us our way to the starting line, repeating briefly the directions and rules.

All of a sudden the race started!


Since I'm not a kind of an expert in sports journalism or journalism in general, I'll just list the given tasks! First, we were supposed to climb the Old Town and on the checkpoint there answer a few the Sinj history-related questions, if you're wrong, you lose your points. After that we had to run downhill to the town centre to find out what is the price of a certain drink in a certain popular night club, and when you've had a signature there, rush to the Alkar hotel to find out how much is an overnight stay there.
Then run across the park to get to a basketball court where you are supposed to hit two free throws. I've got to boast, my hand didn't fail me, as an ex-basketball player I'm really good at shots, unfortunately that wasn't the case with my companions so here we lost a few points!
Now look here! The following task was to go to the Sinj peškarija (marketplace) and to find out how much is the kilo of pilchard. The problem is that people in Sinj buy and prepare pilchard and fish in general only on Fridays. By means of connections and with the help of Mr Bribe and Ms Corruption we found out what is the real price, we even got a discount! Twenty a kilo, 10 for you! Fair enough?!
Fair enough! Sold!

Well, what we had to do now was go back to the park and take a photo on the fountain. Here we lost a lot of time 'cause we got carried away by taking photos, you know, the digital generation, social networks... Then we ran towards the fire station in another part of the town. How that happened, even now I can't get it, we simply dashed. We were so fast while on the fire tower that we almost got a job there. Under the violent explosion of adrenaline, we kindly thanked them and dashed again towards our running track and a rugby ground. Kate's girl could hardly wait for this task as her dad is a veteran rugby player. This time's task was –hitting that egg-like ball over that giant goal. Auntie Nada at one go, I brought it off too, and Kate's girl hit a goalpost so forcibly that the goal almost fell down. Still, the ball passed through, 3:0 for Our Team! The last task performed, there's still more than half an hour to the end of the race. In a lordly manner, slowly and with light step, we reached the winning post, sprinting for it as a formality – the whole 25 metres! And we weren't last to come, let it be known!

While waiting for the results and summing up our impressions, we found out that in an hour and a half we had travelled nearly 7 kilometres, whereas fatigue, tiredness or anything similar we didn't even feel. It's hard to describe the feeling of satisfaction. Really usefully spent two hours; so much better than lying around in coffee bars on Saturdays.
And it was exactly here that I've come to the point and to a good question for my fellow townspeople!
So look, today it's Saturday, it's a beautiful day, the sunny one, not too hot, a light breeze is blowing, nature is in full bloom, it's calming all that green, everybody is free and coffee bars are full. Bravo for the Sinj coffee bar owners and their workers, they must've made and served at least 20,000 cups of coffee on Saturday morning in the centre of my favourite town. What I also know it's that everybody was griping about the fact that things are going badly and that nothing ever happens in the town, and believe me, they all treated all the participants of the Challenge to some comments, ill-intentioned and mocking!
Not all, however, commented in this way, it needs to be said so that everyone wouldn't feel offended. There were also lots of those who sincerely regretted that they didn't come themselves, with their children, grandchildren, etc. It was a long winter as well as these long dull rainy days. Now I'm turning into a poet: We started running in spring calling summer!
However it may be, things like this should be organised far more often. It's indeed a healthy kind of entertainment! This year's best spent two hours!
Whole organisation went like clockwork, as for the participants, you couldn't decide who's a better man; you could feel positive vibes and chemistry in the air, marvellous and healthy entertainment for all!

I am from Sinj, but I always discover again and again how much our town is beautiful!
And not to mention the after party and feast! Well, this is something I won't tell you about– start getting ready for the next year!

Written by: Mario Despotović
Photos by: Ilija Veselica

For more information about Sinj, visit official Sinj Tourist Board web site.

Read 141876 times Last modified on Monday, 07 October 2013 08:50

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