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Blog / / How I started trail running?
BLOG
How I started trail running?
Marathon runner! This is how my friends and colleagues often introduce me to others. Yes, it's true that I've run about a hundred half-marathons and marathons because I've been training athletics since elementary school. I still run medium and long distances, but what defines me the most at the moment is trail running, which I fell in love with over time.

Sometimes I wonder myself how it started. I like to say that our Vršac mountain with the highest peak of Vojvodina played a significant role. The mountaineering society suggested that I participate in hiking tours with them, which led me to my first trail running competition, Orienteering Cross, back in 1994. It was the first time I won first place and gold medal.

In the following years, I devoted myself to half-marathons and marathons with the desire to break personal records, but the mountain patiently waited for me. I started competing in the Trekking League in 2010, and then I followed the trend that was developing because, in addition to street races, there were more and more mountain races, the so-called trail races. Mountains have always inspired me because every mountain has its own spirit and I like to respond to each mountain with what it asks of me. I calm down, listen, and then I accelerate to overcome even the strongest climbs in different weather conditions. And they are that special thing that inspires me because sometimes you can experience all four seasons in just a few hours. Physical fitness is a must and that's why I exercise regularly, both running and strength exercises, because a medal is won while exercising, and in the race you just go to get it. In order to finish the race and get a medal, my fitness needs to be at the required level, and this can only be achieved through regular exercising, so there is no preparation before the race itself; before the race, you need to rest. During the week, I run speed training on shorter tracks several times, while weekends are reserved for long training and a mandatory visit to the mountain. The sight of sneakers smeared with mud after running 15 kilometres is one of the things I love to see the most.

However, whether you're going after the medal, or just to finish the race, there's always that one person who you have to beat, and that's yourself, and that requires an additional mental strength characterized by extraordinary tenacity and dedication. My fellow runners who watch me from the side say that just before the race I like to be alone while they take selfies. Those few minutes during which I completely focus on the goal mean a lot to me. And then they say that they can recognize me from a great distance, because I am heading towards the goal with my head slightly tilted to one side and in a world of my own. So, in a way, mountain is my food for the soul, but proper and varied diet is very important for trail running. So I eat everything and I don't skip meals and, you know, I always, always eat everything on my plate.

We often hear that accomplishing of a task or activity depends on people, and it is the same with trail running. What especially got me hooked is the energy that can be felt during the races, but also all the socializing surrounding the races. There are rivals, of course, but I would say it is somehow different, because if an injury occurs on the track, if someone even thinks that you are not feeling well, they will stop, help, give you energy, either with a few words of support, or maybe with a sachet of magnesium. The result in such moments is unimportant to anyone, what is important is to support and help a friend.

The walls next to my treadmill (I'm also preparing for such conditions 😊) are decorated with medals from trail races, and I especially like the finisher's medal from the Mont Blanc. I chose the best trail races in order to qualify for the ‘Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc’, which is the most demanding and largest race (by the number of participants) of its kind in Europe. I finished the 101 kilometres long race in the 318th place out of a total of 2200 competitors and as one of two runners from our country.

This is a kind of crown in my trail running career, but I didn't stop there, I will keep going, I exercise hard every other day because I want to win over myself again and again. That's how I stay motivated to be a better version of myself every day!
AUTHOR
Dalibor Aleksić
operator in sterile production at Hemofarm AD