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The unique cross-border Marathon of Romania and Bulgaria!
The unique cross-border Marathon of Romania and Bulgaria!

The unique cross-border Marathon of Romania and Bulgaria!

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I tried to work on this article for a while now. I finally found the time to tell you about an unique event for both Romanians and Bulgarians. Who am I? An experienced Blogger from Constanța town, Romania. This event is called Via Pontica and it happened on the 4th of September 2016, exactly a week ago.

This is the first event of this sort organised by Bulgarian parties (Green Foot Club) with the help of a few Romanian volunteers. It started as a simple idea, a suggestion among friends, and it became a reality, thus representing a first for such an Event in the history of Romania and in the history of Bulgaria. To my knowledge this is the first ever cross-border Marathon happening in Romania/Bulgaria. So we should also thank the Bulgarian and the Romanian border authorities for allowing this! It’s indeed an unique opportunity.

I’m writing this in English for our Bulgarian neighbors and all the data I have for this event is gathered via Oana Petrese – my girlfriend – that was one of the volunteers. She was the cute and curly one that was taking your picture when you entered the Romanian borders, hugging you and cheering you along the way in your beautiful race like nothing I have ever seen in this region.

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As I saw on the official Facebook page of the event, on the Bulgarian side there was a lot of commotion for this event. A lot of volunteers, body painting, lots of refreshments, lots of photographers and a general joy! The Romanian party lacked a lot of things, because of poor advertising of this event. We generally – people from Constanța – are very involved in such events. I also heard that a national TV station (Digi 24) was mildly interested in this event but they refused to show up because…it was too early in the morning for them. Again, for such a huge event, there should’ve been a lot more commotion around the subject. But, the runners had fun and they were smiling all the way.

Via Pontica meant four things: A Marathon, a Semi-Marathon, a 13 Km race and a Kids Race of 2 Km. In total, we saw about 138 people enlisted for all events. So it was not a big race, but it was the biggest and boldest in terms of uniqueness. For the Marathon we see on the official website a number of 51 registered runners (40 men, 11 women), for the Semi-Marathon we have 46 registered runners (33 men, 13 women), for the 13 Km race we have a number of 25 registered runners (9 men, 16 women) and for the Kids Race of 2 Km we have a number of 16 registered runners.

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The starting point was a beach near Krapeț village in Bulgaria. From there you could run on a dirt road, with a beautiful view of the Sea. Everybody was very happy about that. Then you would run along the edge of Durankulak Lake and forward to the last beaches in Bulgaria. Then you would deviate from the beach and enter the road toward the border. From there you would go through Vama Veche in Romania and end up in 2 Mai village from were you would return back on route to Bulgaria.

Our volunteers were impressed by the level of logistics for such a race, telling us that they had never seen such a richness of protocol on local or national races. And they’ve participated in a lot of them. You had a lot of alternatives for hydration like watermelons, cucumbers and salt, Isotonic or even raisins and much more.

Dacian Ghizilă, a Romanian runner, won second place at the Semi-Marathon. He declared that it was a fun race but not an easy one. Before entering Romania, he ran for about a kilometer or two on sand and he found that pretty hard to do. Harder than our own Sand Marathon. Ionuț Petcu, another runner from Constanța won 10th place in the Marathon (his second Marathon). He said he was cheered in Bulgaria and in the village of 2 Mai in Romania but that the people from Vama Veche were just staring, not clapping or anything, although he always carries around the Romanian flag with him in every race. He was hoping for a much more appreciation from the Romanian side.

Apetroaie Vasile won 1st place in the 13 Km race. Other runners from Romania were: Chiriță Cosmin (Mangalia), Sima Sorin (Constanța), Ion Victor (Constanța), Gavrilescu Marian, Bumbaru Marin (Mangalia), Abdula Esin (Mangalia), Petru-Andrei Condura (Constanța), Damian Vlad and Căpitanu Carmina (Mangalia).

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The absolute winner of the race was Tanya Dimitrova, the 35 year old Bulgarian runner that finished first place in the Marathon with a time of 3 hours, 32 minutes and 58 seconds. So it’s 1-0 for Bulgaria and we do demand a rematch for such a beautiful competition!

Meanwhile, on the Romanian side of the border, I was telling you about a few volunteers from Constanța town. They were: Oana Petrese, Luiza Petcu, Adrian Florin, Lorelei Talmaci and Gabriel. They were joined by three additional volunteers from the Bulgarian side. Their coordinator was Ivan Radev, a key partner of the event. He was the barrier-breaker between the two foreign sides. Oana spoke very highly of him and I’m glad they collaborated so well.

For more photos from Oana and other photographers on location, visit the official Facebook page of the event, by clicking here. I’m hoping to see a second edition. Great job to all!

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  1. Pingback:Maraton, Semi, 13K la Via Pontica 2022 + nevoie de Voluntariat!

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