Swimming Marathon Preko – Zadar: 45 Years of Tradition

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You always hear people talking about their love of active vacations. They’re not the type to lie on the beach the whole day, getting up only to take a dip and then get back to the horizontal cocktail-sipping. Are you one of them? Do you skip leisure time and go straight for extreme sports or at least some picigin? Let’s put that to the test: how do you feel about a swimming marathon?

The Preko – Zadar marathon is one of the longest-running local sports traditions. Starting on the shore of Preko on Ugljan island, the route measures 4.5 kilometres in length and has a finish line in front of Kolovare pools in Zadar. The marathon was conceived in 1973; the first manifestation had 13 competitors and was won by Tihomir Sabo, who raised the bar the next year when he swam the whole route using the butterfly stroke. Not an easy venture!

Another fun marathon fact: in 1978, the race was won by Velimir Šušak Taci who was only 14 at the time. He went on to score eight more wins in following years, and remains an undefeated marathon champion to this day. The record, however, was set by Marin Milan, who completed the marathon in 51 minutes and 43 seconds in 2009.

Open both to men and women, the young and the old, the marathon doesn’t have any limitations and has both professional athletes and recreational swimmers participating. The only condition is for every competitor to procure the boat and the assistant to accompany them along the way, and of course, to send in their application before Thursday, August 3. There’s a HRK 100 participation fee.

There are two absolute categories, men’s and women’s, but the best scores are also measured for age categories: up to 15 years of age, then 19, 29, 39, 49, 59, 69 and over 70. Yes, some of the senior contestants are in such an enviable shape, they put much younger swimmers to shame, showing there are no limits and no excuses when it comes to physical activity.

This year, the 45th edition of the marathon takes place on Saturday, August 5. The race kicks off on the waterfront in Preko at 9:00, and the contestants have a maximum of two hours to complete the route.

So, how about that active vacation? If you’re planning a visit to Zadar area early next month, think about testing your own limits – and maybe even breaking a record along the way! On the other hand, if you’re leaning towards that cocktail-sipping, feel free to either come see the send-off or wait for the swimmers in Zadar. They really do deserve a round of applause.


Source: Swimming Club Zadar (Plivački klub Zadar)


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