First Split Marathon Begins Sunday with 4,000 Participants from Over 40 Countries

Daniela Rogulj

February 14, 2020 – The Split half marathon will celebrate 20 years this year, while the Split marathon will run for the first time. 

Dalmatinski Portal reports that the program, which is held from February 21 to February 23, will have its main event on Sunday, when the 42-kilometer Riva marathon begins at nine in the morning. A record number of 4,000 participants from more than 40 countries is expected. The marathon will also include the relay made up of Mladen Bartulovic, Dalibor Nincevic, Jakov Vetma, and Andro Krstulovic Opara, the leaders of Podstrana, Solin, Klis and Split.

“After three years of preparations, Split and the whole region will receive a full marathon. It is the result of the meticulous and dedicated work of the volunteer group that works throughout the year. We are ready, and as far as the race is concerned, it could start tomorrow. The marathon sold out two months ago, we have 900 competitors, making us the largest marathon in Croatia so far. In addition to the marathon, we have a half marathon race where we have 2000 competitors. 

Starting this year, we moved the 5k race to the day before. We have strong names from Kenya and Ethiopia, and we expect a fairly good race. Split is a beautiful city, and the trail is beautiful. I have run numerous marathons, but the split track is still the most beautiful. A Japanese woman who is 72 is also arriving, and Split will be the 100th marathon in her career, with the addition that she started running 15 years ago,” said Organizing Committee President Kristijan Sindik.

Organizing Committee Deputy Chairman Sandra Russo Zelenovic was surprised by the large number of journalists at the press conference.

“I am incredibly happy to see you in such great numbers. This is not just a sporting event. The whole event could not be organized without the support of the City, the County, and the Tourist Board. The event also includes the Sports Fair, which will be held at Gripe from February 21-22. Within the Fair, there will be a workshop on healthy eating and injury prevention. There will also be a hand-wrestling competition. The Split Marathon has had a humanitarian element for years. This year, we will be raising funds with Dina Levacic to buy educational supplies for the Perla Association.”

The director of the Split Tourist Board, Alijana Vukšić, emphasized the importance of marathons for Split tourism in the preseason.

“It is my pleasure to have worked together for many years. Last year, over ten thousand overnight stays were realized in six days, and this year we expect this number to be even higher. Split deserves this kind of event. Our guests are very modern and all are willing to pay for healthy food and healthy living. This is an opportunity for them to keep their habits while on their journey and come back to us. It is also important to emphasize that such guests do not come alone and spend more,” she said.

The director of the Split and Dalmatia County Tourist Board, Josko Stella, emphasized the importance of this event for the entire county.

“The marketing effect of this marathon is extremely important to us and we have supported it from the very beginning, and we will support it in the future.”

Jakov Vetma, Mayor of Klis Municipality, is one of the participants in the relay marathon. The first change is run by Mladen Bartulovic, from the Riva to Vranjic. The Mayor of Solin, Dalibor Nincevic, who runs from Vranjic to Lora, will take over the baton there. At the western exit will be Jacob Vetma, who will run across Poljud and Marjan, and at Banovina will be Andro Krstulović Opara, who will take the final leg.

“I’m here as one of the participants. Together with Mayor Opara, Dalibor Nincevic and Mladen Bartulovic, we plan to run this marathon,” Vetma said.

Dalibor Nincevic, Mayor of Solin, will also be part of this sports and cultural story.

“The marathon section will pass through the town of Solin, thus connecting it with Split. I am pleased that the participants of the marathon, apart from Split, will have the opportunity to get to know the beauties of Solin and Vranjic,” said Nincevic, and was inspired by Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara.

“I run the last leg of the relay. It’s about 12 kilometers and the handoff will be right next to Banovina. A large number of enthusiasts have brought this attribute to the city of Split, which proves that we are one of the sportiest cities in Split. Where in the world do you have a route that goes from Diocletian’s Palace to Solin, the ‘little Venice’, via Lora, Marjan, the port, Bacvice, Žnjan, Duilovo and back to the Palace?

The marathon season begins in Split. I hope that in the future, this marathon will be one of the largest in this part of Europe. I would ask the citizens to be patient because we will have to close certain lanes,” said Opara Krstulovic.

The head of the Department for Tourism and Maritime Affairs, Stipe Čogelj, stressed the importance of this event for the entire County.

“The sportiest city in the world has earned this marathon. This is a capital event that the County supports every year. The figures themselves show how much this organization deserves our support. We can do great things with the synergy of all cities and counties,” concluded Čogelj.

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