Jovica Spajic: Rovaniemi 300 & Iditarod Invitational

Trail Team to przy­ja­ciele z całego świa­ta, ostanio dołączył do nas zdal­nie Jovi­ca Spa­jic, niesamow­ity “wytrzy­małoś­ciowiec” z Ser­bii, którego miałem okazję poz­nać pod­czas Ata­ca­ma Cross­ing. Jovi­ca wygał zeszłoroczną Ata­camę z ogrom­ną przewagą, pokazu­jąc swo­ją niesamow­itą wytrzy­małość, przy okazji też prezen­tu­jąc się jako niesamowicie miły człowiek. 

Wspólne pustynne wiec­zo­ry i długie roz­mowy przy ognisku zaoowocow­ały współpracą, a dokład­niej wspar­ciem i Snow­dog dla jego ark­ty­cznych wyzwań — Rovanie­mi 150 (300) i Idi­tar­od Invi­a­tion­al. Jovi­ca pobieg­nie wyposażony w snow­do­gowo-trail­teamowy sprzęt (ultra­lekkie san­ki i ple­cak), a w zami­an poopowia­da nam trochę jak tam było :)

Rovanie­mi 150 ruszyło dzisi­aj, a pozy­cję Jovi­cy może­cie na żywo śledz­ić pod linkiem Garmi­na

Krót­ki tekst o przy­go­towa­ni­ach i samych wyś­ci­gach poniżej, pole­cam do kawy:

At the moment I am in Ser­bia and I’m going through my prepa­ra­tions before my depar­ture to Fin­land. Dur­ing the past few years I’ve been some­how pro­filed as an ath­lete who loves to run on some of the World’s most demand­ing envi­ron­ments. I like to choose races where I can use some of the skills that I’ve learned in my Spe­cial Anti-ter­ror­ist Unit – SAJ training. 

My upcom­ing race, the Rovanie­mi 300 in Fin­land is just that. I will expe­ri­ence every­thing that Moth­er Nature could pos­si­bly throw at some­one in this unique and epic event. Ath­letes must find a way to sur­vive and bat­tle with weath­er con­di­tions, dis­tance, sleep depri­va­tion and among many fac­tors that could deter­mine the final result. Rovanie­mi 300 rep­re­sents a sym­bio­sis of every­thing that makes an Ultra­ma­rathon and extreme endurance races spe­cial. It’s both beau­ti­ful and dan­ger­ous at the same time. Dur­ing such a life chap­ter and epic adven­ture, you expe­ri­ence unfor­get­table moments filled with the most diverse emo­tions, lots of ups and downs, tears and smiles. It’s absolute­ly nec­es­sary to have not just excep­tion­al phys­i­cal pre­pared­ness, but also men­tal sta­bil­i­ty, stress resis­tance, the abil­i­ty to move for days with min­i­mal food intake and flu­ids at tem­per­a­tures between ‑20 to ‑40 degrees Cel­sius.

I was born in Pri­boj in Ser­bia in 1987. and grew up with my grand­par­ents in Serbia’s wild moun­tains. As a boy I would often lis­ten to my late grandfather’s tell fairy-tale-like sto­ries late into the night. We were tucked in an old wood­en house far away in a small moun­tain vil­lage in Ser­bia. I lis­tened to the howl­ing of wolves com­ing from the depths of the one-hun­dred-year-old oak for­est on the top of the moun­tain. My grand­fa­ther encour­aged me nev­er to give up, nev­er to break down, always push myself to the lim­its in every­thing I do. It has always stuck with me. Run­ning and espe­cial­ly Trail run­ning is grow­ing day by day in Ser­bia. My whole life has been about training. 

When I first joined the Ser­bian Spe­cial Anti-Ter­ror­ist Unit SAJ, I could no longer trav­el to the city to prac­tice my mar­tial arts (Judo). The only oth­er thing I could real­ly do was to run in the fields and the moun­tains. When you run in the moun­tains it gives you a clear mind. You have a true rela­tion­ship with nature. You feel a real sense of free­dom. As a mem­ber of the spe­cial forces, dur­ing dif­fer­ent field train­ings and tasks, I faced extreme phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, con­stant­ly and repeat­ed­ly ques­tion­ing the lim­its of my abil­i­ties, my moti­va­tion, and strength of spir­it. In the same way, par­tic­i­pat­ing in some of the world’s hard­est ultra­ma­rathons, I have passed through the most extreme areas on the plan­et, through dark rain­forests and end­less plateaus. I’ve been scorched by the sun and whipped by the wind, my faith has been test­ed by rain and storm, I’ve suf­fered from hypother­mia and heat shocks, but like the leg­endary phoenix, I’ve always man­aged to rise from the ash­es and go on, more coura­geous­ly and with renewed vig­or, head­ing into even big­ger and tougher challenges. 

The spe­cial forces for me is like my sec­ond fam­i­ly. In my 12 years in the SAJ there’s been a lot of dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. It’s very stress­ful serv­ing and these expe­ri­ences make me strong from a psy­cho­log­i­cal point of view. We eat togeth­er, we train togeth­er, we fight togeth­er. There are so many inspi­ra­tional moments with my col­leagues, and these moments give me some­thing real­ly pos­i­tive to focus on dur­ing the real­ly dif­fi­cult moments in ultra-marathons. So much of the knowl­edge I have acquired with the SAJ is incred­i­bly help­ful. Topo­graph­ic under­stand­ing; how to sur­vive in nature; what to expect in real­ly tough con­di­tions. I can man­age to run real­ly well in extreme envi­ron­ments, in harsh envi­ron­ments and in con­di­tions where there’s moun­tains, snow, rain and mud. I like to run in nature, where it’s just you by your­self with nature. Ultra-run­ning and espe­cial­ly this type of extreme Ultra-trail dis­tance run­ning is some­how syn­ony­mous to our reg­u­lar life. You have a lot of ups and downs, high and low points, but you must always find moti­va­tion and inspi­ra­tion to move for­ward and be deter­mined and ded­i­cat­ed until the fin­ish line. 

My cre­do is always: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” The races I par­tic­i­pate in are held in some of the most chal­leng­ing areas in the world, where nature is cru­el and does not for­give mis­takes. At that time, it is very impor­tant to respect Moth­er Nature and her laws, and it is even more impor­tant to lis­ten to your body and those lit­tle sig­nals it sends you. With the time you spend in nature and expe­ri­ence, your knowl­edge deep­ens, and you become more aware of your­self and what you can and can­not do in any giv­en circumstance.Remember that after the rain, the bright­ness and warmth of the sun rays always light us. I encour­age myself with the thoughts of the sun rays and the smiles and hugs that are wait­ing for me after each dif­fi­cult expe­ri­ence. I also know that love and atten­tion are the only things that tru­ly can regen­er­ate you. To me hap­pi­ness is when you know that you and your loved ones are healthy, because health is the most impor­tant thing, it is a build­ing block for all life plans, dreams, hopes, long­ings, ideas and visions…

Ultra­ma­rathon and projects relat­ed to the extreme endurance races for me rep­re­sent an entire mosa­ic of a wide rang­ing knowl­edge and skills. It awakes in you, this cre­ative, adven­tur­ous spir­it and makes you start dream­ing about the most dis­tant parts of our plan­et. When the races final­ly take you there, you feel immense joy in your heart and soul. You become the pro­tag­o­nist of an extra­or­di­nary sto­ry, which is not just run­ning, but some­thing much deep­er. This sport gives you the chance to show your­self just how spe­cial you are… At some moments in this race you feel peace, you are hap­py because you can embrace the nature with all your sens­es, you are alone with your thoughts and you real­ize how lit­tle you need to be hap­py, away from city noise, stress and crowd. But again, moments come when you feel lone­ly, dis­cour­aged, and apa­thy enters your heart. That’s when you have to find moti­va­tion deep with­in your­self in order to move on and over­come the cri­sis or prob­lem in front of you…