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…