Photo: Ultra trkač Srbija
You are well known throughout the skyrunnig community, therefore there is no need to introduce yourself further. Also, Dalibor has done excellent interviews with you through which we learned a lot about your life not related to races. Could you, please, tell us if something has changed in your life since you came into focus of media and people from endurance sports?
I’m kind of out of the course of events being surrounded by wonderful, loving people. It is true wealth when one has great and true friends, great family full of love, so basically, I can say that nothing has changed. Since I’m still dedicated to them I rarely have time to attend gatherings in the country.
Tell us something about your relationship with your fellow runners from abroad.
I enjoy respect abroad and the thought that they call me “Serbian wolf” is quite pleasing. They look at me as something mysterious and tough but at the same time warm and open to others. That is a true description and identity of Serbia which I proudly represent. They are surprised at each race how much I know about their culture, people and customs, since for me preparing for a race is not about training only. They come to realize that we are people rich in spirit and that is the fact I will always advocate. A small digression: That’s why I like Sokolov put (Falcon Trail), for me it is an epitome of Dragutin Matic aka “Falcon Eye” who was born under Suva planina (lit. Dry Mountain). It represents our true spirit, fair and uncompromising fight.
What are your goals for the next season?
The first one would be Yukon Arctic ultra, 430 miles in February 2017. I’ve gone in for it and now I’m getting ready for the coldest and most difficult ultra of the Earth. (http://www.arcticultra.de/en/). I chose Trail category (there are also MTB and Ski touring categories). The reason I chose trail is that I think I have matured enough to see and respect nature in a proper way. I know what to expect at -50°C. I think that with proper preparations, logistics, good faith and true respect for nature I can finish this race. The race starts on February 5, 2017. One has to be very skilled in topography (orientation) and Alpinism in order to finish the race successfully. If everything goes as planned, the next one will be Barkley (http://www.runnersworld.com/races/the-2016-barkley-marathons-one-person-finishes).
What is your opinion on our skyrunning community and the setting up of the entire League?
I think that it is in every sense a positive thing. People are returning to their roots, to nature itself. Enthusiasm, dedication, work and progress are obvious. You’ve created something that enriches the entire community. It is not just a matter of running, but also a matter respect for nature and escape from urban stress. You gather noble people, most of them love nature and that is the most important thing. A healthy community is being created and you are gradually generating the real thing. You need more work, patience and the help from all of us in order to progress further.
Perhaps you would be the right person to promote harmony and cooperation among the racing commune. There are tons of clubs, organizations and divisions… Do you think you could initiate any action regarding this issue?
I don’t want to condemn anyone, let alone be arrogant. Everyone has their own way and the point is to perceive this as healthy diversity of thought. We should not compete with one another but rather try to inspire those around us in a good way – truly and naturally, with no false motives. Each peak that we conquer should serve as inspiration for those around us to believe in themselves and to conquer their own peaks.
How do you see Serbia as a destination for mountain races and people in general? What would be our potential?
We have tremendous potential, inexhaustible source of talents. We are genetically predisposed to endure incredible things. All we have to do is remember who our great-grandfathers were. Psychological component is also very important – we have that positive defiance and we always want to represent our country in the best light possible. Not to mention reliefs and mountains…
What about your own race or race ambassador role?
In the first place, we will try to set up the Ultra Trail of Stara planina together. We need more promotion and popularization of this race. This will raise the quality in every sense. It is not only the matter of material things but also of enthusiasm, vision and ideas… I will be the race ambassador from the next season and I will give my best to bring as many of my colleagues from around the world as possible. You will see me at the racetrack, though this time as a mobile control and support to the runners. Of course, one day I would like to make a nice inspirational project with my friends, my family from “Ultra Runner Serbia” movement with Dalibor as a leading figure. I believe with all my heart and soul that with hard work, dedication and clear mind we can do a lot.
Where do you see the end when it comes to your racing career?
They always ask me that (smile), but as long as I have strength, will and motivation I will try to represent us all at endurance races throughout the world. Motives can be found in small things. I find it through helping people with Angelman syndrome, that’s been great motivation and I helped these people a lot. These are my wings that help me get up at 4 in the morning and not miss my workouts and whenever I remember these people that struggle with this harsh disease I give my best in the race for I know I represent all of them and I know they pray for me as I do for them. The strength of spirit will always guide me, when there are demons, black holes, fighting in the middle of nowhere, complete collapse of the body – that’s when the strength of spirit comes in.