International 100+ UltraRunning Foundation

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The Ultrarunning World Has  Its Eyes

On Romania’s S24H

                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                              By Andrei Nana

                                                                                                 September 07, 2016

While Romainia has long been known for its gymnastic prowess, it is only a few months ago that the first steps to organize an elite ultrarunning competition in Romania were taken. After several years of Romanian ultraathletes familiarizing themselves through social media groups such as the UltraAtletism Romania, participating in international ultrarunning events such as UltraBalaton, Ultra 6633, UTMB, and dreaming of a National 24H Team, last week officials from the Romanian Athletic Federation gave their blessing for Romania to host a 24 hour international competition. The Super 24H was officially certified by the Romanian Athletic Federation, giving Romania an official place on the international ultrarunning calendar.

Diana Amza, the race director and president of the IDEAS Association, performed what can be considered almost a miracle: setting up the logistics for a race never organized before in a country where the practice of sport itself has lost considerable ground. Diana not just obtained certification of the course, but also international recognition through the IAU. The race offers 12H and 24H options and sets the stage for the Romanian ultrarunning elite to compete with athletes from neighboring countries such as Hungary. Their results will lead to National Records and will lay the foundation for the future National 24H Team.

Like with most things in ultrarunning, this story started with a dream, followed by unending amounts of work, perseverance, and of course, adapting and overcoming obstacles. But more than that, this is more than an ultrarunning story, it is the story of a country who is finding its way back to sports after several years of darkness. Romania is well known for its gymnasts, and for its football (soccer), yet not so much for other sports. After years of athletics being put on the back burner, small running groups started to form. They led to larger ones, a few local races and several more known marathons. But the country still lacks an infrastructure and culture for sport especially when compared to neighboring countries such as Serbia, Poland, or Hungary. Now, however, athletics seem to be reborn with increasing interest from the media, politicians, and citizens themselves.

Held in the city of Timisoara, close to the border with Serbia and Hungary, the race is easy accessible to the Serbian and Hungarian ultrarunners, and quite welcoming to English, Serbian, Hungarian, Italian. and German runners due to the city’s known position regarding investments and retirement opportunities.

This year’s edition will be held on September 24th, however the following years the race will likely be held at a different time of year so as not to interfere with the competition calendar of the athletes running the prestigious Spartathlon. The course is a certified 1236 meters asphalt and paved road loop in a park. Further, the race organizers attracted enough sponsors to be able to offer some impressive – and uncommon – awards for the competitors.

Some of the athletes participating have some impressive accomplishments on their resumes. In the 24 hour race, 32 participants are listed on the roster, 4 women and 28 males.

Individual 24 h Women

1. Gollent Simona

2. Potra-Muresan Cristina

3. Ciucur Alina

4. Morosan Mara

Indivudual 24h Male

1. Bontiu Adrian

2. Buceanu Nicolae

3. Barnea Ion

4. Csomortani Attila

5. Farkas Razvan

6. Tanase Vlad

7. Rimniceanu Viorel Florin

8. Necula Aristide

9. Szokolszky Istvan

10. Bure Lucian

11. Pantis Mihai

12. Stern Alexandru

13. Ilie Victor

14. Mărgărit Costel

15. Codrea Sorin

16. Stoica Matei

17. Toma Samuel

18. Badescu Marius

19. Iancu David

20. Okros Norberth-Ioan

21. Szell Andrei

22. Halama Levente – Hungary

23. Papp Mihaly

24. Hritcan Mihai

25. Bolboaca Roland

26. Dumitrascu Mihai

27. Turcu Stan

28. Albert Mihai

International organizations are paying close attention to this years’ edition and starting to make plans for the future. Nana Endurance Training will follow the race and has expressed interest in having members participating in the future. The International 100+ UltraRunning Foundation, Inc has offered advice and helped with the process of certification looking forward to a larger involvement in the following editions. The prestigious Spartathlon will now be able to invite Romanian ultrarunners to Greece if they meet the qualifications standards at S24H – 180km for men and 170km for women.

The president of the IAU (International Association of Ultrarunners), Mr. Dirk Strumane expressed his interest and congratulated the organizers: “I would like to join in and send you as well my sincerest congratulations for your important achievement in staging the first official 24H event in Romania. I assume that this will be a very important step forward in the further development of ultrarunning in Romania. Traian Badea, who has been very helpful in the past to promote IAU membership for the national athletic federation, always told me that it would take some time but that one day Romania would become an active partner in the ultra scene and this is likely to be the first step! In the meantime I wish you best of luck with the outcome of this first 24H event.”

Good luck to all athletes participating!