As an announcement of our race this Sunday, we had a casual interview with our last year winner and Croatian defending champion of Middle distance triathlon. We spoke a little about him, little about us, and a lot about triathlon.
FPST: First of all, tell us something about yourself.
-I am an architect by profession and I started to train triathlon as an amateur 20 years ago. For the past 13 years I have been competing in top Ironman and I am a Croatian record holder – 23rd place in World Championship in Hawaii in PRO category. I also own some distinguished results in Triathlon World Cup where I was the first Croat ever to gain points for the Olympics in Athens. My best result, 8h and 12 minutes shows my talent and devotion to long triathlon. Today I am a head coach in Adriatic Coaching, ambassador of Wings for life World Run and the first Croatian Ironman promoter and it’s certified trainer.
FPST: How and why did you decide to train triathlon?
-I was surrounded with some dear people who directed me towards this sport. I don’t want to name anyone because I might forget someone, but they know who they are J
FPST: how do you manage to stay on top for almost 20 years?
-Don’t take anything personal, but make it personal; my motto in short
FPST: what are your plans for this year?
-I have no plans; this is my second year without any planed races.
FPST: For how long do you plan to do triathlon on top level and what are your plans for afterwards?
-I have practically already stepped out of top triathlon and there is basically no need for plans for afterwards since everything is more relaxed now.
I continue to do some races, when my obligations and family allow, in region – to promote this sport. People know me and it means a lot to them when they see me competing with them in a race.
FPST: What exactly is Adriatic Coaching which we hear and read about more often?
Adriatic Coaching offers professional coaching services for individuals and companies in aerobic sports like cycling, swimming, trekking, running and multisport.
Our individual clients come from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Austria, USA and Hungary, and some of our business clients which we work with are Grawe, Red Bull, Veneto Banka, Ironman 70.3 Pula and B2B Run Hrvatska.
In individual programs, we have a lot of successful achievements amongst amateurs and we have also created two records in Ironman and two recent victories in absolute order in Croatian triathlon cup.
We developed running programs for companies and teams which prepare themselves for competing in B2B Run, Wings for Life World Run. We are involved in organization of side events of Ironman Croatia: IronKids and SwimDay. We developed a program for Grawe: „Izazov PoKRENI prijatelja“ (a challenge: RUN with a friend) where a runner motivates a person he/she cares about to start running.
FPST: Did your children start with trainings, do you coach them or did you direct them to someone else?
-I started to work with Roko on the pool and I am directing Nikola to gymnastics, but it is all like just a game.
FPST: Croatian triathlon throughout your career – do you feel like something has changed for better or does it stagnate?
-A lot has changed, just like Croatia changed, for better – but we, as people, incline to passivity and we easily let go to bad politics so there were some bad episodes, which are of course in shadows of sudden popularity of triathlon, Ironman and sports in general in Croatia. I could only have helped in development of Croatian triathlon as competitor and promoter – in the way I could and knew – and in the way I do it today. People recognize my work.
FPST: how to make triathlon as popular in Croatia as it is in western countries?
-I wouldn’t say it is more popular in the West. I would say our people can’t afford to travel abroad as much so it just seems that there is less of us.
FPST: Did you have any background in sports before triathlon and in which?
-No, I didn’t.
FPST: What did you find the hardest in the beginning of your training of triathlon and what now?
-Before it was the lack of funding and today it is the lack of motivation. I find it hard to motivate myself to go for a bike ride longer than two hours; I can’t remember the last time I did it. Motivation is more important than financing and young people should follow my lead if we could judge by that. 🙂
FPST: How long did it take to decide to go to your first Ironman, what’s your first Ironman score?
-It took a year. I did it in 2004 on IM in Klagenfurt, although I started the same race successfully already in 2002 (27 years old) as leading man in PRO after swimming but I fell of my bike.
FPST: What would you recommend to new people in this sport – should they aim for Ironman right away or should they wait for a while?
-For sure, it is wise to sustain from long-term endeavors. Ironman is not a piece of cake – it’s a race where people compete on the edge of human endurance. I am saying this as a professional competitor in Ironman.
FPST: Which race was the hardest for you and which one is your favorite and why?
-The hardest and also my favorite one is the race in Kona (world championship in 2008). The hardest because Hawaii are brutally hard and my favorite because I love the heat and I love to pierce the blisters in the ocean after the race.
FPST: How do you feel about our race, what’s its perspective, would you recommend it and why? A sentence for each distance.
-I have to admit, I came to your race after the head coach of my today’s club Petar Zrinski convinced me to come and I loved the running course which is challenging and hard. I was also surprised with quality of hotel chain which offers perfect vacation for my family in hotel Diadora, before and after the race.
I would recommend the race to everyone who wants to spend an active weekend in company of athletes and sports enthusiasts and excellent cuisine after the race J-
FPST: Something for the end?
-I believe this interview will reach people who never tried to do triathlon. My message for the end goes to them: try a shorter distance for beginning and if you like it, enter a small heaven of this beautiful sport.