Every first Sunday of May, in Skopje, there is a happening called Skopje spring marathon. Aside from the Critical mass which is a bike event (every last Wednesday of the months), people here found another way to show their youthful condition. Skopje marathon, supported by the flying company Wizz air, is one of the biggest sports events in Macedonia. The first marathon race in Skopje was organized in 1997. It happened only that year and in 1998. Nine years after, in 2007 this event got renewed with a half marathon-only race, and then fully restored in 2008 when three races were run: marathon, half marathon, and a 5K humanitarian race. Erwan Fouéré, European Union Special Representative for the country, helped to spark the revival.
What is so beautiful about this event? It is happening at the beginning of May when Skopje is waking up from the winter sleep and you can see that on the streets, it’s manifested through people tying their shoelaces and hitting the road.
Skopje Marathon was on the list of ‘’Qualifying Marathon Races’’ in 2012 for the Olympics Games in London and then attended more than 3600 runners from more than 36 countries. This year was 10 year of the full existence of this manifestation but did not happen 10 years in a row. The 2015 edition was canceled due to the 2015 Macedonian protests.
The same thing that New years means to the world about exercise resolutions, is what Skopje marathon means for Мacedoninas. Every winter, after the heavy eating holidays, at least once everyone promised that they will prepare for the race in May. Not everyone succeeds in this, but for sure every next year is more massive than the one before.
There is another competitive dimension during this marathon. Who will have the most creative way of cheering for the runners? You can read “Run like there is a burger at the end”, “Don’t be slow like Internet Explorer”, “I am pregnant and it is yours!”... The creativity is infinite. Even if you are in the best condition of your life, you can walk the 5km to show support for a cause or just to hold a sign on the sidewalks. Everyone is on the street these Sunday mornings, it’s a beautiful scene.
This year's marathon got a real hero. A racer with Down syndrome, couldn't finish the race, so he felt on the ground tired. This was only 50ish minutes before the ending. A young guy right after him picked him in his arms and they together crossed the line and finished. The good news for my Skopje is that superheroes are everywhere. They have fast legs, strong hands, and enormous hearts.
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