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ponedjeljak, 28. svibnja 2018.

Photos Of The Day: 8,831 Participants Took Part In Red Bull "Wings For Life" Foundation Run 2018 In Zadar, Croatia

This is the conclusion to the story I mentioned a few weeks ago here, along with some interesting random pics and bonus video footage from this year's event. What exactly is the Red Bull "Wings For Life" Foundation run anyway you may wonder? In a nutshell it's a not-for-profit spinal cord research foundation, with the mission to find a cure for spinal cord injuries and fund world-class scientific research and clinical trials around the globe aimed at healing the injured spinal cord and paraplegia treatment research.

Each participant of the run pays an entrance fee for the equivalent of about 25 bucks, and 100% of all donations and entry fees proceeds goes directly to the "Wings For Life" foundation and life-changing research projects aimed at healing the injured spinal cord and paraplegia treatment research. All administrative costs of the event and foundation are kindly covered by the Red Bull company. (Interestingly, the man behind making Red Bull energy drink the extreme sports and cultural icon that it is today is Dietrich Mateschitz, who just happens to also have Croatian ancestry (Croatian spelling Matešić), his parents were even school teachers from near Zadar, which all just adds to the coolness factor of this particular Zadar "Wings For Life" run especially. Of course he is also co-founder of the Wings For Life foundation already in 2004 before the marathon running races started, good to know).

The basic rules are that each runner, including competitive runners, occasional runners and even non-runners...just very simply run. Participants from all ages also include walk-runners, stroll-runners, even runners on crutches, with canes, pregnant and blind runners and even wheelchair-runners, who all receive a registered starting bib number, however unlike usual marathon rules in this race there is no finish line, there is never ever a finish line, this race is over only when the Catcher Car (which leaves 30 minutes after the race starts) catches up to you which only then officially ends your race, (also don't worry there's arranged transportation/buses that take the runners back to the start so you won't be left walking back on some highway somewhere ), some will run further and longer than others but it's always a win-win at the end of the day for everyone involved. (Looking at some of the images and video footage I came across, probably lots of so-called athletes would be pretty humbled and embarrassed now, as in "Geez, look at them people with the intestinal fortitude wheelchair-running giving it their all, they've got more hardcore determination, talent, willpower and fashion than me").

There's also no official dress code either unlike most marathons, because this one is strictly a humanitarian fundraiser race, so you can wear a wig and clown outfit no problem, or run as Batwoman, a Viking, Little Red Riding Hood (Crvenkapica), as Michael Myers from Halloween or the Texas Chainsaw Massacre guy, the Zagreb Medveščak or Ledo Medo bears, or Elvis, Hrvatko, a medieval Knight, Wizard or a Vampire if you want or some other costume, which some people do, heck you can run in a toga, bikini or even a potato sack if you really want, just nix the costume footwear and wear running shoes though...

Zadar is proud to have hosted a "Wings For Life" foundation run since the event first started in 2014, last year 8,000 runners registered for the Zadar run and it was considered a total success, this year about 8,500 were expected after already being sold out in April, however by start time 8,831 runners ended up taking part and so it's another fantastic result. There are of course official winners with the furthest distance ran, however everyone wins anyway because every penny goes towards spinal cord injury and paraplegia treatment research which is what it's all about, hence why lots of the runners are looking excited and feeling like they won the race anyway. (Because when you think about it each participant is running for those who can't, so they really ran a thousand kilometres whether they won the race or came in last, even the blind, cripple and legless runners on this day can verily see and run even all the way to the Moon and beyond and that's a fact, on top of that many people around the world who would otherwise remain unknown nobodies and pointless nothings with no justifiable reason to even live or exist, (ie: mostly defecating, urinating, pooing and peeing and usually just polluting the planet), well now they have the chance to make a real difference and be a somebody with a purpose for a great noble cause. As a matter of fact, this Red Bull Wings for Life run is without a doubt more important, relevant and noble, than even all the pointless bullshit televangelists today put together, and more interesting too because it's real and cooler fashions).

That's right boys and girls, because that's what it's all about, working towards cures for healing and treatments for spinal cord injuries and paraplegia. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, maybe not next month or even next year, but one day everyone will be able to very simply and casually just walk into a store and buy a can of refreshing invigorating Red Bull energy drink on their very own like it was nothing and like every person should have the inalienable right to, just as they have the God-given Right to keep and bear Red Bull at home into the fridge, they then won't need a wheelchair or other people to help push them into the store or anything like that, they're all running for their future and rights and that's what it's all about.

I was fortunate enough to have visited Zadar previously and I had a very enjoyable time while there, this isn't a tourism post but you can find out more about what to do and see around Zadar here and here. (plenty of well known Croatian historical, entertainment and sports personalities are from Zadar, but probably the other most well known one on this side of the pond is current UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic who's family roots are also from Zadar. You can even view a few of my own personal pics from the old town quarter Zadar at zadar-ports-national-geographic, it's actually not too shitty of a place considering lots of people have never even heard of it).

More information about what went on this year, how to register for 2019 and a bunch of other useful informational stuff at:

Behind the scenes footage from the day and more information:

Behind the scenes and interviews from the day, video:

Highlight footage from the Zadar "Wings for Life" run in 2017 (Video footage from

This video from Studentski zbor Sveučilišta u Rijeci (University of Rijeka Student's Council) is from last year when they broke a Wings for Life run record with a 326 student team taking part in 2017, and this year there were over 500 students. Hip hip hooray for Rijeka University. 

A bunch of rare and interesting views of in and around Zadar during the 2018 Wings For Life run in no particular order. All photos from and

Olympic, European and World Champion rowers and brothers Martin and Valent Sinković were also showing support and taking part again this year. (they also recently became the first Croatian athletes to be featured on Red Bull cans)

And since it's all for a good cause I should also briefly give kudos to Croatian runner Nikolina Šustić who had another fantastic result this year winning in Zug Switzerland and making it her 4th "Wings For Life" foundation run 1st place in a row. Last year she won in Cambridge England, before that in Stavanger Norway (pic below) and in 2015 she won on home soil in Zadar. Image and interview at

I should also note that they picked a cool and interesting location for the Croatian location "Wings for Life" foundation run, because Zadar is a pretty historic city and plenty of important historical events happened there through the centuries. I don't have space here to elaborate about everything of course because it's all about the Wings for Life run anyway, but for those who keep asking fore more cool interesting history facts or just for those not in the know, here's a very, very brief short form version synopsis about the history of Zadar...Between 230 million and 66 million years ago, dinosaurs plodded across the area of Zadar and the rest of Europe as well, aka the Mesozoic Era, later in the 9th century BCE an Illyrian tribe of Liburnians had a small settlement camp here they named Iader, in 59 BCE it was renamed Iadera/Jadera after the Roman Empire conquest, other names used in various languages were Idassa, Jadra/Jadres and others, and first recorded in a Croatian version more familiar Zader in the 12th century. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 it was included in the Ostrogothic Kingdom until 553 and then afterwards for a time controlled by the Byzantines as a strategic military port of the ancient Dalmatia,which they named Idassa. After the arrival of the Croats in the 6th-7th century from areas north of the Danube and in and around the expanse of the Carpathians (ie: Harvaða mountains mentioned in the old sagas, and who were a new previously unknown people generally mentioned as the Veneti (Venedi/Venethi) and even Hyperboreans at times by Roman and Greek writers in antiquity), to ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum, then Zadar grew in size along with more maritime trade, in the beginning of the 9th century Zadar started becoming more well known in sources. By the 9th and early 10th century Croatian rulers once again asserted and held control over the city being incorporated into the Croatian Kingdom (which officially de jure and de facto included the Bosnia area), again with increased shipbuilding that even rivalled Venice and with Croatian Naval presence also, the Croatian Kings even had royal residences nearby with various Pre-Romanesque buildings erected in the city and surrounding area also. In nearby Nin which is part of Zadar county was found the oldest preserved stone monument containing an inscription defining a Croatian medieval ruler, Branimir (reigned 879–892) as the Duke of Croats (Latin: Dux Cruatorum).

Zadar became an important and strategic port city and naval base in the Croatian realms which bordered along the periphery of the Carolingian Empire, seen located within the continental political and monarchial map of 9th century Europe approximately during the times of Duke Vojnomir (reigned 791-810) Duke Vladislav (reigned 821-835) Duke Trpimir I (reigned 845–864) to Duke Branimir (reigned 879–892). During the Monarchial dynastic rule centuries from the 10th to 12th century especially, Zadar merchants were able to expand trade considerably with the rich agriculture hinterland of the Croatian Kingdom and thus much stronger political links also.

Queen Jelena (aka Helen the Glorious) is one of the most famous women from Zadar, she was Croatian Queen consort and wife of King Mihajlo Krešimir II, after Michael Krešimir's death in 969 she ruled as regent of her underage son who became the future Croatian King Stjepan Držislav in 988. Zadar residents seeking to officially end any renewed Byzantine vassal aspirations fought back and in 1069 it was again officially joined by royal treaty to Croatia under King Petar Krešimir IV the Great, the Byzantine empire then officially recognized him as the supreme ruler of the Dalmatia region also. In 1070 the future King Dmitri Zvonimir (Latin: Demetrius Suinnimir/Zuonimir/Sunimirio) is first mentioned as a Ban (Viceroy/Duke) of Croatia while governing the northern Slavonia region under King Petar Krešimir IV in royal charters that were written in Zadar. The reign of King Petar Krešimir IV is when Zadar's city classes and citizenry were predominantly Croats, military defence, political life but also important judges, barons, magnates, princes, dukes and nobility were Croats, growth in political and commercial life ensued and feudalism made permanent inroads into the overall Croatian society. After the political union of the Kingdom of Croatia with Hungary in the 12th century Zadar was still part of the Croatian Kingdom, from the 13th century Zadar was controlled back and forth between the Croatian Nobles, Dukes and Viceroys and the emerging Venetian Republic which was extending to Greece, it was also known as part of the overall Hungarian–Venetian wars. (However interestingly during this time and especially the 15th-17th century many famous Croatian writers and poets penned written works in the Croatian language and printed books also, including what is generally considered to be the first Croatian novel "Planine" (Mountains) written by Petar Zoranić in 1536 in Zadar, during this era aka the Croatian Renaissance, Zadar along with Split and Dubrovnik was a center of Croatian literature development including also other writers and poets such as Jerolim Vidolić, Brne Karnarutić, Juraj Baraković, Šime Budinić). During the 16th-17th century various irregular freedom-fighting militias known as the Uskoks ("Uskoci" from the Croatian word "uskočiti,"  meaning "jumpers") and Hajduks (from the Croatian word "Hajde" meaning "to come upon, to go ahead) were formed and fought brave defensive guerilla wars and along other Croatian Habsburg forces against the Ottoman armies and their Serb volunteers, renown for never giving up they at times used the Zadar area as a local base. After the fall of Venice in 1797, Zadar came under short-term French rule (1809–1813) during the Napoleonic wars, (Interestingly Zadar during this time was regarded as the main port city and administrative center of the Croatian Dalmatia region even over Split and Dubrovnik, also the first Croatian language newspaper was published in Zadar during this time between 1806–1810). Zadar then came under the Habsburg Monarchy control again for a time, as Croatia had already elected to join the Habsburg Monarchy in 1527 to further thwart the Ottoman jihads and their Serb allies coming from Dar al Jihad Serbia, however in the mid-19th century it was then again included as part of the royal Croatian Crown lands (aka Triune Kingdom/Trojedna Kraljevina) as part of the Habsburg ruled Austria-Hungary, in 1862  the "Narodni List" newspaper started being published in Zadar and today it is the oldest still continuously published Croatian language newspaper in the country.

Zadar in the 1890's after the construction of the new waterfront.

 A postcard from 1905.

After Slovenian and Croatian democratic elections and independence, especially during 1991-93, Zadar and the surrounding area was subjected to heavy indiscriminate artillery bombardment by the remaining Serb-Yugoslav army (Serbian: Југословенска народна армија, ЈНА), air force and navy forces and then Serb church recruited and supported paramilitaries from Serbia and other Republics that resulted in many civilian deaths and significant damage to numerous buildings, especially Croatian historical and cultural heritage sites some of which dated to the 8th-9th century, (attacked on a scale and with weaponry that the Ottoman forces jihads centuries previously could only dream of, aka the Battle of Zadar, they then converged on the city and subjected Zadar's civilian population to artillery bombardment because it was just a civilian city so easy pickings to cleanse and take, rumoured to be renamed Cававилле or Сесељград, some nearby smaller villages already had Croatian official buildings signs and road signs torn down and replaced with Serbian language and alphabet cyrillic signs such as already done in Vukovar and elsewhere, some better footage of the Serb attack on Zadar), until liberated again by the newly organized and armed Croatian National Guard in 1993, and their terrorist bases in the hinterland were captured in 1995. Zadar today is part of what is considered as the Croatian Riviera, and the surrounding coastal stretches are sometimes known as Central Europe's California coast or Central Europe's Malibu. A number of well known Croatian historical, sports and entertainment personalities are from Zadar also, including current UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic who's family roots are from the Zadar area. Basically there's lots and plenty o' history involving Zadar, from Roman Empire times, from the Croatian Monarchial dynasty and Kingdom centuries, from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and every century afterwards).

And lastly this is an update I found interesting, (and it's Zadar, running and yes even Red Bull related as they're one of the official sponsors), some scenes from the 2018 Zadar Outdoor Festival that took place a week later after the Wings For Life run. I already mentioned before how former World Cup alpine ski racer and FIS World Cup champion Ivica Kostelić got married a few years ago, (and 2 kids since with one even already skiing), however Elin Kostelić usually stays away from the media spotlight and the celeb circuit circus, so you would never hear her speak just mainly quotes in articles usually, (originally Elin Arnarsdottir also a former skier from Iceland). Well lo and behold, here's some totally by chance footage I came across of her speaking practically fluent Croatian (translated "Right now it's perfect, it's really beautiful outside, I'm very happy to be able to run the 5 kilometres") and it's pretty well all they speak at home too I read. So there you go, there's still hope for those with Croatian background but who don't know how to speak it so you learn something new everyday. (and it will of course come in handy when in Croatia and ordering a Red Bull drink somewhere).Video:

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