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Take time for favourite sport

Interviewer: Aleksandra Savić, photos: Skyrunning Srbija 26 August 2019 • 5 min

Our fellow-colleague Dragana Кurtović is a paragon of juggling her daily tasks at work with keen going into sports. Five years ago, she started running because she wanted to feel beautiful, and today she owns medals from races across Serbia, as well as Europe and Asia. The fact that the nature of the job is such that it is compelling to be passive, awakened in her the need to introduce regular physical activity into her life and she chose running – a combination of sports, socializing and staying in nature.

How difficult is it to juggle work and hobby and how do you manage it?

This is very challenging, especially since Belgrade itself is both demanding and interesting and time consuming. On the way to work, I lose a minimum of two hours a day, and my job requires day-to-day learning, reading and attending courses, which further shortens my hobby time and requires good organization. Running is also not my only hobby. I love exploring Serbia and Boka Kotorska and writing through which I get to know the more detailed sites I explore. I defined running as some of the most mundane routines, as well as meals, and it has become a lifestyle. It is often tiring, especially when the location of the race is distant and when you need to travel a serious mileage on the weekend, run out of the race, and then return to work on Monday, where it is very dynamic and almost without respite, and colleagues and work must not suffer because you are tired.

When running turned into a serious hobby that included going to marathons?

I started training in March 2014. After three months, I ran the first half marathon in Novi Sad, and to date a total of about 80 races (28 half marathons, 2 marathons, one ultra-marathon (57km) and more mountain and mountain races, vertical miles, stairs races and relay races). Thanks to our company, I have participated twice in short format races (1km) in Kyrgyzstan, and I am very grateful for that. I would like more colleagues to go through this experience because I got to know a new country, a new culture, and first time on the Asian continent, but also met many colleagues, which greatly helps in the business, because often these people can help you finish your tasks and challenges.

„No matter how busy you are, make sure you find a sporting activity that will appeal to you and commit to it regularly. You will be happier and you will pass on the positive energy to your family members and colleagues “ –Dragana Kurtović

Žena sa flašicom vode trči u prirodi

How often you run and how long your running takes?

It is easier to run, it’s hardest to prepare for it. It takes a long time, especially if you run long distances. For marathon and ultramarathon preparations, one training session lasts a minimum of three hours each week. Because of this, my choice is shorter races, up to 35km. Informative to mention, longer runs are becoming more popular, from 42km to 100km, and beyond that, so races up to 35km are shorter when it comes to long distance running. This year was an exception for me. In June, I ran two longer races – 57 km on the Stara Planina Mountain and 42 km in St. Petersburg. I run three times a week. Good organization and the effort, work and desire to use our time in the best way is very important. The challenge is to achieve everything we want in the little time we have after work.

Which race will you remember and why?

The most beautiful are the races you run without pain, and one of them is the marathon (42km) in Amsterdam. Good preparations made me enjoy my four hours of running. Also, running with a passport in a backpack through Šar Planina 33km is something I have remembered. The race lasted for six hours and it was my first difficult mountain race, which both tormented me and prepared me well for the aforementioned marathon in Amsterdam. My last race is also one of the fantastic ones. It is a race on Sinjajevina, a mountain near Mojkovac. The trail was 32km long, with 2,000 meters above sea level. It was a run for five hours and 39 minutes at over 30 degrees. I started with 3.5 liters of water on me to endure. The trail was extreme, with many hills and dangerous descents. My first ultra – 57km on Stara Planina is also a nice experience.

Which race is next and are you actively preparing for it?

This year, I run all Skyrunning League races in Serbia. They are mountain races with many hills and hills. I have completed five races from that league: Avala (10km); Stara planina (57km); Jadovnik (22km) and Sinjajevina (32km). Fifteen of the top men and women in the Serbian ranking will run the race in October on the 22k Suva Mountain, which is also known for running only uphill. I am currently fifth in the rankings, so I believe I will go to that race. In the meantime, I will be running races that I will use as training, as well as regular trainings within the Belgrade Racing Club. I plan to run a half marathon as part of the Belgrade Triathlon in September, as well as the Sarajevo Half Marathon, as well as some attractive mountain races through which I will meet the mountains of Serbia.

What would you say to colleagues who are not physically active i.e. what motivates you to be active?

No matter how busy you are, make sure you find a sporting activity that will appeal to you and commit to it regularly. You will be happier and you will pass on the positive energy to your family members and colleagues. Find motivation also in a quality expert (trainer), because we do not have time ourselves to learn how something is done, how it is progressing and to write training plans. I am motivated by running with friends, being in nature, getting to know Belgrade, the mountains and cities of Serbia and the region, and feeling good and not tired so easily. It’s really worth investing time in a sport you love.