Mr. Tomislav Cvitanusic was born 47 years ago in Pula, Croatia, but he was raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). He stayed the entire time in Sarajevo during the war.
“I like to say for myself that I am a long-distance runner and also the first person from Bosnia and Herzegovina who completed an Ironman triathlon race,” Cvitanusic said at the beginning of the interview.
Mr. Cvitanusic is one of the organizers of the Sarajevo half Marathon, the biggest international sport event in BiH. Besides running and triathlon, he likes to climb the mountains, and he is very proud that he successfully climbed Aconcagua, the highest mountain out of the Himalayas, and also Matterhorn, one of the five deadliest mountains in the world.
Sarajevo Times: Ironman is one of the most difficult forms of triatlons and one of the biggest sports challenges, and Mr.Cvitanusic has successfully completed it several times. Can you tell Sarajevo Times audience how you came to the idea of doing this sport?
“After I run several marathons, I wanted another sport challenge in my life and Ironman was a perfect goal because no one form BiH did not do it before. It is a real challenge for mind and body for every triathlete, to swim 3.8km, ride bicycle 180km, and then run marathon, it is not easy at all,” Mr. Cvitanusic says.
Sarajevo Times: It is evident that you ran numerous races in BiH, region and the world. Can you enumerate some of them, and tell Sarajevo Times audience why they are of special importance to you?
When it comes to running races, it is hard to choose the best one, but I can say that the New York marathon is a special one, Berlin with more then 40000 runners was unbelievable experience, Vienna is one of the best marathon races in the world, Boston marathon is like Champions League in football. All of the above-mentioned races have one things in common, thousands of runners form all over the world with big smiles on their faces. I want to live in a society where people are happy and smiling on the street, maybe that’s the reason I enjoy it so much running marathon races. Marathons and triathlons teach us that we can do whatever we want if we work hard to achieve it. Nothing is granted without hard work, it’s also great metaphor for life.
Sarajevo Times: Public in BiH and the region was surprised when you helped to partially sighted Mustafa Mehic to run Sarajevo half-marathon. Can you tell us more about how you helped him, where and how the idea started, and what were Mustafa’s comments after finishing the race?
It was one of the best experiences of my life. Humbling too. I am aware that Mustafa, my friend and blind runner, and I drew attention from media within the region about our training. Mustafa is a 20-year old blind runner, and I trained with him 6 months and we finished the half marathon together with a time of 2:05.30. The level of the development of the one society is in direct relation with the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, in our society, people with disabilities are not supported as they are supposed to be, and they are marginalized. Mustafa and I wanted to draw attention that everyone should have equal opportunities and not be excluded because of disability. I think we did it pretty well.
On the question on “recipe” for success and advice that Mr. Cvitanusic can give to young athletes who want to engage in “Ironman” as well, he says that if one wants to see himself improving, a person must take some actions. The sooner a person takes these actions, the faster the results can be seen. Getting out of the comfort zone is the only recipe for success, to do things in a different way, to explore new things and get new sills. It’s a lifetime process, and if we follow those simple rules, every day will became exciting and that’s where magic happens, out of the comfort zone. Everyone can complete Ironman triathlon or climb high mountains, all one has to do is to work hard and improve himself or herself. There is nothing wrong with it, and it’s a fun too. My favorite quote is from Mr. Henry Ford: “If you think you can, or can not, you’re probably right.” Very true.
Interview by Zejna SY