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Šabac Marathon – For Love, Brotherhood And Water

One of the world’s most renowned marathon swims is the Jarak-Šabac Marathon Swim, which is formally known as Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac (Peace race).

The event has been on the FINA calendar since 1984 and its history is an interesting as its course.

The race along the river Sava is 18.88K or the distance between village Jarak in Srem and city of Sabac at the beach “Stari grad”. A marathon run has been held in memory of ‘the Blood march when 4,500 Šabac citizens in 1941 were forced under the threat of death to run 22K from Šabac to a German camp in Jarak. Anyone who couldn’t run was shot. Many prisoners survived thanks to people of the village Jarak which gave them water and bread. By helping they risked their own lives.

To show their gratitude, citizens of Šabac built a memorial drinking fountain at the entrance in the village with inscription: ‘For love, for brotherhood, for water’. Milorad Rajsic was the pioneer of this race who worked long and hard to create an event that draws international competitors from around the world.

But this history of marathon swimming in Šabac started almost accidentally. A group of young men in 1970 raced each other along Sava’s banks. Their informal race was noticed by students from Homeland club of Šabac. The next year a formal competition was organized. One foreigner, Ate Sikes Frans from Holland, took part giving the marathon an international character. Years passed by and marathon gradually gained significance.

In 1982, the distance was set at 18.8K. In 1987, the local tourist association started to organize the marathon. Then came the years of international sanctions and war, but the marathon continued to exist during 1991 to 1994 and continues to prosper to this day.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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