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From Ohrid, with Love. Meet Ivan Cvetkovski, the man with a big dream

22 November 2021

The first step when opening a business is identifying the correct location. You can have the best coffee shop, the best restaurant, or the store imaginable, but you will quickly go busted if you don’t find the right spot. That was never a problem for Ivan. The founder of Ohrid Trcat knew that Ohrid Lake offers the best landscape and the best climate for any sports event. The question was only, what sports event?

“I and we as a team have many years of experience in the field of sports at all levels from organizing sports events to training processes, tournaments, and sports camps. We have been part of many socially responsible activities. In that way, we have created a special power for communication that today opens our doors and paves the way for us to realize our vision and mission”, says Ivan.

So, after long years in organizing sports events, he finally the biggest idea of his life, a Marathon, that also thanks to WBF, has turned into a showcase of success for the Western Balkans in the whole Continent and helped to create many people to people links in the region.

Dear Ivan, how the idea of an Ohrid Marathon was born?
There is no more suitable place with a better climate, trail, and natural beauties where a street race could be organized. We, as former athletes, knew this all the time, so when we decided to do something new for Ohrid and undertake activities in our domain, it was not at all difficult to come up with the idea of organizing such a running event. The name of the event Ohrid TrcaT with a big T in the end, came out by itself because our love for the Ohrid has always existed, and because of that, we have always wanted to be authentic and to affirm the Ohrid in every possible way. There are many such races in the world, but the Ohrid race in every part makes our race and event unique and very different from all the others.

Who was behind the idea of a sport, Marathon?
Ohrid Running is a set of many enthusiasts, sports fans, volunteerism, and especially the desire for a different Ohrid. Our face, everything we represent, and the way we act have built an agenda and a motive for unity and support, so today, we have many collaborators and supporters as a team. The development of the idea is supported by many institutions and especially the private sector. We are especially glad because we create a new story that, from year to year, acquires its sustainability, the biggest problem for an event in our country and beyond.

How helpful was WBF in the development of the Marathon?
WBF as an organization and its call for support of events came to the fourth edition of Ohrid Running. Her positive decision for the applied project and thus the support of the event enabled us to step on another level, especially in the cooperation with our related organizations from the Balkans. WBF opened the door for us and the opportunity to start with a more ambitious approach to collaboration and thus developed a new Balkan story of communication and respect regardless of nationality and ethnicity.

What did you have in mind when you first thought of a Marathon? Did you believe what you have achieved was possible back then, to gather so many people from everywhere the region?
Ohrid itself attracts many tourists and guests from all over the Balkans and the world. What Ohrid lacked were sports, cultural and musical activities to offer additional content to all visitors. From that position, we in our part sports started with the activities in which one of them is Ohrid running. Our ambitious approach to the concept, vision, and professionalism complemented by a proactive attitude in cooperation with many organizations from the Balkans made us reach this level where we have many runners, guests who are part of our event, and we are thrilled that from year to year that international number is increasing and with us the number of participating countries in Ohrid is running.

What is the idea of the future? How do you plan to expand?
Our plans and ideas are great. Above all, their realization will depend on our self-sustainability, on which we work very hard. As you know, our concept of an event in which the whole weekend is reserved with activities (running, music, social, educational, promotional) is already quite attractive at the moment and at least for the Balkans authentic and original. New ideas for activities from year to year become part of the whole weekend, and in this way, we try to offer activities that will make our current and future runners satisfied and fulfilled. Our participation in as many races from the Balkans is intensifying, and that is one of our plans for the future. In this way, we not only promote our events but also open opportunities for cooperation. We are dedicated to the open Children’s Athletics. We will soon start an athletic children’s camp, which will be another step towards bringing the countries and peoples of the Balkans closer and thus their cooperation.

Tell us something more about the human face of the Marathon, about the friendships that it enables.
In the past five editions, we have had many small or large human stories that add an exciting touch to the event and us as organizers. I would especially like to emphasize our attitude and, above all, positive energy during all the activities that continuously contributed to Ohrid and the people of Ohrid to show themselves in a different light. That energy for all runners, visitors and guests was inspiring and contributed to many emotional scenes and activities or human stories. What I would especially like to emphasize is that we as a team have started great international friendships. Thus many interesting human stories that we are convinced will be the basis for the even more significant development of us and the entire region.

Where do the best runners usually come from?
The best runners still come among us. Our event is more of a racing tour, so most professionals do skip, and because of that, our runners are still the best))).

Thank you very much for your time, Ivan.