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Faros Marathon commemorated by Croatian Post

Faros Marathon commemorated by Croatian Post
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Hrvatska posta issued a stamp to commemorate Faros Marathon. During last four decades Faros Marathon has developed from a small provincial competition into a world institution of long-distance swimming and enjoys today the primacy as the most prestigious world marathon.

When the actors of the Zagreb actors' company Histrioni led by Relja Basic,
within their wanderings on 13 July 1974 gave a guest performance in Stari Grad, on the Skor square, they had no idea that during the presentation of the play Domagojada, dedicated to the sea, Vicko Soljan will get an idea about organizing a swimming marathon in the Bay of Stari Grad. During the show, Vicko Soljan − the father of the marathon in Stari Grad − a real fan of water sports who already had several noted successes in the swimming and water polo club Faros, decided that in Stari Grad, due to the ideal configuration of the bay, a marathon should be organized, which would animate the local youth and entertain the tourists.

After great success of the "trial" mini marathon held on 27 July 1975 this water flower flourished on 19 September 1976 when the first Open Competition in Long-Distance Swimming in Yugoslavia was held at the16 km long route from the town port to the promontory Kabel and back. Thus, the inhabitants of Stari Grad have been organizing every year since 1976 until today International Championship of Croatia (until 1991 the Championship of Yugoslavia) in long-distance swimming − the popular Faros Marathon.

During last four decades Faros Marathon has developed from a small provincial competition into a world institution of long-distance swimming and enjoys today the primacy as the most prestigious world marathon. The final confirmation of the fact and the cult status of this competition came from the Hall of Fame (International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame) from Fort Lauderdale in Florida (USA) which on 22 September 2012 solemnly admitted the Faros Marathon as the first and only world marathon in the history of this institution and the only international sports event from Croatia to the membership of the international Hall of Fame in one sports discipline.

At the so far held 37 marathons there participated in total 1122 swimmers from 42 countries  from all five continents among whom were all world's best marathoners. Faros Marathon is the only international, not just sports manifestation in the Republic of Croatia whose continuity was not interrupted during the Homeland War and the only one that was successfully held also in 1991, during the blockade of the Croatian air space and the maritime blockade of the island. It is especially worth to mention the date of 1 September 1991 when in real war conditions the 16th marathon was held as the first international sports event in the independent Republic of Croatia. Thus, the primacy was won that will always remain written in golden letters in the history of Croatian sport.

Because of its merits for an excellent organization of Faros Marathon, Stari Grad was on 2 and 3 September 1989 a host of the historic first official competition in this sport in the world − the first European Championship. In Stari Grad there is also the seat of the Croatian Long-Distance Swimming Association, the only state association on one of the 1246 Croatian islands. Many sports and other experts ask themselves what is that which attracts the world's greatest marathon swimmers to the small town of Stari Grad. One of the many answers, apart from the beauty of the route and the wonderful sea, are the impressions which the swimmers take home from Paiz (old name on the island of Hvar for Stari Grad), enriched with love of local inhabitants towards all marathoners. Just this love and enthusiasm of the people from Stari Grad, along with the exceptional natural advantages of the Bay of Stari Grad are the guarantee for the long life of FarosMarathon − the pride and glory of the oldest town on Croatian soil.

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