OSTROG HALF MARATHON - "RACE FOR THE SOUL"
ABOUT THE HALF MARATHON
Five years ago, the first official sports event of the Ostrog Half Marathon was organized, which, thank God, has already come to life as a tradition of one of the most difficult and attractive international athletic competitions, serving the pride of Niksic and Montenegro.
The idea of the Ostrog Half Marathon has matured for a long time and its development path can be traced back years. On the day of Saint Basil of Ostrog, The Miracle Maker, which is celebrated on May 12, a group of marathoners and running fans from Nikšić ran from the Cathedral in Nikšić to the Ostrog Monastery for 24 years, celebrating the holiday of the great Saint in their own way. They had no idea that all those years, as part of the flow "the only river in the world that flows uphill - rivers of people", Ostrog pilgrims and worshipers, were the forerunners of the Ostrog Half Marathon.
With the blessing of the Bishop Joanikije of Budimlye-Niksic, the idea of the Ostrog Half Marathon was finally consecrated, made official and successfully organized as an international race of a competitive nature and as a recreational-tourist event.
The first offshoot of the Ostrog Half Marathon was born on April 8, 2017, on the Feast of Flowers, which is celebrated the week before Easter, on the eve of Holy Week, and which celebrates Christ's entry into Jerusalem as an announcement of His baptismal victory over death. This victory of love, life and joy over death gives meaning to all true human endeavors and victories, including athletic endeavors, after all, God-bearers and God-seekers are themselves spiritual athletes who rush to their divine archetype. Leading to the heights of the great sanctuary, the athletic track of the Ostrog Half Marathon in an unusual way evokes the path of the ascent of the human soul towards holiness as the highest ideal and goal of human life.
And "The end is where we start from", according to the words of the great poet T. S. Eliot, which summarize the essence and meaning of human life. His exemplary fulfillment is in the heavenly life of Saint Basil of Ostrog, The Miracle Maker, one of the greatest saints of Orthodox Christianity, deeply respected by members of other religions and nations.
(The Ostrog Monastery, with a church dedicated to the Holy and Life-Giving Cross, was built by St. Basil of Ostrog himself, thus building a lighthouse of faith, a saving refuge, a spiritual asylum, a physical and mental health resort and a destination for pilgrims from all over the world. Saint Basil of Ostrog went on a gospel journey from the Herzegovinian monasteries of Zavala and Tvrdoš, where he attended school, received the priestly and monastic rank. Even during his earthly life, he was considered holy and God-bearing, due to his unusual ascetic zeal and constant prayerful vigil over his people, with whom he suffered in the most difficult historical moments and gave them strength in faith and suffering. After years of spiritual, enlightenment and fundraising work, during which he rebuilt many churches, built several schools and cared for countless afflicts throughout Herzegovina, our Saint and Miracle Maker ascended to the spiritual heights of the Ostrog mountain).
Athletes have long belonged to a special breed of admirers of the Ostrog shrine.
He who searches for something gets a signpost on his search path from what he is looking for. That is why the poetic slogan "the end is where we start from"hits the essence and meaning of the international athletic race Ostrog Half Marathon - "race for the soul".
ABOUT THE TRACK
The Ostrog Half Marathon running track is one of the most difficult half marathon tracks. Figuratively speaking, it seems to hover in time and space at times, crucified between Nikšić (altitude 647m) and Ostorog (altitude 639m). The race starts from Shako Petrović Square, at the foot of Petrova glavica, where the magnificent Cathedral of St. Basil of Ostrog was built, and in front of the imposing sculpture of the Mother of God - the work of sculptor Vjačeslav Klikov from Russia, whom St. Basil loved and visited.
The athletic trail passes through the city center itself, symbolically describing the path of St. Basil's traditional religious procession (May 12), one of the largest festivals in the Christian universe. The trail continues through the village of Kličevo, crosses 18 spectacularly beautiful arches of the Emperor's Bridge on the river Zeta, then crosses the hill Pandurica and rocky Povija, to end in front of the Lower Monastery Ostrog, where the winners and finishers of the half marathon are crowned.
This demanding path is a small icon of human spiritual ascent and self-transcendence. In sports competition, the winners are those who control themselves and beat themselves. Everyone who achieves the goal in this unique competitive and sports-recreational "race for the soul" is the winner. Those who find themselves on the winning throne of the Ostrog Half Marathon, crossing the fastest track that breathed them and inspired them to win, will themselves inspire future athletic endeavors.
We are especially happy to invite you to this year's edition of the international race Ostrog Half Marathon - "Race for the Soul", given that this year marks the 350th anniversary (April 29 / May 12, 1671) of the presentation of St. Basil the Miracle Maker of Ostrog.