"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own" Sri Chinmoy
Du-Run 10k, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Jan 1st 2018
A great way to start the year - a 10k race somewhere beautiful. Well, I use the term "race" loosely. As my legs were still sore from 4 short races and some intense hikes on the Christmas Trip in Montenegro, I opted for one of my backup plans which I'd made in case I wasn't race-fit. Plan B was to run with the team of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, who were launching the 2018 European Peace Run by carrying the torch around the 10k course, while plan C was to run with Kokila who would be aiming for around 1:15 on the super-hilly course. I felt fit enough to go for plan B, so after the Peace Run ceremony I headed off with the pack gathered around the flaming Peace Torch.
The route led along the wide main drag of Old Dubrovnik before winding out through one of the ancient gates and climbing for a long stretch up and out of the city towards the slopes overlooking the Adriatic. This was an out and back section which meant we could see our faster team mates coming back down the hill in the other lane and cheer them on as they passed. All in all I think there were around 90 of us (Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team members) entered in the race, so we made up a fair proportion of the field. After the climb came the turnaround where I joked that we should be seeing Anugata (regular turnaround marshal in our own races) and then we sped up considerably on the lovely downhill section. There was time for another climb around 3.5km and then a dramatic descent through the ravine between the new city and the old city walls themselves before we took a twisty route on ancient cobbled streets through a different city gate and hit the home straight for the first time. As home straights go, it has to be one of the best there is - the wide expanse of stone-paved, traffic-free road that dates back to who knows when and was lines with crowds enjoying the new year's day celebrations.
Lap 2 was more of the same but being with the Peace Run, constantly returning the smiles and waves and cheers of the other runners and spectators, it was my face that was getting tired from smiling as much as my legs from running. It can be hard work being an ambassador of peace (not really), but that's what every peace-runner is and it was a real privilege to run with them on day 1 of an epic that will span the whole of Europe.
Soon my legs were tired too, although we were only keeping up an 11 minute pace, but I was relieved not to feel any niggles/injuries/strains playing up. My only aim had been to enjoy the run, be inspired by the chance to run with the torch and get round undamaged so I could live to run another day. When we rolled in at th end of lap 2 with a gaggle of photographers snapping shots of the Peace Torch, I was more than happy with the day's run. Not a race maybe, but if I can stay on my feet there will be more chances to race (and more miles with the Peace Torch when it comes to England I hope) to come.
The Du-Run 10k is a great way to see Dubrovnik and I'd love to come back and do it again, maybe at race pace. It's a beautful city, truly unique. It was sad to read a plaque on the wall about how the old buildings has been targeted during the war of the early 90s, but fortunately none of the damage is visible now. It seems beyond belief now that we had war in this part of Europe so recently. Coming to the Balkans made be acutely aware of the need to resolve our differences without recourse to the barbaity of war, so perhaps that's why I spent many moments around the new year praying for a peaceful 2018.
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