Swim Marathon Šabac, Serbia

History of Sabac marathon

International swimming marathon Jarak-Sabac is well known under the name of “Peace race”. It has been In FINA calendar since 1984. and among 24 most respected swimming marathons in the world it takes 11th place(criteria that are taken into the consideration are: number and quality of contestant’s, hospitality, accommodation of swimmers, organization of competition in widest sense – from welcoming competitors to securing the track, medical control and judges objectivity; audience number, prizes and general impression of swimmers about hospitality). International swimming marathon Jarak-Sabac along the river Sava is 18, 880km long, and that is distance between village Jarak in Srem and city of Sabac at the beach “Stari grad”. Marathon has been held in memoriam of “Blood march“, when 4500 Sabac citizens in autumn of 1941 were forced under the threat of death to run 22km from Sabac to german camp in Jarak. Anyone who couldn’t run any more was shot. Many prisoners survived thanks to people of village Jarak which gave them water and bread and by doing that they risked their lives. To show their gratitude, citizens of Sabac made memorial drinking fountain at the entrance in the village with inscription:”For love, for brotherhood, for water”. Pioneer of this race that entered international swimming calendars, Milorad Rajsic, persistently and with help of enthusiast prolongs this Marathon tradition, that during the first weekend in august swimmers from almost every continent find their way in Sabac.

All years of Marathon

Everything started almost accidentally. Group of young man in 1970 raced each other on Sava’s banks. This was noticed by students from Homeland club of Sabac and already the next year 1971 they organized the competition. One foreigner, Ate Sikes Frans from Holland, took part in it, and that gave marathon international character. Years passed by and marathon gained significance. (Every august Sava was boiling under the strokes of swimmers from Yugoslavia and from all over the world). Race is 18,8km long since 1982 and that was turning point for Marathon. It came out of local boundaries in 1983 and gained international significance. So history of Marathon can be divided in two periods of its development, from 1970 to 1981 when it had only local significance and only enthusiast from Sabac took place in it, and from 1976 schooled swimmers from swimming club “Zorka”. First marathon was held in 1970 and it didn’t have any organization. Even the newspapers didn’t report about that sport event. Only witness of this first competition was river Sava. Six young men were swimming in Sava that hot July and thought how to change their fun into sport event. It was competition without judges and official organization. They decided to start at river island near village Klenak and swim across river Sava to the beach “Stari grad”. Next two year Homeland club of students organized “Days on water” and one of the most attractive disciplines was swimming marathon. Track was extended. Start was at old railway bridge and they swam to Stari grad. Length of the track was 2,5 km. Next 3 years SOFK-a Sabac helped with organization. Track was extended once more. Now it was from Kocin canal so length was 4,5 km and number of competitors grew from year to year. In 1976, suggested by swimmers, there were two races. First one like year before, from Kocin canal, and second from river island near village Drenovac 8 km long. Sabac swimmers, already experienced, wished to show their endurance and courage on even longer races. In 1977 they swam from archaeological site “Gomolava” which is 16 km long, and that was the track for next 4 years. Homeland club of students was leader in this organization till the 1978. First time in 1978 in that roll appeared Youth center “Vera Blagojevic”. From that time marathon was on the rising path. Every year organization was better and better and public interest grew. In 1982 swimming marathon wasn’t only local. Swimmers from all over Yugoslavia applied. It was the second period of Marathon development when it got its international significance not only as sport but as memorial race named “Peace race”. In 1982 traditional marathon “Jarak-Sabac” became manifestation of friendship, not only because of great number of participating countries, but because of acknowledgment of Sabac and Jarak residents. Organizers decided that track should be extended to 18,8 km from village Jarak in Srem to beach Stari grad in Sabac. In 1987 Municipal tourist association took upon themselves to organize Marathon. Then came the years of sanction and war but marathon continued to exist. Goal of organizers was to continue the tradition. Those 4 years from 1991 to 1994 Marathon was swam from Kocin canal and river island near village Drenovac like on beginning. Swimmers were mostly local and few guests. When those dark times past, Tourist organization of Sabac wished to bring back old glory of Marathon. During next four years they brought famous name’s in marathon swimming world from Slovenia, Macedonia, Italia and Hungary. Marathon entered the FINA WORLD CUP, and from 2004, with prize fond of 10 000 US dollars and track length of 19km most famous marathon swimmers from all over the world took part in it. Also as part of Marathon there are many other sport and cultural activities. From 2007 FINA Sabac swim marathon enters the calendar of GRAND PRIX races. Marathon and Sabac became recognized not only in Serbia but all over the world. WORLD IN SABAC – SABAC IS WORLD.

It is expected that Tourist organization of Sabac and sponsors of Marathon, assemblies of cities Sremska Mitrovica and Sabac, will cherish and keep this wonderful manifestation and tradition recognizable in the world.

Previous winners
1970. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1971. Ate Sikes Franc Holland
Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1972. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1973. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1974. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1975. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1976. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1977. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1978. Vojislav Mijić Yugoslavia
1979. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1980. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1981. Marino Šoljan Yugoslavia
1982. Marino Šoljan Yugoslavia
1983. Bojan Jan Yugoslavia
1984. Mohamed Aly Jassen Egypt
1985. Horvat Zolt Hungary
1986. Dariusz Tasarek Poland
1987. Mihalj Novković Yugoslavia
1988. Premislav Abramoviscz Poland
1989. Nace Majcen Yugoslavia
1990. Nace Majcen Yugoslavia
1991. Vojislav Mijić Yugoslavia
1992. Milorad Rajšić Yugoslavia
1993. Vojislav Mijić Yugoslavia
1994. Vojislav Mijić Yugoslavia
1995. Zoltan Pavić Yugoslavia
1996. Tomi Stefanovski Macedonia
1997. Nace Majcen Slovenia
1998. Miodrag Vasić Yugoslavia
1999. Tomi Stefanovski Macedonia
2000. Miodrag Vasić Yugoslavia
2001. Miodrag Vasić Yugoslavia
2002. Nace Majcen Slovenia
2003. Evgenije Bezrucenko Russia
2004. Gabriel Chaillou Argentina
2005. Petar Stoychev Bulgaria
2006. Anton Sanachev Russia
2007. Petar Stoychev Bulgaria
2008. Brendan Capell Australia
2009. Rok Kerin Slovenia
2010. Rok Kerin Slovenia
2011. Guillermo Bertola Argentina
2012. Men: Ivan Afanevich

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