Saturday, 21 November 2020

Zagreb Advent Run: Different Edition for Fifth Anniversary

November 21, 2020 – This year's edition of the favorite costume race Zagreb Advent Run is conceived as a three-day event in a completely new format adapted to the epidemiological situation.

The fifth anniversary of the Zagreb Advent Run race will take place over three days, from December 18 to 20, and costumed participants will be able to run the leg of their choice, in smaller numbers with friends, family members, and pets.

To avoid gathering more people in one place, the official start of the race will not be held in the same way as in previous years. Participants of the Zagreb Advent Run will independently choose the length and route of the race, and the final goal will be traditionally in front of the hotel Westin Zagreb. Upon entering the finish line, participants will receive official T-shirts and well-deserved medals.

"The global coronavirus pandemic has changed the daily lives of citizens and the way almost every social sector functions, and racing is no exception. Despite the great desire for the Zagreb Advent Run 2020 to be held as in previous years in a more numerous and cheerful edition, the health of our participants is certainly in the first place. Therefore, we decided to continue the tradition of this race, but in a form adapted to the current epidemiological situation, keeping in mind the maximum safety of all race participants," announced Mario Petrović, CEO of Millennium Promotion and one of the race organizers.

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PR Zagreb Advent Run

The organizers of the race, Millenium promocija and Run Croatia invite citizens to run this year's Zagreb Advent Run in selected costumes and ask participants to gather in small groups, keeping in mind the protection of their families and friends.

"Zagreb Advent Run has turned into one of the most massive Advent races in Europe. This year, the coronavirus pandemic changed all the plans we had to mark the fifth anniversary of the race. However, aware of the immense desire of citizens to bring the famous Advent joy and atmosphere in 2020, we decided to organize a modified version of the race," said Berislav Sokač, one of the organizers of the race and the originator of the Zagreb Advent Run.

Like every year, this year's Zagreb Advent Run has its humanitarian aspect. This time, all participants are invited to support the Ana Rukavina Foundation. The foundation was established in memory of the late journalist Ana Rukavina, who sent one great wish to the public – that of life. The Foundation bases its work on this very desire and, through the humanitarian action „Želim život“ ("I want life"), raises funds for the Foundation activities and the provision of assistance to hematological patients throughout Croatia.

During December, a humanitarian telephone line will be opened and all interested parties can call. All of the Zagreb Advent Run participants are invited to support this commendable action on the eve of the holidays.

"Through joint efforts and the nobility of our citizens, in this way we can provide the funds needed for further collection of samples for the Croatian Registry of Voluntary Hematopoietic Stem Cell Donors and professional development of young doctors in hematology and other related specializations," said Marija Rukavina, the Foundation Manager.

All those interested can register on the Zagreb Advent Run website.

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To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Sunday, 23 June 2019

Bagatin Becomes the First Run Friendly Clinic in the World

June 23, 2019 - The Run Croatia initiative enters a new phase as Bagatin Clinic becomes the first Run Friendly Clinic in the world. 

One of the most exciting things I am observing in Croatia today is how so many bubbles of positive energy and ideas are beginning to join forces. Forget the corruption of the State and the mighty State of Uhljebistan - there is a new breed of entrepreneur who just wants to get on with life. And these entrepreneurs are increasingly connecting with each other, creating a parallel Croatia of positivity and change. 

As I have written previously, one of the most interesting tourism projects currently ongoing is Run Croatia's initiative to promote Croatia as a run-friendly destination. What started out as a couple of races only 2 years ago is quickly mushrooming into a serious business, which is attracting running tourists from all over the world. You can check out the in-depth TCN interview with Run Croatia on what they are trying to achieve - and have achieved already. 

Improving the local Croatian tourist offer, as well as expanding the Croatian tourist offer in general;

Organizing various events/introducing novelties into the existing Croatian tourist offer aimed at extending the peak tourist season;

Increasing revenues, especially off-season;

Promoting Croatia as a top-tourist destination for athletes internationally;

Creating a distinguished and recognizable image of Croatian tourism.

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But the ambitions of Run Croatia are much wider than promoting tourism and organising races. They are working with various organisations and businesses in Croatia to partner with them in order to create a healthier environment in general. Their Run Friendly World initiative includes hotels, employers and clinics. 

These week, Run Friendly World welcomed the first clinic in the world - another bubble of Croatian positivity, Bagatin Clinic in Zagreb, one of the leading clinics in the region and named last year as the best dermatology clinic in Europe. 

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Already a Run Friendly Employer and a strong supporter of the initiative, Bagatin is now the first official run friendly clinic. 

Run Friendly Clinics are medical institutions that welcome Run Friendly Employers by making sure their employees are healthy and have available monthly  / yearly check ups depending on their needs.

Moreover, not only do Run Friendly Clinics recognize the importance of being active and living a healthy life style, however also motivating their staff to engage in various sporting events and realizing the benefits of being active.

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As a Run Friendly Clinic, your goal is to tend to your patients needs to become a better athlete and a healthier person. In addition, to ensure detailed check ups that will manage to treat (mostly) sporting injuries, to advise patients on other healthy approaches and most of all to become part of a community that values active lifestyle.

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To learn more about Run Croatia, visit the official website.

And to learn more about the world's first run friendly clinic, visit the Bagatin Clinic website


Monday, 20 May 2019

Run Croatia, a Healthy Tourism Success Story and Model

May 20, 2019 - One step at a time - and there have been many steps - a new segment of Croatian tourism is taking hold. Taking a closer look at the fabulous Run Croatia story.  

It is about three years since I first met a very energetic young lady called Iva Hafner, who had a passion for running and wanted to turn Croatia into a run-friendly destination. Although I have run two marathons in my life (yes really, although some 30 years ago), I must confess that I did not pay too much attention to the idea at the time, as the project was only just starting, and I thought it would be one more good idea that would not go very far in Croatia. 


I was, however, very impressed with Iva's focus and determination in that first meeting. And then I met her brother, Berislav, and that same family determination shone through again. 

And not only is Run Croatia moving forward, but the model that they are building is really exciting, and an example of how you can build up a year-round tourism segment from absolutely nothing. Iva kindly agreed to sit for an interview in Zagreb recently. It is a great story. 

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1. How and when did Run Croatia start, and what was the original concept? And who are the founding fathers and mothers?

Run Croatia was founded in September 2015 after Berislav finished all World Majors as the 13th man in the world. He then decided to leave his successful corporate career as a retail director in Oracle and embark on an entrepreneurial path to follow his passion. Soon after, he found partners in crime: his school buddy Sven, who is a passionate sports aficionado and a journalist and his sister - me - with a track record in online travel, who loves to run for human rights. 

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2. What was your first race? How hard was it to organize, and how successful was it?

It's somewhat significant that in March 2016 our first 10k race took place in the small town of Ludbreg, which is famous for its Centrum Mundi landmark -the center of the world. Ludbreg also means 'Crazy Hill' in Croatian. Some 30 runners showed up and I won the first place in the women's category. I'll probably never get the chance to repeat this success again.

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3. Take us through building up from that first race to where you are today.

We never planned to organize races, we had never done race event management before in our professional lives. The main idea was to work together with existing race organizers and to help them promote their events and destinations more aggressively, in order to attract better sponsors and create an image of Croatia in the world as the ideal destination for running all year round. 

When we started approaching race directors though, it became clear that we were perceived as their direct competitors. So in order to build our brand and the community, we decided to build the umbrella organization on our own.


Now 33 events later we have managed to attract well-known sponsors and more than 30 nationalities run our races mostly offseason, which makes it interesting to move away from the 'sun & beach' mentality. We are especially proud of our biggest race Zagreb Advent Run, which we co-organize with Millenium Promocija. 

Zagreb has become very popular being voted as the best Christmas market in Europe, and our event is one of a kind in the program. In 2018 more than 2500 costumed runners and walkers moved cheerfully through the center raising awareness against diabetes and contributing to the cause. We had a Nordic walking world champion competing and winning as well as a runner from North Carolina coming to Zagreb only because of the race.

Compared with other European cities we succeeded in attracting more participants than Vienna or London. We were very happy to get the recognition from the Croatian Association for Public Relations, who awarded Zagreb Advent Run as the best-communicated event in 2018.

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4. How many races are therein 2019 - give us a flavor of the diversity.

We started the year on the islands of Krk, Hvar and Pag with 5 races in 1 week. After that, there are 10 more events until the end of the year - all in beautiful locations scattered around Croatia. Our 4th edition of the International Half Marathon Lun-Novalja on the island of Pag attracts more runners from abroad than domestic ones. They say it's a boutique running event with a demanding route, beautiful scenery and not easy to reach outside of season, but definitely worth it. 

We especially love themed races like Hvar Wine Run with the best wine from the island at the after run party. Last year there was an American couple on honeymoon spontaneously signing up on the spot. They were very happy with having such an adventurous experience and even winning 1st place in the women's category!

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5. You have built up a great Run Croatia network with partnerships with airlines, hotels etc. Tell us more and who is in the network. and how can businesses join?

When we did a deep dive into our business relationships, we realized that we should connect all involved parties around our events into a "Run-friendly platform." We started with branding the hotels as run-friendly like LifeClass Terme Sveti Martin, Falkensteiner Hotel Park Punat, Vitality Hotel Punta Losinj which need to fulfill certain criteria in order to get certified.

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The logical next step was to develop a "Run-friendly employer" certification since we co-operate with many companies who deeply care about their employees' fitness and motivation. For our community and our partners we have developed an app which rewards running, walking or cycling activity by earning Go:Coins which can be then spent on products with significant discounts. You can save a lot of money by just moving! You can contact us at or

6. Your ultimate vision for Run Croatia?

So far we have stayed loyal to our somewhat chaotic approach of not having a business plan. This way we stay flexible and open for opportunities which help to create the platform. Run Croatia is like a premium virgin olive oil binding all ingredients together for a perfect salad. Where previously was no obvious connection between different business parts and activities, we bring them together through dedicated execution so everyone can profit from being part of the chain - as an individual, society or company. 

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7. Connecting with the diaspora - what plans?

We would love to find partners abroad who would help us promote Croatia as the 1st Run friendly destination in the world. This could happen with organizing race events which promote beauties of Croatia through the positive energy of running. Also, we would love to invite diaspora to run in Croatia. We have some ideas in this direction how can we all run & party together for a good cause. 

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8. You have run some pretty interesting marathons in different parts of the world - tell us more.

Berislav has an impressive track record by finishing all World Majors before starting the Run Croatia project. When we were in our start-up phase we were thinking of which values drive us and how can we show them through running by getting out of our comfort zone. So we decided to run the Pyongyang marathon with the message that running knows no borders and it's a universal human right to move freely.


Soon after I was preparing to run a half-marathon at the Teheran marathon in April 2017 since it was announced that it would be open for women for the first time in the history of Iran. Shortly before the race the regime forbade women to compete and allowed them only to run a 10 k loop around an empty stadium. I decided then with a group of other female runners to stage their own secret race in order to fulfill the missing distances. This experience was an eye-opener that women have to fight for the right to move freely and not taking it for granted. You can read about Iva's experience in Tehran here.

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9. Your vision of Croatian tourism direction in general?

We are lucky to live in one of the most diverse countries in the world when it comes to landscape, culture, history, gastronomy.. with the perfect conditions for all-year-round tourism. It's sad to see how big is the economic dependency on the high season which brings overtourism per se with all its devastating socio-environmental effects into play. We need more creative types, who care about people and environment first, and then about business, targeting high-quality niche guests who are conscious about nature preservation and respect the local culture. With our Run friendly concept, we want to stir the streams outside of main season and attract active outdoorsy guests who value the environment and are interested to explore different parts of the country outside of main season.

You can follow the Run Croatia story on the official website and this earlier article on TCN.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Lošinj's Vitality Hotel Punta Becomes Run Friendly Hotel!

Ever been to beautiful Lošinj? If you're a lover of athletics, running and other forms of active tourism when on holiday, then this is the Croatian destination for you, with a newly certified Run Friendly hotel tailored to your needs to prove it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of May, 2019, Lošinj's Vitality Hotel Punta has been awarded a Run Friendly certificate, meaning that the hotel is tailored to accommodate runners as well as other active tourists.

The certification process is run by the Zagreb-based company Run Croatia, and Lošinj's Hotel Punta owned by the hotel company Lošinj Hotels & Villas is one of the few Croatian hotels that can boast of holding this certificate.

Lošinj's Vitality Hotel Punta has satisfied all of the necessary conditions to meet the standards of the process of certification to be declared a Run Friendly hotel and has been given the highest possible categorisation (three tennis shoes).

This means that all of this Lošinj hotel's visitors can enjoy a number of benefits as a supplement to the usual hotel offer within its Run Friendly package. This type of hotel is fully tailored to the needs of runners, and guests are entitled to the aforementioned Run Friendly package that includes a high quality running t-shirt, a medal as a reward for running the tracks around the hotel, a racetrack map, a variety of running tours for beginners all the way to those requiring advanced programs, healthy food and drinks at the mini bar, energy bars, late checkout opportunities, and special massage programs.

In addition to all the advantages, the island of Lošinj as a destination itself offers a number of attractive racing tracks for all running level abilities within a beautiful landscape with a sea view, numerous vistas and pretty coves.

"With the concept of a run-friendly hotel, we wish to provide our guests, especially those who prefer an active holiday, with additional convenience to spend an ideal active outdoor holidayin the perfect untouched nature outdoors. All recreants and runners staying in our hotel will find the ideal conditions and hotel treatment fully adapted to their lifestyle,'' said Rikardo Hesky, director of Jadranka hotels.

Because of its own special microclimate, Lošinj itself is an ideal place for sports activities with its clean, pure air which is additionally enriched with aromatic Mediterranean flora.

"By launching the Run Friendly hotel certification project, we were aiming to provide added value to hotels as well as to runners as we recognised the value of this international trend - an active lifestyle and active holidays. The Run Friendly package for hotels offers guests everything they need to run and a peaceful island location is yet another reason for them to spend their time on holiday actively and take a step forward for their psychological and physical health,'' stated Berislav Sokač from Run Croatia.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Active Tourism on Hvar: Mountain Madness Returns for Second Edition

March 4, 2019 - Hvar's growing reputation as an active tourism destination gets another boost with the return of Mountain Madness Hvar for the second time.

Fifteen years ago, Hvar was hardly known for its adventure tourism. With the notable exception of the Faros Marathon 16km open sea swim, the most exercise experienced on the island was walking to the beach.

And then something changed. 


Back in 2005, the first adventure tourism agency was founded, bringing new tourism possibilities in sailing, kayaking, cycling, hiking and rock climbing. The trend took hold and started to expand, and new events appeared on the Hvar tourism calendar. 

The first Hvar Half Marathon took place about ten years ago, and it has proved a popular and very international August fixture ever since. There were more regattas, and more and more tourists took time out from the beach to hike, cycle, climb, sail and kayak. 

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The island's cycling credentials were given a huge boost in December 2017 when one of the world's leading teams, Bahrain Merida and including world champion Vincenzo Nibali, took up residence at Suncani Hvar's Pharos bayhill hotel for their winter training, an event they repeated in 2018. 

More international events were added, including the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Hvar (see video above), which returns for the third edition in April. 

And last October, Hvar's adrenaline calendar got another event - Mountain Madness Hvar.

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Mountain Madness Hvar is a race designed to test strength, endurance, but also to challenge skills, speed, and ability to overcome various obstacles on a 7km long track, regardless of weather conditions. The race is suitable for participants of all ages and also for dogs!

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Mountain Madness originated in Croatia in Ravna Gora, Gorski Kotar, where is has been held for four years, before moving to Zagreb for the first time for the Medvenica Outdoor Festival. The first Mountain Madness Hvar event took place on October 6 last year,  the first on a Croatian island.

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The event was a great success, and organisers Mountain Madness, Suncani Hvar Hotels and Run Croatia could obviously not wait a whole year to repeat it, and this year's event has been announced for April 27. 

Want to get an idea of what you might be getting into? Below is a video of Mountain Madness where it began in Croatia - Ravna Gora in Gorski Kotar.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Run Croatia Platform Expands Partners, Records Growth Day by Day

Have you heard about Run Croatia yet?

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Run Friendly Croatia - A Unique, Multilateral Project for Health

Dusted off your running shoes yet?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Run Croatia Announces Its First Wine Run on Scenic Island of Hvar

April 4, 2018 - The Croatian sporting events company teams up with two of Hvar’s premier destinations- award-winning winery Zlatan Otok, and the exclusive hotel group, Sunčani Hvar, to deliver a fun run (in the sun!) through historic Hvar.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Run Croatia: Are You Ready for the Zagreb Advent Run?

Advent in Zagreb is growing in popularity year on year, with more and more events taking place in the capital. Not many are as active as this - the return of the Zagreb Advent Run.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Sweat Your Troubles Away: Lagvić Liga, Zagreb Winter Running Series Begins this Saturday

This Saturday sees the start of 15th Lagvić Liga running series, an event that takes runners from the foothills of Zagreb’s beloved mountain goddess Sljeme up to its shrine located by the TV tower at the summit of the iconic hill.


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