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UPDATED TEXT… In Serbia!

PS 29/6/ Taking opportunity of a rest day :)

 

June 28th I crossed into Serbia, my 30th country of the run. I wonder what I will be doing this time four months, not having to lace up my shoes will seem so strange!

Think I need a haircut and a new pair of legs!

Serbia a country of just over 7 million with a low population density is one of the former Yugoslav Republics.  It has been an independent state since 2006 when Montenegro dumped them after a referendum.

In 1989, Slobodan Milošević rose to power in Serbia. Milošević promised reduction of powers for the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, where his allies subsequently overtook the power, during the Anti-bureaucratic revolution. This ignited tensions with the communist leadership of the other republics, and awoke nationalism across the country, that eventually resulted in the Breakup of Yugoslavia, with Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia declaring independence.

Serbia and Montenegro remained together as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

Milošević  faced up to much opposition and demonstrations before finally resigning his post.  The subsequent Yugoslav authorities tried him on suspected  fraud and embezzlement. When the charges did not stand up they extradited him instead to the International courts in the Hague charged for war crimes  including genocide  and crimes against humanity in connection to the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

Milošević elected to represent himself and you know what they say… A person who represents himself in court often has a fool for a client. However he died in his prison cell in the Hague in March 2006.

Serbia, a landlocked country located at the crossroads between Central and Southern Europe, in the Balkan peninsula.

I am told the reason Serbia didn’t get EU membership with the last enlargement was because of this bitter war the country was involved in.

In 1992 war torn, ragged Yugoslavia qualified for the European soccer championships hosted by Sweden.  They were not allowed  to participate due their to the countries instability and at the time alleged war crimes including a policy of ethnic cleansing. Denmark who did not qualify for that tournament was selected to replace them. The Danish football association recalled players who were holidaying on beaches around the world and famously went on to win the tournament beating a first time all reunited German team 2-0 in the final.

Serbia is now an EU candidate country and negotiations are ongoing at this time for their entry.

A fairly modern country yet I am told it is surprisingly cheaper here than in Bulgaria whose people come here to shop. Serbia has one of Europe’s lowest per capita incomes at less than $6,000. In my short time here some people have told me that life was much better and easier under the old system in Yugoslavia. Now people do not have as much state safeguard and have to work harder to survive in the capitalistic world.

 

My arrival day was the 100th anniversary of the start of World war 1 when the assassination on 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Young Bosnia organization, led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia.In defense of its ally Serbia, Russia mobilized its troops, which resulted in Austria-Hungary’s ally Germany declaring war on Russia. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against Serbia activated a series of military alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations across the continent, leading to the outbreak of World War I within a month.

I was stuck with the equivalent of 70 euro in Bulgarian Levs which I am told nobody wants Bulgarian money in Serbia. It would have been too time-consuming to return as there was no nearby town and besides too difficult as I am now pushing Nirvana.

Just then I met two very nice Serbian cyclists called Viktor and Zoran.

Victor called his friend to help me change my Bulgarian Levs. Zoran on the right.

They were out for a spin on their bikes around the border area. They made a phone call to a business  friend who changed for me!

It just happens that Zoran runs a small hostel for students who attend the local medical and technical school here in Zajecar. The students are on holidays now so I was able to take a bed, a rest and a half day today. The lads also helped me with a few chores I needed done. Thanks lads!

Back at Zoran's house with Victor.

I have packed away my logbook and too tired to get it out again, but from memory the latest distance is around 45,675km for 1,042 road days.

Press HERE to see my planned route for the rest of mainland Europe

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4 Responses to “UPDATED TEXT… In Serbia!”

  1. Fergus Says:

    Good Man Tony, You are making great progress and looking at the route across Europe it seems short compared to those enormous distances over the past nearly four years. Stay safe and enjoy those half day breaks. Continued congrats.

  2. Greg Havely Says:

    Hey Tony-=—another border–another country—chipping away at Europe!!—gettin closer to the finish line!!—-Hang in there—
    Sounds like there could be some real festivities in store for you upon your arrival in Dublin–and well should be–
    OK man—good running—cheers Greg

  3. Ann Says:

    Hope you enjoyed your half day and nice bed for the night though I know you were working on logistics. As Fergus said you are really chipping away at Europe. You must be exhausted when you didnt have the energy to check log book, take care of yourself -:)

  4. kevin scanlon Says:

    enjoy the rest day. you deserve it. the borders and new countries are coming up fast. well done. kevin

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About Tony

I have always considered myself to be an average runner. In school, I was even bullied for I was a sports wimp. Through hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-belief and a strong mind I succeeded in not only running around the world but breaking four ultra running world records during my competitive career. Having previously cycled around the world I didn't start running until I was almost 30. Then I had a dream of running around the world. For many reasons, I waited for over 20 years. One reason was to establish my pedigree as an endurance athlete. I started and finished my world run as the current World Record-Holder for 48 Hours Indoor Track 426 kilometres (265 miles), a record I have held since 2007. I also broke and still hold the World Record for 48 hours on a Treadmill 405 kilometres (251 miles) in 2008. When I retired from competition, more pleasing than any of my world, European or Irish records I had the respect of my fellow athletes from all over the world - in my opinion, sports greatest reward - an achievement I am most proud of. Then I finally put myself out to pasture, to live my ultimate dream to run around the world! This blog was written on the road while I struggled to find places to sleep and to recover from running an average of 43.3 kilometres or 27 miles per day for 1,165 road days. There were many nights I typed this blog on a smart phone, so fatigued my eyes closed. Many journalists and endurance athletes have referred to my world run as the most difficult endurance challenge ever attempted. During my expedition I rarely had any support vehicles, running mostly with a backpack. In the more desolate areas I pushed my gear, food and water in a cart which I called Nirvana, then I sent her on ahead to run with my backpack once again over altitudes of almost 5,000 metres in the Andes. I stayed in remote villages where many people had never seen a white person before. I literally met the most wonderful people of this world in their own backyard and share many of those amazing experiences in this blog. My run around the world took 4 years. There were no short cuts, I ran every single metre on the road while seeking out the most comprehensive route across 41 countries, 5 continents, I used 50 pair of running shoes and my final footstep of the run was exactly 50,000 kilometres, (almost 31,000 miles) I eventually finished this tongue in cheek named world jog where I started, at the finish line of my city marathon. I started my global run with the Dublin Marathon on October 25th 2010 and finished with the Dublin Marathon on October 27th 2014 at 3 05pm! Thank you for your support, I hope you can share my unique way of seeing the world, the ultimate endurance challenge! Read more...

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