Faros Marathon 2011: German Wins 16km Swim in Stari Grad, Croatia
The 36th Faros Marathon on Hvar, one of the most challenging swims in the world, is won by 2009 champion, Alexander Studzinski, in an international field.
One of swimming's most challenging races was won by Alexander Studzinski on August 27 2011, as the German was first to the finish line at the 36th Faros Marathon in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.
Sixteen Kilometre Swim in the Adriatic
The annual event is a testing 16km kilometre swim starting in the harbour of Stari Grad, one of Croatia's most historic cities, having been founded by the Greeks in 384 BC. The route then heads out to sea for 8 kilometres to the tip of the Kabal Peninsula before returning to the finishing line in the town.
An international field of 33 male and female competitors took part in the event, with representation from as far afield as the Dominican Republic, Spain, France, Russia and Greece, while Irene Van Der Laan from the Netherlands was the oldest entrant at 51 years of age.
After introductory speeches and a rousing rendition of the Croatian national anthem, the swimmers, with their competitive numbers drawn on their shoulders - red for the women, blue for the men - jumped into the Adriatic and awaited the start.
The swim was accompanied by supporting boats and television cameras, with the boats sporting the national flags of the international competitors, and the race began shortly after 0815, under a typically azure Dalmatian sky.
Studzinski, who won the event in 2009 in a record time of 3 hours, 1 minute 55, was first back, and crossed the line to raucous cheers in 3:15:46. Emerging from the water, he was greeted with a handshake and kiss, with a laurel placed on his head, before being presented with the trophy.
In second place was Macedonian Evgenij Pop Acev, while third place was taken by the first woman to finish, Angela Maurer, also from Germany. Croatia's top finisher was Tomislav Saldo in fifth.
An evening parade and gala dinner will take place this evening for the participants of the race, while there will also be a gastronomic fair and fireworks in the town, before the lowering of the flags of all participating countries in Stari Grad at midnight.
Faros Marathon and Tourism in Stari Grad
The Faros Marathon is an important event for the Stari Grad community, and comes towards the end of the peak season of a busy tourist season for the town. Improvements to the tourism offer, such as disabled beach access and improved mooring facilities for yachts, has made Stari Grad more accessible.
Famous for its historic old town and being the oldest settlement on Hvar, Stari Grad has deep historical connections with wider communities. The UNESCO-protected Stari Grad Plain, an 80-hectare field which has been cultivated in almost the same way for 24 centuries, can now be better explored by tourists via a new tourist agency dedicated to the history of the Plain.
The ancient ties between Stari Grad and the island of Paros, from where the first settlers came, were strengthened in 2004, when an expedition set sail from Stari Grad for Paros, retracing the ancient road, and bearing gifts of vines and olive trees, descendants of those planted by the Ancient Greeks.
More recently, Stari Grad celebrated its 150th anniversary of its fishing association with the Italian island of Lampedusa, to where its fishermen sailed annually in search of sardines, with some settling on the Italian island. A voyage in an old vessel to commemorate the anniversary is planned for early 2012.