Multiple gold medallist Thomas Lurz has announced his intention to take part in one of the most gruelling swimming races on the international calender, according to a press release on the official Faros Marathon
website on March 10, 2012.
Lurz, whose swimming achievements include an Olympic Bronze medal in 2008, as well as Golds for the 10km event at the 2006 and 2010 European Aquatics Championships in Budapest, will travel to the island of Hvar to take place in the 37th Faros Marathon on August 25, which will once again be held in the oldest town in Croatia, Stari Grad.
The race, which first took place in 1976, is a 16km swim from the pretty waterfront of Stari Grad out to the Kabal Peninsula and back, and it attracts a very international field, a field which will include participants from as far away as Japan and the Dominican Republic. Last year's winner, Alexander Studzinski
, from Germany, is a four-time winner of the event, including a course record time of 3:01:55.
"The fact that Thomas Lurz, probably the best marathon swimmer in history, has confirmed his participation shows the enormous prestige that Faros Marathon enjoys among today's long-distance competitions," the race's founder, Vinko Soljan
was quoted on the official site. "A crucial motivation for Lurz's decision is, perhaps, the fact that Faros Marathon will be included into International Swimming Hall of Fame and Museum (ISHOF) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, thus becoming the first and only marathon to be included since ISHOF founding, as well as the only big sports event held in Croatia to be included in any Hall of Fame."
The race is an important tradition in Hvar's second town and former capital, and highlights a different side to Croatia's premier island, which is better known for its sun, beaches, nightlife and celebrity draw. In contrast to the more popular Hvar Town, Stari Grad has a more tranquil tourism offer, which includes heritage, beaches, gastronomy and agro-tourism, much of it centred around the UNESCO-protected Stari Grad Plain, a 2,400 agricultural colony set up by the Ancient Greeks.