A busy day of sporting action on the island of Hvar ended with a strong Croatian showing for the island's second half marathon.
Known for its tourism, lavender, sunshine and celebrity draw, the island of Hvar showed off its versatility on August 25, 2012, by hosting two very different marathon events with very international fields.
As previously reported on Digital Journal, one of the world's most gruelling swimming races was won yesterday by German Olympic medallist Thomas Lurz, whose 3 hours, 12 minutes and 7 seconds was enough to triumph in the 37th Faros Marathon, a 16km swim from the oldest town in Croatia, Stari Grad, to the Kabal Peninsula and back. He beat fellow compatriot Christian Reichert, while fellow German Angela Maurer won the women's event for the second year running.
Thomas Lurz interviewed moments after winning the 37th Faros Marathon
The second marathon of the day on Hvar, whose visitors tend to spend more time on the coast on its pristine beaches, was the second Hvar Half Marathon, a race from Stari Grad to Hvar Town along the old road to the main town, including a challenging 400 metre elevation in the early stages of the race.
The finishing line was on Hvar Town's stunning square, the largest in Dalmatia at 4,700m2.
There were 120 entrants in all, from an impressive 17 countries, but it was the domestic runners who ran away with all the accolades, achieving a clean sweep in both the men's and women's race, according to the official results posted on the race's website.
The men's race was won by Mario Špoljar with a time of 1 hour, 21 minutes 55, followed by Tomislav Brečić and Željko Letonija, while Nikolina Šustić crossed the winning line on the main square in Hvar Town first (and fourth overall) in 01:27:49, beating Tadeja Krušec and Radmila Maksimović into second and third.
The race, deemed by many participants as one of the most beautiful in the world, with its stunning sea views of the Adriatic from both sides of the road (judge for yourself from the video of the route, above), is one of several initiatives to expand the tourism potential of Hvar, which was named by Lonely Planet as its number five destination for 2012. Other events added to the island character in recent years have included some very unique festivals, including honey, lavender and even an edible dormouse festival.