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article imageActive Croatia: Cetina Adventure Race Highlights Inland Dalmatia Special

By Paul Bradbury     Jun 9, 2013 in Travel
Sinj - While the beaches and sun on the Dalmatian coast may attract most of the tourists, the potential of inland Dalmatia is slowly being recognised.
There was an early start for Digital Journal on June 8, 2013, as the 3rd Cetina Adventure Race began in the historic town of Sinj shortly after 06:00. The 100 km race, a combination of 50 km cycling, 18 km kayaking, 26 km running and 6 km canyoning, was a perfect opportunity to showcase both the beauty and adventure holiday potential of one of Europe's least discovered regions, and Digital Journal covered the whole event, albeit from the comfort of a car.
Sinj before the race at 0530 - bicycles at  the ready and a graduation party
Sinj before the race at 0530 - bicycles at the ready and a graduation party
Ilija Veselica
As previously reported on Digital Journal, Sinj is one of Dalmatia's most interesting - yet least visited - tourist destinations. Lying just 30 minutes north of the coastal city of Split by car, its rich history and heritage (including a claim to the birthplace of football) takes many visitors by surprise, as does the town's beauty and fascinating architecture over the ages.
The race started shortly after 6 am with a 50 km cycle ride
The race started shortly after 6 am with a 50 km cycle ride
Ilija Veselica
While the town has plenty to offer those looking to experience the diverse and turbulent history in the region, it is perhaps the surrounding area's nature and sporting attractions which offer the biggest potential to develop the area into an activity destination that has the most potential for the town which is most famous for its Alka tournament every August (see video below).
The Cetina Adventure Race is a recent introduction to the Sinj tourism calendar, and the early start was not the only thing happening so early as a Saturday morning, as the race's competitors made their mental preparations outside the disco where a school's graduation party was still in full swing - plenty of action for a supposedly sleepy town before 6 am.
Sleepy Sinj? 6am on Saturday morning - a school graduation party in full swing
Sleepy Sinj? 6am on Saturday morning - a school graduation party in full swing
Ilija Veselica
The 24 competitors (in 12 teams of two) set off through the Dalmatian hinterland, where the physical exertion was offset by the breathtaking scenery.
The race took competitors through inland Dalmatia s breathtaking  and barely populated  interior.
The race took competitors through inland Dalmatia's breathtaking, and barely populated, interior.
Ilija Veselica
The popular Dalmatian coast is just 30 minutes, but a whole world, away, and few tourists venture away from the beach to experience a different and very authentic Dalmatia. With the mighty Cetina river offering kayaking, white water rafting and canoeing, excellent hiking and rock climbing in the nearby mountains, and the world-famous Sinj hippodrome leading the equestrian attractions, the potential to combine Sinj's activity holidays with a beach component is still to be developed.
After 50 km of cycling  it was time for a little kayaking.
After 50 km of cycling, it was time for a little kayaking.
Ilija Veselica
Cycling gave way to kayaking, as the competitive teams took in the beauty of lake sport. EU funding has just been awarded to develop a rowing centre on one of the nearby lakes, which will be an important addition to the region's sporting attractions.
Helping out the competition at the end of the kayaking leg.
Helping out the competition at the end of the kayaking leg.
Ilija Veselica
Competitive it may have been, but the spirit of the race was collaborative, and a nice example of helping out the opposition at the end of the kayaking leg.
A second race - a 5 km run
A second race - a 5 km run
Ilija Veselica
Meanwhile back in Sinj, a second race was taking place, a 5 km run around the town, with 40 competitors - men, women and children.
Jelena Bilic  Tourist Director of Sinj  with Digital Journal
Jelena Bilic, Tourist Director of Sinj, with Digital Journal
Ilija Veselica
One of the competitors in the town race was Sinj Tourist Board director Jelena Bilic, pictured here with Digital Journal, who has been a driving force in the revival of the fortunes of Sinj tourism. Her energy and vision has increased the town's visibility as a tourist attraction in the year she has been in charge.
Stage 3: 26 km run
Stage 3: 26 km run
Ilija Veselica
Back to the main event, a gruelling 26 km run in the hot Dalmatian sun was next on the agenda.
A little canyoning to keep competitors on their toes...
A little canyoning to keep competitors on their toes...
Ilija Veselica
After completing 6 km of canyoning, the race was won by ODLIČNO BEZVEZE - Dragomir Bili Čović i Hrvoje Kedžo.
The race apart, it was an excellent introduction to the raw beauty and potential of inland Dalmatia activity tourism. With the close proximity of Split Airport and Croatia's imminent EU entry, these are exciting times for one of Europe's most picturesque and undiscovered destinations.
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