A mad marathon

It’s the time of year again when I walk down Ilica going “gosh it’s quiet, there aren’t any trams” and then realise that the Zagreb Marathon is on. I took a bunch of photos – most of which are shit because, as it says right there in my byline, I’m a lousy photographer.

It’s funny – it’s not like Zagreb is the busiest city in the world. C is currently in Hanoi, and it took her several minutes to cross the road because it’s so manic with scooters. Zagreb is comparatively calm. But still, you can tell when something’s on. You can walk down the middle of the main street with no trams barrelling down on you.

I don’t know what other marathons are like. But in Zagreb, people go about their normal Sunday chores as runners from Kenya, Ethiopia and the European Union jog past them. They don’t even bat an eyelid.

This lady has more important things to do than worry about some marathon.

Down near the start/finish line there was a group of people called ZG-BG 442. They were insane. They were hooting and tooting and throwing confetti at people. I don’t think this is normal marathon behaviour, but what would I know? When they saw one of their own, one of the 442 crew, they went absolutely ballistic, chanting and singing and running alongside their comrade with open tins of beer. I’m not sure if they were as inspiring as they thought they were. I imagine that after 41 kilometres of running I’d want to punch one of those guys. But they were having a great old time.

I later learned – through the amazing power of Google, while having a refreshing beverage on the Dolac – that this is a running group formed by two smaller running groups – Zagreb and Belgrade. Known as the 442 Crew, their aim is to focus on a future full of miles and smiles.


I’ve never seen such lunatic behaviour at a sporting event, although to be fair I haven’t attended too many rugby league games. They were totally nuts.

I reckon I’ll try to join them.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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