The mountains give me bravery to stand for my truths
Skyrunning is a sport where you are confronted with many difficult obstacles. You master them, you love them, and you become stronger.
To explain the meaning of that, obstacles are not places where you end your journey. Obstacles are places where you find your inner strength and where you realize that many impossible things are doable.
I had the opportunity to meet Marija, “mother nature’s special agent trained in deadly skyrunning skills”, a very interesting person and passionated Skyrunner.
Behind the everydayness of modern life, she found freedom and essence of happiness in the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle. She was also drawn to the extreme challenge, loved the obstacles and loved the game of Skyrunning.
Today Marija is one of the top Skyrunners in Serbia and she runs for team Tribe Trails. In August this year she took a first place in Čvrsnica trail and she was winner of the month in the Skyrunner Challenge 2019 (hosted by a Skyrunner Adventurers, a new Facebook group for Skyrunner lovers).
In the near future she is dreaming of a full time “Skyrunner lifestyle”, and she is heading for top 10 in the world.
This is Marijas story…
Congrats Marija for being the winner of the race Čvrsnica trail, 32km, 1 500 D+! Can you tell us a little about the race and your experiences from that?
The bus drove us to the start. It was a sunny morning, a promising predictor of a good day ahead. The race was held in Bosnian’s wild west, known for rocky technical terrain with a lot of wild raspberries and shrubs. It started with an up-hill till famous natural rocky frame Hajduks’ door, named after Hajduks – freedom fighters. You had to stop for a moment and look at this nature’s masterpiece crafted meticulously for thousands of years. After it, we went crazy downhill, then up-hill. All that time I was enjoying the view at long ridge that leads to nearby peak. As I am absolutely fascinated with ridges, this was my source of additional strength for continuous movement, that had lasted for 4 hours 37 minutes.
And when I crossed the finish line, I felt like a cowgirl riding back into her hometown after a successful standoff with her inner doubts.
Who is Marija and your story behind?
Marija is the mother nature’s special agent trained in deadly skyrunning skills. Behind everydayness of modern life, I found freedom and essence of happiness in outdoor lifestyle. Moving helps me clear my mind and I feel connected to something that is more real than our notion of normality.
Can you describe yourself with two sentences?
Collector of ridges and rocky downhills. Ambassador of smiles and brewer of beetroot magical potions.
What is most important for you in life?
Clear air, sunshine and freedom of mind and body.
Your passion for Skyrunning? Where is that coming from?
Skyrunning is a sport where you are confronted with many difficult obstacles. That confrontation is very important to me. Obstacles are not places where you end your journey. Obstacles are places where you find your inner strength and where you realize that many impossible things are doable.
Can you describe your significant personal strengths that took you all the way to this level of running?
Commitment was always something elusive to me. I used to start things, but never seen them through the end. I wanted to change that. I wanted to enter into something without exit strategy. That something is skyrunning to me.
Is Skyrunning a hobby or is it something you do for a living?
Being a Skyrunner to me is the same thing as being Batman is to Bruce Wein. It’ss not my job, but it is definitely not a hobby, it is the calling. It is something what I would like to do as my profession in the future.
I work 8 hours a day, sedentary job, in a team that implements and customizes software solution that banks use in their credit risk calculations. I have master’s degree in Economics, but always have had a passion for movement and more active ways of engagement.
Can you tell us a little about Oblakove Pertle?
I’m co-founder of the blog Oblakove pertle. We think that our running shoes are some kind of a portal to unknown that we need. They are not just a piece of sport equipment, but also a tool for our inner growth. Oblakove pertle is a blog through which we explore how this simple item can bring incredible changes in someone’s life.
Oblakove pertle stands for the name of an Indian child that laces up the clouds, instead of running shoes to keep them closer to his heart when he searches for mysteries in endless horizon in the sky.
Have you always had this type of lifestyle (Skyrunning etc…) or have you done any change direction in life that you like to mention?
Most of us are raised in some kind of comfort zone. With time you realize that all joys and hardships in that zone are not enough to tell you who you are, and that you need to go further into the unknown in search for the answers. If you are lucky, growth and change are never-ending processes.
Which is the most challenging and demanding situations that you been through to get you where you are today as a person?
I always thought that there was something wrong with the notion of normality. The most demanding thing for me was and, in a certain way, still is, confrontation with other people’s notion of what proper way of life is. Mountain gives me bravery to stand for my truths.
How does your race plans and goals look like for 2019?
This year is a test year where I am exploring skyrunning races all over the world, so I can see where I stand and what can I do improve. I have one additional race planned for October in Bagá in Spain and I am really looking forward to it. The next year is important to me, as I will try to give my best and fulfil my passion – to become better Skyrunner and to motivate people to spend more time in nature.
How does a normal week with training and all that look like for you right now?
Usually I have 5 days of running with 1 to 2 strength training a week.
I would like to get back to sports climbing and dancing (as I love music, and it often gives me energy). I was practicing hip-hop a couple of months in 2018 and Latino dances as a child. But it is difficult to do all of that before/after 8 to 9 hours of working in the office.
Which are your best training tips to other Skyrunners all over the world?
Knowledge is power. Know your body well, run on a mountain, do strength training and never avoid stretching. Each person is unique, and you need to discover what fuels you and how your body will react to different kind of stresses.
Which are your favourite races that you would recommend to other Skyrunners all over the world?
ZacUp skyrace in Italy with never-ending UPs where at the top you can only see clouds and peaks and where you feel like running on clouds.
Ultra kleka in Serbia, at Stara mountain, with a lot of distances to choose for your level of training. The mountain horizon is like a back of huge dinosaur. The nature is very old, and trails are profoundly unique.
Čvrsnica ultra trail is a race in Bosnia’s wild west where you can challenge yourself at different levels and, of course, enjoy in raspberries.
For all extreme runners Skyrace Comapedrosa is a must, due to its technical rocky downhill.
Do you have any dreams and goals for the future that you like to share?
Sun rises and touches my hear, time to wake up. I am putting on my running shoes and heading out, up in the mountain for a couple of hours, to inhale morning freshness. On my way back, I pick up some tropical fruits for a breakfast. After a good meal, made mostly from ingredients from my garden, I create video vlogs and write about my running experiences at Oblakove pertle website. Evenings would like to spend walking barefoot by the beach and looking at the stars.
How does your game plan look like for that?
To be more active in creating vlogs on our page Oblakove pertle and to start writing and filming in English and, later on, Spanish.
Learning Spanish more deeply and understanding their culture, as we are planning to live there.
Improving my skyrunning skills, so I can be among top 10 women in the world (I am currently among top 40). I know I can be much faster and stronger.
If you really desire something, you need to work on it constantly, and you will achieve it and realize you dream. Follow us and I will share my path with you.
What is your inner drive?
My motivation is not to escape from reality, but to find a better one. To create meaningful world. To add sense to everyday life.
What is your advice to other people that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains as good as you?
Get a pair of trail running shoes, find your mountain and go hiking, at first. If you want to be closer to professional level, it is important that you hire a coach, so you can avoid injuries. And, you MUST strengthen your body, as well as your mind, as this comes in a package, and if one part is missing, your form will crash, sooner or later.
Name: Marija Djordjevic
Family: My dad and myself
Country/town: Belgrade, Serbia
Your team or sponsor now: Tribe Trails / Oblakove pertle
Occupation: Financial Risk Consultant / Skyrunner
Education: Master of Economics
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/marija.djordjevic.21
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OblakovePertle/
Webpage / Blog: www.oblakovepertle.org
Thank you, Marija, for taking your time sharing your fantastic story! Wishing you all the best luck in the future with your Skyrunning and everything that you want to do.