Tatjana Varga is extremely satisfied with her victory amongst the wheelchair female participants at this year's Zadar Wings for Life World Run, as well as with the overall experience, but she also warns runners not to push the participants in wheelchairs marked with red flags since this can cause disqualification…
Year after year, the Croatian Wings for Life World Run attracts more running enthusiasts with big hearts, as well as athletes in wheelchairs, like the global winner Aron Anderson. They are very much enjoying pushing their own limits and trying to achieve the best result before the catcher car overtakes them.
On the latest spectacle in Zadar many participants in wheelchairs have achieved impressive results, and the best amongst them was Tatjana Varga who has scored the triumph in her category with the result of 14.83 kilometers.
"I'm happy, the whole experience was so much fun. I'm not competitive, but once a year, I feel that spirit of sport in me. People say it's the participating that counts, but I have to admit that it's very nice to win, it's a special feeling, even though winning is not the essence of this competition", said Tatjana adding that she didn’t do a lot of pre-race preparation, but she leads an active and independent life, she moves a lot, and this result is a proof of her very good physical form.
On her road to victory, Varga had only one problem, the same as all the participants in wheelchairs marked with a red flag, indicating they are participating without additional aid, which is a prerequisite for registering the results achieved in their category. Namely, it is not easy to explain to the well-wishing runners that they cannot help them on the track.
"Although we were participating unaccompanied, people would constantly grab hold of our wheelchairs, even though we had red flags, but that didn’t help much. As soon as I stopped, whether to take some water or something, someone would grab my wheelchair. They would see me struggling on the hillside and I had to explain that I don’t want them to help me. That was a problem for us, because if someone helps you, you will be disqualified. I know they had the best intentions, but in life, before you help someone, you are supposed to ask if that person needs your help or not", Tatjana from Zagreb warns other runners hoping that in the future they will consider the meaning of the red flag.
Tatjana has been in a wheelchair since her birth, but sports success is not a novelty to her. She has become the first woman in Croatia with a spinal cord injury that has successfully dived 40 meters. She used to be head of an association that organized therapeutic riding, and she also participates in various activities of the Croatian Association of Paraplegics and Tetraplegics. Winning the Wings for Life World Run fits well with all of her activities.
"It was a challenge, I wanted to see how much I could do before they would catch me. I see this race as a positive experience, Zadar is a nice town and it's nice to get to the seaside. I like this race because people gather around a good cause and we all hope that this will help find a cure for spinal cord injuries. I will be glad that one day my little contribution will make a difference," said the current winner among unaccompanied participants in wheelchairs whose result will not be easily excelled in 2019.
Melina Magulas, Norway
Matej Markovič Slovenia
Brooke Thabit, Wings for Life World Run ambassador