Jovica, a 333km participant at this year's La Ultra - The High, is from the special forces in Serbia who is also a member of the national ultra running team back home. For him, running races has a deeper meaning and purpose than just records on paper.
A note from Jovica:
"I remember the words of my late grandfather when I had as a boy listened to his fairytale-like stories, tucked in an old wooden house far away in a small mountain village in Serbia. With mellow sounds of fire crackling coming from the hearth, the smell of homemade bread baking, drinking tee made of wild mountain herbs with my grandfather, I listened to the howling of wolves coming from the depths of the one hundred year old oak forest on the top of the mountain.
I made a firm promise to myself that night that one day, when I grow up, I will search for and see those mysterious forest creatures.
Many years have passed since that night. The paths of life have taken me through great adventures and challenges. In the meantime I’ve become a member of the elite special force unit and began practicing an extraordinary endurance sport – ultramarathon. As a member of the special forces, during different field trainings and tasks, I faced Herculean physical and psychological difficulties, constantly and repeatedly questioning the limits of my abilities, my motivation and strength of spirit, and on the other hand, participating in some of the world’s hardest ultramarathons, I have passed through the most extreme areas on the planet, through dark rainforests and endless plateaus. I’ve been scorched by the sun and whipped by the wind, my faith has been tested by rain and storm, I’ve suffered from hypothermia and heat shocks, but like the legendary bird phoenix I’ve always managed to rise from the ashes and go on, more courageously and with new vigor, heading into even bigger and tougher challenges.
Just when I began to think that there is nothing in the world that could awaken new spark and fire in me, giving me an even greater enthusiasm and desire to, with proper motive, test the limits of my endurance and strength of spirit, at beginning of the year, I received a call to participate in, as it is called, the cruelest race in the world. It is the race “LA ULTRA-THE HIGH“, an ultramarathon which will be held at the beginning of August in the Indian part of the sacred mountains of Himalaya. At the “Roof of the World” one is required to run for 333 kilometers without stopping, with time limit to finish the race being 72 hours. Only a few get the chance to participate, and those that have finished the race successfully can be counted on the fingers on one hand.
Decreased oxygen concentration, altitude, extreme temperatures, time limit and the length of the ultramarathon make “LA ULTRA-THE HIGH” an almost impossible mission. I emphasize the almost, because I believe that the limits are where we set them and that with dedication, persistence, courage, honest, honorable and true motive, hard and honest training and preparation nothing is impossible, not even finishing the legendary “LA ULTRA-THE HIGH“.
In my adventures, competitions and performance of tasks in my special force unit, I have passed through some of the most brutal places and landscapes where the temperature could move from -10 to +40 °C. I have come to realize how important quality equipment and clothes are in order to successfully overcome the set demands and challenges.
Clothes of the UVU brand proved themselves to be an ideal and true solution. Vision of the people producing UVU equipment, the hard work put in every day in innovations, quality of material, technology used to produce even the smallest of details and pieces of clothing, idea to make the equipment which will be able to sustain even the most extreme weather conditions, make UVU brand truly impressive. With great joy and trust I’ve found a faithful companion in the UVU family which has become one of the essential parts of the “LA ULTRA-THE HIGH” project.
While testing the equipment I have proved all the claims made by the creators of the UVU brand. Equipment is characterized by extreme comfort, pleasant sensation even during the most intensive activities, pieces of equipment which fit perfectly to the contour of one’s body and feel like the second skin. You feel free while running and moving. Fascinating! The UVU equipment is light, yet it offers maximum of protection both from highest and lowest of temperatures.
You must be wondering about the connection between the story about the wolf, ultramarathon and UVU brand? The answer is once again hidden in my small mountain village far away in Serbia…
With the start of “LA ULTRA-THE HIGH” nearing, I’ve decided to locate part of my preparations right in my village, on my mountain. I know every track there, where all the springs with water are, where the mushrooms used to prepare the tastiest of dishes grow, where fragrant wild grass I use to prepare tee which reminds me of my childhood and grandfather’s stories grow, there I find my peace and hidden reservoirs of strength.
At one dawn I began my run in the direction of the one hundred year old forest at the top of the mountain. Dressed in my UVU equipment I felt fresh and pleasant, my run was in harmony like the perfect Beethoven symphony, as if I was floating above the ground. I entered deep into the forest with a smile.
Then suddenly everything became quiet, even the birds stopped chirping, I felt that something unusual was about to happen. Exactly! Some twenty meters away from me, HE appeared – the wolf, a mystical forest creature I’d listened about. The color of its fur was gray and identical to the color of my UVU equipment. With graceful bearing, this master of the forest seized me up fearlessly, I was on his turf. I stood motionless. Nothing happened. The wolf continued on as if he had told that we’d meet again.
Perhaps after the successful end of “LA ULTRA-THE HIGH”? I hope and deeply believe that it shall be so…"