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Great sports events in Croatia to help you get in shape

Autumn, winter and spring in Croatia are full of great sports events like running, boating and cycling to help you get in shape

Written by
Marc Rowlands
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Sports events are something of a national preoccupation in Croatia. Most eyes in the country will be fixed to the TV screens when the national teams compete in football, handball, basketball and waterpolo. But, for a very large number of Croatians, it's simply not enough to just be a spectator, especially not with long summers always just on the horizon and when you have thousands of kilometres of beautiful beaches demanding your near-naked attendance. Of course, any time is right to start getting into shape, but Croatians make a concerted effort to do so in autumn, winter and early spring, before it becomes too hot for strenuous exercise. And they're extremely welcoming to visitors and foreign nationals who want to join in. From the parks and neighbourhoods of Zagreb to the beautifully varied landscape of rural and coastal Istria and the flat terrain of Slavonia and Srijem, perfect for cycling and road races, here are some of the best events of the year in which you can.

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  • Things to do

Istria is full of breathtaking coastal towns and beautiful villages inland, some of which sit prettily atop hills. One of the most blissfully sedate is Brtonigla. However, that changes with the arrival of the Brtonigla Adventure Trek, which sees ramblers, hikers, walkers and runners set out into the pristine countryside surrounding the village for an exploration of the great outdoors in all its winter beauty. The river Mirna, Učka mountain, the vineyards and olive groves of the locale and, of course, the Adriatic sea, make for a spectacular backdrop to the trek and, perhaps best of all, the event coincides with the village's Chocolate and Wine Festival, so you can treat yourself after all the exertion. There is no designated route, as part of the event's offer is one of orientation, but each competitor will receive a map detailing the organised stop-off points along the way and the orientation aspect is very simple.

  • Things to do
  • Sport events

7th annual edition of this bicycle race of the Giant MTB League of Istria and Kvarner. There are multiple categories, set by age and sex, welcoming entrants from every demographic. The race for children starts at midday and has a unique route. The main race starts at 12.26pm. Race registration fees of 50 kuna - 70 kuna include a hot meal served afterwards. For racers wanting to compete in the whole league, there is a 20 kuna surcharge, with the number you are issued with being valid for the whole season.  

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  • Things to do
  • Sport events

Zagreb Love Run is a 5km road race around Lake Jarun in western Zagreb. A purpose-built space for such recreation, its lakeside surroundings are dotted with sports facilities and public areas, cafes bars and clubs. In the middle of the water, there are manmade islands and it's a thoroughly nice place for some winter exercise and socializing. A wide variety of runner demographic, and of varying levels of ability, are welcomed each year and competitors can enter the race solo, in mixed couples or in same-sex couples. Applications are open until capacity is filled and the cost of entering is 120 kuna and can be made at www.zagreblove.run/sign in

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