In the IAU 24-Hour World Championship from Albi, France (26-27 October 2019), Romania was represented by a team made up of 5 male athletes and 4 female athletes. This was our country’s first participation in such an event, with 352 sportspeople from 45 states.
A few days after the competition, while excitement was still in the air, we asked the Romanian runners what this experience was like and we are happy to share their answers.
The best memories
For our athletes, the best memory from the Championship remains the TEAM spirit and the unity they felt at the start line, as well as throughout the entire competition. This feeling of “togetherness”, along with the joy of representing Romania helped many of them get over the difficult times and run trusting their own potential.
“Every moment was beautiful and impressive for me, I lived a dream. The time before the start of the race, when we all joined hands, runners and support staff alike, when we put our arms in the air and shouted Romania, that is the best memory. I was most impressed when the national anthem of France was sung, I got a bit teary-eyed; I was looking around me, we were all united, we were there. La Marseillaise sounded from the hearts of everyone present, and it was being sung for us, as well.” Floricica Neacșu
“It is not something new for competitions, but what I felt intensely in this competition was the team’s perfect unity, of athletes and support team alike. I was most thrilled when Florin went up on stage and presented our nation’s flag.” Daniel Trușcă
“I was most impressed by our team’s unity and by the desire we each felt to get the best possible result.” Radu Roman
“I liked the fact that I saw a united, strong Romanian team, which won good places in the first edition, having had no world championship experience.” Mariana Nenu
“My best memory was the time we were standing at the starting line, together, the entire team, the thrill of preparation, the heartfelt handshake with Flori one minute before the start. I was impressed by the atmosphere we felt as we entered the athletic field after each lap, passing by the people and children who were there, supporting us, regardless of nationality.” Mara Guler-Cionca
“To me, the best moment was the «magic minute» from the last hour before the finish line, when I was running with the flag around my shoulders, pushed along by the energy of the audience, of our staff and the other participants. I truly enjoyed it and the parade through Albi with the team remains a memorable moment for me, as well as the opening ceremony, when Florin took the flag up on the stage and I felt the team’s vibration, as if a small part of Romania was there in the hall, through us.” Daniel Antonaru
“What I will remember is the team representing Romania, beautiful, strong people.” Alina Preda
“I thought the best thing was that we were together, we were all part of this great show of nations and that we were a team. Each one of us wanted to get the best possible result, and the persons who were by our side supported us in every way they could.” Răzvan Farkas
”I felt that we are truly a team.” Florin Ioniță
For every runner, this Championship has also come with valuable lessons, being a source of inspiration and motivation, as well as an occasion to create a better strategy for future competitions.
“I discovered that I am stronger than I knew I was, that I have great potential and that, if I continue to be patient, I will reach my goals. I have realized that there are things which can be improved and that being able to run is a gift.” Alina Preda
“What I learned in this race was to «fall»… really badly and to get up again. I have learned to «climb»…, lap after lap, that was the only way I managed to get from the 143rd position to the 93rd. I understood that I need to pay more attention to preparing my nutrition and hydration than to my physical training.” Daniel Antonaru
“The lesson that I learned from the Championship was to no longer risk approaching the important races without being completely healthy.” Florin Ioniță
“I have learned to believe more in myself and to listen carefully to the champions. I have learned that resources can be unlimited, desire is all you need.” Mariana Nenu
“I realized that I need more training before such an important event.” Radu Roman
“I have learned that just when you thing that it’s as bad as it gets, even worse can happen… You can miss your goal, it is a long race and you assume the fact that you invest hundreds of kilometres and it may not turn out as you hope. But I have learned that it is very important to be there, to try, even if it seems like there is no way you can make it.
I have seen teams, delegations which have travelled thousands of kilometres from other continents, and it was clear to them that they would not be able to make miracles, to reach the top places. But I noticed how nicely they represented their countries. They did not do it with their result, but with their attitude, tenfold! They were actual «ambassadors» of the countries they came from.” Răzvan Farkas
“I have learned about the importance of a certain type of nutrition in 24-hour races and about the importance of maintaining a certain body temperature, which would have made a great difference for me in the Championship.” Daniel Trușcă
“What I have learned from this experience is that I have to be more mindful of the details which can make a difference.” Mara Guler-Cionca
“I have learned from this race that it is not pain or other «adversities» that prevent you from exceeding your own limits, but only your mind. I have seen runners with real problems around me, and still they kept running, thus becoming winners.” Floricica Neacșu
Plans for the future
The athletes from the 24-hour national lot have ambitious plans for 2020. Running will always be a joy, a mode in which they can excel, as well as an occasion to test their limits in bold ultra-running races.
“I like to run free, with a smile on my face and thinking of my daughter. But I can say that I have set my mind on taking part in very many runs with my friends, in the National 24 Hour Championship, one or two extreme races abroad, the 24 Hour European Championship, one or two mountain marathons. But let us take them one at a time, in their running order.”Mara Guler-Cionca
“My desire is to participate in the National Championship, in the European Championships, as well as in national competitions.” Radu Roman
“My main purpose is to secure myself a spot in the Romanian team, so the May edition of S24H will be the race where I want to reach the required standards for a participation in the September 2020 IAU European Championship, respectively in the 2021 IAU World Championship.” Alina Preda
“My main objective is to be an esteemed champion and a reliable team member.” Mariana Nenu
“My priority at this time is to solve my leg problem, if it can be solved, and only after that will I establish my objectives for the future.” Florin Ioniță
“I intend to run the race which went wrong in the World Championship. I registered in the National Championship again, and then the European Championship in Italy and the 2021 World Championship are my objectives, I will be very engaged for them. My desire is to become organized, so that I can train smart, have trainings which are better connected to one another and learn to ask for help.” Răzvan Farkas
“As an objective for 2020, I aim to achieve a significantly better result in the European Championships of next fall, in Italy.” Daniel Trușcă
“My desire for the year 2020 is to run a 24-hour race, to attain the objective I had at the world championship, but which did not materialize, and finish the Spartathlon race with my head up. These are mere dreams, but I would like to live my dreams.” Floricica Neacșu
“I aim to reach my true potential. The important thing will be not to win any race, but to test the limits of my heart and the depth of my mind.”Daniel Antonaru
Best of luck! You are strong and you can attain everything you are aiming for!