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5kmrun selfie, an initiative bringing together runners from all over Bulgaria

Photo: Georgi Stanoilov

The big race in life is the race with one’s own self. Victory in this battle is sweetest. This is what all people who have joined the 5kmrun – 5-kilometre collective runs that have, in recent years, swept over Bulgaria - believe. This is just as true of the new version of the run –5kmrun selfie – in which the participants run the distance individually and report their results in the race ranking.

The formula is: first, resist the temptation of lounging around all day, and take your place at the starting line, then do your best to reach the finish, then one week later pull yourself together again and go to the park to start all over again. In no time the 5kmrun will become a dose of adrenalin you cannot do without. And even the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev took part in one of the Saturday 5kmruns.

5kmrunis organized, free of charge, every Saturday morning in 5 parks in Sofia, Varna, Burgas and Plovdiv. Almost 21,000 participants have so far registered on the initiative’s website.

“To continue with this idea we decided to enable our fans to take part in the runs even if they cannot be physically present in the parks we have selected on Saturday. So that individually, wherever they may be in Bulgaria or outside the country, anyone can do the 5 kilometre run, and when they finish, can post their results to the website using the application we developed for the purpose and see how they rank,” one of the organizers of 5kmrun Georgi Stanoilov said for Radio Bulgaria.

That was how the 5kmrun selfie idea came into being at the end of 2019. An idea which got an unexpected boost by the Covid-19 pandemic and the requirement for social distancing. The organizer explains:

“The ranking starts at 00:00 on Monday and ends at 24:00 on Sunday. In the minute that follows a new ranking begins. Over these 7 days, at any time, day or night, the participants can upload as many independently run 5-km. segments as they want to and take part in the weekly ranking. The system only remembers the best result.”

A trial start to the idea of individual runs was given on 27 March. 165 people took part.

The results went far beyond the expectations of the people behind the 5kmrun craze:

“We actually found many participants outside the territory of Bulgaria. People joined from Paris, from Dubai, from different villages and small towns across the country and this shows that the application is working as planned,” Georgi says.

The 5kmrun selfie option will continue after the state of emergency is lifted, parallel with the real Saturday run. At the end of the year a separate annual ranking for it will be compiled. Depending on their performance the participants will receive different prizes. Interestingly, even runners who have taken part in other races – like the “Sofia” marathon, for example – will be able to use the application to register their result from a 5-kilometre segment for the 5kmrun selfie. The only requirement is registration on the website which is, again, free of charge.

“Our new application will enable us to reach out to more people who will be able to choose a convenient time for sport, and take part in the ranking that has grown so popular in Bulgaria,” says in conclusion Georgi Stanoilov.

Photos: courtesy of Georgi Stanoilov and Maxim Shomov

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