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In Pictures 04 Sep 17

Bulgarians, Romanians Celebrate Free Movement with a Cross-Border Run

The only cross-border marathon between Bulgaria and Romania, Via Pontica, took place on Sunday, 10 years after both countries joined the EU.

Mariya Cheresheva

The cross-border run, named after the ancient Roman road Via Pontica - and a popular route for migrating birds, took place for a second year on Sunday, with participants running a scenic 42-kilometre route along the coastlines of both countries.

Ivaylo Kamenarov from Bulgaria took home first place among the male competitors racing from the Bulgarian village of Krapets with the Romanian tourist resort May 2, while top spot among the female entrants went to Katya Djenkova, also from Bulgaria.

As the two countries are still not members of the EU’s visa-free Schengen Zone and their citizens remain subject to border controls, the organisers arranged for the runners’ documents to be checked prior to the start of the race.

“Thanks to the cooperation of the border police, the participants were crossing the border without stopping,” officials from Foundation Green Step, the organisers of the run noted.

The Foundation also highlighted the fact that the marathon’s route crosses territory that was just a century ago the site of bloody battles between Bulgaria and Romania, which were fighting for the Dobrudzha region. Additionally, while both countries were under Communist rule in the 20th century, crossing the state borders was also not an easy act. 

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