“I receive the medal and spend the night with my son in the emergency room.” titled Runner Talks About Being a Mother

Tomasz Moczerniuk: Warm-up question: How many years have you been running and who instilled in you a passion for this discipline?

Marika Popović-Drapaja: This year I started my 23rd year of professional coaching, but I took part in my first competition in 1999. My father instilled in me a passion for sports. In our family home, sport was the order of the day. We cheered the Polish players at the most important competitions, and watched the Olympic Games. My father took me to the highway and football fields since I was a child, and I participated in sports competitions in various disciplines at school. It soon became clear that I had no equal in running. I’ve won cross country running, triathlons, quad track and field events.

Once I had a bronze medal in Wielkopolska County in the 100-meter race, I ran on the field in Piła in … ordinary sneakers. My then physical education teacher signaled to my parents that it was time to do something with this talent. This is how I came to Zawisza Bydgoszcz under coach Jacek Lewandowski. Sometimes I think it just happened. Being 12 years old, I didn’t think of running as a passion, but rather as an adventure. I went to contests, won, met new people, got my name in the local papers, all of which built the self-confidence of a young girl from a small village.

But you were born in Gniezno. Are you more famous than Misko I?

My favorite saying is: “I’m from Gniezno, nobody knows me.” (He laughed). Seriously, I was born in Gniezno, but I grew up in Kruchów near Trzemeszno and I am mainly associated with these cities. My parents and family still live in Kruchów, Trzemeszno never forgets about me and always sends a lot of congratulations after successful competitions. I am glad and happy that my people have still supported me for so many years, and I try never to forget where I came from.

Together with our peers from Kruchów, we spent every free moment in the yard: we rode bicycles, played football, volleyball, in what is called fluff or played tag. We even played cards on the run. The loser walked around the blocks (laughs).

It’s almost like training in the army! Speaking of military service, what has life as a professional soldier taught you?

Being a soldier on the Central Military Sports Team is not only a great pride, but also a great responsibility. Indeed, sports and the army have a lot in common, and patriotism is only one of them. Diligence, stubbornness, striving for the goal, courage and fearlessness are just some of the soldier’s traits that are useful in the world of sports, but not only.

As a child, did you think that your career would be colorful and full of achievements?

of course not. I wasn’t thinking of any “career”. Anyway, I don’t like this word. It’s kind of negative in my head. As a kid, I had a lot of fun. Today I would say that sports have simply become my way of life.

You have an impressive number of medals – almost 60. Where do you store it and do you remember your first medal?

I don’t have a single cup slot. Keep fresh foods in…a drawer. But I do have a little ritual that I hang the medals I won in one year next to my bed and when I start preparations for the next season, I solemnly hide them in a drawer. I always laugh that it’s kind of sports New Year’s Eve in October.

And my first medal? I remember of course. He was in Siedlce at the Polish Junior Championships. You won the 100-meter race by 0.01 seconds. It was like a dream. A skinny girl from little Kruchów is a Polish heroine. amazing! The next day I added gold in the 300m and then I felt it made sense, maybe people were right and I had the talent. These medals had another value: they calmed my longing for home and parents, because I moved to Bydgoszcz at the age of 13. In my freshman year, I missed it terribly.

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