When I first met “Florin” during my participation for the first time in his running event “Time Trial Running” or (TTR), I never thought that this man is an athlete with a great “life experience”. At the age of 33 years old, he has accomplished more than 50 marathons full of passion, sensation, sentiments, strength, power and a lot more to come. In my opinion, Florin’s story was so interesting that I want to share it with other runners because it includes all the motives to keep going on whatever the difficulties are and the obstacles we face.
1- Tell us about yourself.
My name is “Florin Simion”, some friends call me “Simon”. I am 33 years old; I love sports since I was a kid. I got the support of my wife and the appreciation of my friends. I hope my little boy (5 months old) would love sports also despite his heart disease. Running was always a part of my life. I’ve always had a huge respect for marathon runners. During my childhood I used to listen to my father telling us the story of the marathon. I didn’t even dream to run a marathon in my life, but I was doing trail running without knowing. For 10 or even 12 years I was running without the adequate equipment, training, hydration or nutrition. I started running in competitions 15 years ago.
2- What does running mean to you?
Running has become a way of living for me. It is a state of mind, a way to develop and change myself in order to become a better runner and a better person. It keeps me away from doctors or medicines, away from TV and bad habits. Running means hundreds of friends who show huge respect for each other efforts.
3- How many marathons have you done till now? Which is your favorite marathon and what is your personal best timing?
There is one special marathon above all: “Maratonul Reintregirii Neamului Romanesc” (The Union of the Romanian Nation Marathon) in December 1st, 2013. It was my birthday and I won that race. I dedicated that marathon to my new born son (Pavel) who had an operation for a heart disease. Moreover, my work colleagues surprised me by coming to the marathon, wearing t-shirts with my son’s picture saying “I am Pavel Simion / Your new champion / Go daddy”.
My personal best on marathon races is 03:04:02. I achieved it in “Cluj International Marathon 2013”.
4- Is there any memorable experience you passed through?
When running is a passion and when you love what you do, every marathon, every kilometer or even every step you make turns into a great experience and nice memory.
In “Podgorica Marathon 2012” in “Montenegro” locals of Romanian origins encouraged me ”Go brother”. During the same marathon I was pouring water on my body although it was raining.
In “Delta Dunarii Marathon” 2012 a wild horse was running aside the runners.
5-What are your targets for your running activity this year and for the future?
I’d like my running activity to be inspirational. I’ll try to go under 3h in a marathon race and I want to reach 100 marathons . An old desire of mine is to run a 100K road race (flat track, if possible).
6- What is the difference between “mountain marathons” and “city marathons”, what do you prefer?
In my opinion, there is a huge difference between “mountain marathons” and “city marathons”. On the mountain you run for nature, for freedom, for heights. On the mountain you don’t follow the running pace, you listen to the rythm of your heart. On the mountain the energy comes mostly from outside. On the mountain you run, you walk, you climb and sometimes you “fly”.
In fact marathon is not a good term for mountain races, even though they measure around 42Km.
I think “City marathons” are for addicted runners. You run for finishing the race. The energy comes from inside. The obstacles come also from inside (body or mind)and the challenge is to pass over them. You need to be morally strong. On road marathons you can follow a constant running pace.
I personally prefer road/city marathons. They allow me to run (and only to run) from the Start to the Finish line. There is mainly one running surface during the entire track. It may not be so spectacular, but it challenges both my body and mind.
7- Have you done “Ultra-Marathons”?
I have finished 3 Ultra Marathons by now. Two of them were more like trekking: 96Km & 7500D+ in 33h (Marathon 7500 2012) and 108Km & 4500D+ in 21h20’ during “Ciucas Ultra Trail” (D+ stands for level difference or altitude). The other one was a Double Marathon (84Km) on the ”Transfagarasan Road” (The most beautiful mountain road in the world according to BBC show “Top Gear”). I finished 3rd place in 8h50.
8- What is the “Time Trial Running” (TTR) the event you organize?
Time Trial Running (TTR) is a series of competitive training sessions. It is an event where runners can test and improve their speed. What makes it unique (different from other group running events) is the individual Start with a gap of 10-15 seconds between every participant. The participants have to run 5,7Km. Time Trial Running sometimes includes uphill or stairs runs.
TTR was conceived as an organized training for official competitions. That‘s why we consider Time Trial Running to be a bridge between self training and mass running events. We try to fulfill the eventual gap between runners and people/companies who organize competitions.
9- What are the advantages of “TTR” to runners?
It turned into a running community. We especially welcome new runners. They need to be part of a group in order to make their passion grow. In the same time “Time Trial Running” helps experienced runners to improve their performance without having the pressure of prizes and awards.
TTR runners had the “chance” to perform in all weather conditions (including running at -15 degrees Celsius).
TTR organizers try to offer small surprises to runners (products, materials, invitations to the competitions). After the training we offer online Diplomas and the Results List.
TTR is a group training where every participant runs for himself and fight with his own limits without feeling lonely.
- Inform runners about running events and running opportunities
- Support and promote running competitions
- Develop the concept of volunteering in sport
- Create a group of sports photographers.
10- Do you have any information about the Beirut Marathon (which is classified Bronze according to the IAAF standards), do you consider participating in the future?
Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of information about Beirut International Marathon, I heard about it from some friends and through internet, I think it would be very interesting to run this marathon.
11- Last word.
Running can change your life and marathons offer you a lifetime experience. By running you travel and you meet people. Now I do everything with passion, because I ran my marathons with both my body and my soul.
My personal running motto: “When you feel you can’t walk anymore, start running”.