Coming here as a photo story a couple of weeks later. It has been a hectic month, Inktober...I mean, October. The marathon took place on Sunday, October the 13th but I had to wait until now to find the time and go through my archive of it. Yes, it already feels like an archive.


Mostly a sunny October in Sofia this year but not before the event. There was a lot of rain the week before the start. But somehow, the second Sunday of the month when we usually have this marathon tends to be sunny. Even though it may start foggy. Well, the chance of precipitation is usually there but not the same as clouds making the day dark all day long.

This was the sixth year, out of seven since my first one, that I cover the Sofia Marathon. I was in no mood this time. But I just... I had the time and I did not want to ruin a tradition. Not yet. So I forced myself to go on the subway train and emerge at a point where the competitors should be making a 180-degree turn and go back along their route through the center of the city and then north-east on a boulevard in the direction of the Sofia Airport and mountain.

And I shall try to take you with me along the route that I followed from there, going part of the 21 km half-marathon lap on foot. The part that was downtown.



Those couple of shots in black and white were already published as previews but in color. Sharing the moments again since they are close to the beginning and in there you can see the groups of real competitors, female and male leaders.

The male leaders again in color, coming from around the first corner at the Saint Nedelya church.


And other runners, trailing behind them. I moved to the left sidewalk and the background is slightly different — only the belfry tower of the church remains visible.


Then the procession goes north in the direction of the RW station along Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard but runners make a 180-degree turn, the one I mentioned, at Lions' Bridge.


And head back south.


This is also the westernmost lane of the marathon. It all goes east from the Saint Nedelya church.

So, on this lane, people run in both directions and I waited there for a while, taking pictures parallel and perpendicular to the boulevard, viewing it in its visual depth or catching glimpses of the streets that cross it, or the buildings that line it.











The social cause warriors are regulars on these events already. Wishing them success in getting more attention.




An interesting thing for me— the people who come from other countries to join the fun. Not talking about the African champions but those who are there for the participation only, keeping the Olympic dream alive. And getting another marathon abroad under their belt.

I was able to spot guests from Italy, Greece, Norway, Ukraine, UK, Germany, etc.




So I was also doing close-ups of interesting characters, of course.


After some time, I left that boulevard and went around the corner I mentioned, towards the very center of the city, where the Start/Finish section was.

I found the group of the female leaders again, on their second and final lap, passing in front of the National Assembly.


For some reason, I chose to neglect the Start/Finish arch this time and moved on the other side of it. Looking towards the garden between the National Gallery of Arts and the Natural Sciences Museum, the University of Sofia in the distance and just hidden out of sight the Russian church remained. The Sun was mostly against me and that limited my choices quite a bit.




People were moving only in one direction here, those returning from the Lions' Bridge went further south and out of sight before heading east. So I was moving against the current, so to speak. I took a turn left after the Russian church. Yes, had I been less negligent at that point, I could have gone to the other side of the stream of people and taken photos of the church itself in the background. But I was in a hurry to go uphill on Rakovsky Street. About a hundred meter north. Then, turning east again, catching the base of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the architectural symbols of Sofia. Well, as a background, of course, I am just shooting people here.


A glimpse of the Gallery of Foreign Art on the left, too.


Beer is just around the corner.


The base of the cathedral again.




The domes of the University in the background.


And you know what is there? Another subway station to take me home, I think.

Good luck and have fun, marathon runners, and see you next time!



Manol Donchev

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