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Iulian Filipov: “Sport is in a symbiosis with family life.”

Iulian Filipov Morfelden-Walldorf

Iulian Filipov: “Sport is in a symbiosis with family life.”

Andrei Ivănescu

Andrei Ivănescu

Iulian Filipov proves that often the only limit is the one we set for ourselves: you can have a family, a nice career, not have been a competitive athlete and still run the 7th best 24h performance in the world.


Iulian Filipov is a specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He originally wanted to become a policeman, but in his last year of high school he decided to pursue medicine. Now, amidst attending national and international conferences in the field in which he excels, he has also stepped into the sports spotlight after breaking the national 100km road record.

Find out from TRA’s interview about how he got to practice this sport at a competitive level and, more importantly, how he managed to break a record, making history for Romania.

Iulian Filipov Record National 24h


I’d like to start directly with a clickbait: Iulian, how long have you been running and what are your best performances? Just so we know what we’re talking about right off the bat.

I started running in February 2018, but it was all about relaxing, short runs of up to 8-10km, without any performance goals in mind.

Of the results achieved so far, my PBs are as follows: marathon – 2:37:35, 100 km – 6:41:07, 24h – 277.475 km. 

Iulian Filipov, record national 24h

In the early fall of 2020 I believe you officially made your debut in performance sports, specifically the ultramarathon, flat niche. How did you feel during the race when you realised you were about to break the Romanian records for 100km and 6h?

Indeed, I realised that I have considerably better times in flat running than in trail running and set myself the goal of running 100km in under 7h, and my first competition was in Morfleden (Germany), where I ran 100km in 6:59:04 on a 400m track. Based on my training times, I knew I could run under 7:37h (which was the best 100km time in Romania), but my goal was to run under 7h, and I wasn’t convinced I could. 

After 6h I realised that I could achieve the desired time. Unfortunately there were no split times at 6h, neither in Germany (where I had run 88.4 km) nor in the Netherlands (where at 6h I had 90.74 km).


You seem to have an innate appetite for endurance. First your career as a doctor, which we know requires exceptional effort, hard work and focus, and now (very) long distance running. Where does all this inner drive come from, and what fuels it next?

 Indeed, determination and strength of concentration are attributes common to both running and operating room endurance. That’s not to say they are any kind of role model. The truth is that most of the time I’m really lazy. But if I have strong motivation, I generally succeed in achieving what I set out to do, and I hope to confirm this in the future.

7th fastest time in history over 24h. The first Romanian in history to finish 100km under 7h, and in September came the next fantastic result: 100km in 6:41h. From reliable sources, I heard he even got a cold. What records do you still want to break?

My best time at 100km seems to have come when I was least expecting it because of a cold. I coughed quite a lot in the first 60 km, after that I felt really good and as the atmosphere on the Winschoten course was great and the course was very fast, it resulted in a very good time. I want to run over 160 km in a 12h race, over 290 km in a 24h race and under 2:30h in a marathon. Knowing me, the last goal seems the hardest to reach.


Iulian Filipov was number 1 at the 100 km Ultramarathon in Morfelden-Walldorf, Germany. The athlete from Brasov won the competition in 6 hours, 59 minutes and 4 seconds. Filipov managed to break the national record for 6 hours running and is also the national 100 km record holder. The exceptional performance is all the more valuable as the man from Brasov has only been running for two years.

Iulian Filipov record 100km

After so many incredible figures, let’s not talk about the training figures. I’d still like to ask you, as between athletes… how’s your recovery? Any tips and tricks, for those who have little time but don’t neglect this aspect?

In training I try to have one or two long runs of 40-60 km per week and a minimum of one interval workout, and I try to keep the volume as close to 180 km per week as possible. Sleep and nutrition are the most important controllable variables influencing recovery, especially when limited time doesn’t allow you to introduce other procedures that facilitate recovery.

On nutrition I can honestly and openly say that in the fight against sweets I am a glutton and an absolute loser, no matter how much effort I put into wanting to tip the scales towards a better BMI (Body Mass Index). As for sleep, I try to squeeze in 15-20 minutes of power nap between appointments in the second half of the day after hospital work.

Clearly, you can’t do it all alone. The saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think it can also be applied to athletes: you need to have people close to you who support, understand and, above all, appreciate you. How important was and is the support of those close to you on the road to performance?

The reality is that when you have the understanding of those close to you (or, why not, tolerance at other times) your sporting activity is symbiotic with your family and professional life. That’s not to say it’s easy to cram time for loved ones, profession, sport and recovery into 24 hours. It is a perfectible exercise whose drive lies in everyone’s desire to place themselves at a certain level, be it social, professional or sporting. And if the energy put into it finds a favourable contextual framework, I believe it can be done.

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Women in the marathon- Unbroken record 37 years

Women in the marathon- Unbroken record 37 years

Surely a list of the best times of the women in the marathon race would not have been what you expect from this article. The research was not easy, that's for sure. The history documenting women's participation in running events is a complex one, although much shorter than that of men.

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Bandit Runner, since 1896

Let’s go back in time for a bit, to 1896, when the Olympic Games were “revived”. Women were once again excluded from the running events. Since nothing can stop them from getting what they want, a woman named Melpomene entered the Olympic Marathon. Although the race organizers rejected her registration, she ran out of the competition (bandit runner, as they say), finishing at about 4:30h. Nearly a century has passed until the next woman officially runs the Olympic Marathon.

Proba olimpica de maraton, masculin


The first woman officially timed in a marathon race

Violet Piercy of Great Britain was the first female participant to be officially timed in a marathon event, with a time of 3:40:22 at the Polytechnic Marathon in 1926. Although the rule imposed by the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association (WAAA) was that no women’s race should exceed 800m, Violet Percy happily broke the rules that year. Because of this and the lack of competition, the record stood for no more, no less than 37 years.

Violet Percy, the first UK athlete to be timed in the marathon event

It wasn’t until 1963 in Culver City that the first record-breaking time was recorded: 3:37h at the Western Hemisphere Marathon in California by US athlete Merry Lepper.

Merry Lepper finishes marathon in 3:37h

The first female finisher at Boston Marathon

In 1966, Roberta Gibb hid behind a bush at the start of the Boston Marathon and managed to finish the race in an unofficial time of 3:21:25. She was the first known woman to complete the race.

Roberta Gibb finishes Boston Marathon

Probably one of the most famous stories in the marathon world dates back to 1967 when Katherine Switzer tried and succeeded in officially entering the Boston Marathon. Her coach, though unconvinced when she told him her plans, promised to take her to Boston himself if she proved she could run the distance. Unsurprisingly, Switzer ran the marathon + extra 5 miles in training.

The athlete entered the race as K.V. Switzer (personal preference) and her entry was approved, as they couldn’t know her gender. After about 2 miles, the press cars, led by the race organizer, appeared behind her. The photo speaks for itself and the full story, told by the athlete herself, can be read right here. 

Katherine Switzer, first woman in the marathon, Boston

I wouldn’t want to distort the words through translation, the event was more than touching and inspiring, so I’ll get straight to the happy ending: Katherine finished the race and thus became the first female finisher at the Boston Marathon, officially.

Bigger and bigger changes

  • On 31 August 1971, Adrienne Beames of Australia became the first woman to run a marathon under three hours, breaking this barrier with a time of 2:46:30.
  • In 1972, women were allowed to officially compete in the Boston Marathon for the first time.
  • On 28 October 1973, the first women’s marathon was held in Waldniel, West Germany. The success of that race was built on the following October when Dr. Ernst Ban Aaken, a West German and a strong supporter of women’s running, sponsored the first Waldniel International Women’s Marathon Championship. Forty women from seven countries competed in the event.
  • In 1981, the decision was made to include women in the Olympic marathon event, big day! Better late than never, right?

Two reasons were often cited for this exclusion, which took longer than it should have:

Firstly, some experts argued that women’s health would be affected by long-distance running. This theory has been proven false not only by medical studies but also by the success of women marathoners in the 1970s.

Second, the Olympic Charter stipulated that to be included in the Games, a women’s sport had to be widely practiced in at least 25 countries on at least two continents (for men’s events, the requirement was 50 countries on three continents). The women’s marathon, Olympic organizers argue, simply wasn’t popular enough to be included.


To be continued. 

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