Whether they were running to meet a personal goal, return to top physical condition, benefit local charities or spurred by other motivation, this year’s 1,300 Holy Half participants ensured the event’s continued success and recognition as a valued Notre Dame tradition. Low temperatures on Saturday posed the possibility of having to cancel the ninth-annual event, but by race time, runners received the go ahead from safety crews monitoring the event. Junior Connor Reider, running in his first Holy Half, commented favorably on the weather conditions at the start of the race. “When we started the race, the weather was beautiful. Once we were done, though, we were quickly reminded it was only 30 degrees outside,” Reider said. “The freezing wind combined with being soaked and not running around made a long warm shower even more appealing.” After volunteering for the event last year, Reider said he immediately added the event to his Notre Dame bucket list. While maintaining motivation often arose as a challenge throughout the training process and on race day, Reider said he held no regrets with his race experience. “I am definitely glad that I ran it and proud of my efforts. All my goals were met,” Reider said. “Plus, not everyone can say they have run a half-marathon.” Months of planning gave student programmers the assurance of successful race day operations. Junior Maria Murphy, lead programmer for the Holy Half, expressed complete satisfaction with the event. “The 2013 Holy Half was fantastic,” she said. “We had no major injuries, decent weather, lots of compliments on the course and overall experience, and a bunch of great volunteers who helped make the race a success. The race exceeded all of my expectations.” The official fundraising numbers have yet to be calculated, but Murphy estimated the event raised $35,000 for the Women’s Care Center and the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph’s County. Senior Ashley Markowski, director of the Student Union Board (SUB), echoed Murphy’s enthusiasm for the success of the event on race day. While responsibilities for Holy Half operations have shifted between groups during previous years, Markowski said SUB assumed command of programming and running the half marathon this year and into the future. “By placing the Holy Half under SUB, it gives it a permanent home under one organization,” she said. “This will hopefully make it more successful in future years as we will be able to make changes each year, based on the previous year’s experience.” Comments from community members and initial fundraising numbers for Saturday’s event certainly point towards future success for the Holy Half under its new leadership,” Murphy said. “In its nine years, the Holy Half Marathon has become a great Notre Dame tradition. I think the race has grown so much since its start because of the challenge the race itself presents to runners and the community-focused nature of the event,” Murphy said. “Runners can challenge themselves physically and, at the same time, help those in their community. The race is about so much more than running.”
It was organized by the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb and the Croatian Tourist Board and under the auspices of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and with the support of Hansa Media and the City of Zagreb. The emphasis of the conference was on the potential and rapid development of health tourism both in Croatia and in the world. At a very interesting panel discussion on health tourism in Croatia, the director of the Svjetlost Special Hospital for Ophthalmology, Nikica Gabrić, pointed out that Croatian health care institutions should unite. “Croatia has 20 private hospitals earning more than 30 million kuna. Only twenty! That means two and a half million in revenue per month, and that’s a small trade. We need to reunite. Croatia needs a “health plaza” in which 10 private hospitals and clinics will work together. All in one place where patients will be able to come and solve all their needs”, Explains Gabrić. Minister Cappelli said that wellness should not be neglected in everything, in which the daily consumption of users reaches almost 150 euros, while in spa tourism it is 60 euros, and in medical tourism 240 euros. He also said that he agreed with the statement that health care should be privatized because “this will lead to additional investments and better quality for domestic and foreign patients, and thus more doctors will stay in Croatia.” The Health Spot Croatia conference has also been announced for next year, when the rest of the topics that are not this year will be covered, given the extensiveness and complexity of the topic. Minister of Health Milan Kujundzic agrees with that. “What we certainly have in Croatia are professional people in medicine and health who have already proven themselves and this is the greatest potential, which, along with security, climate and other, is the foundation for building quality health tourism. The Ministry of Health and the Government will continue to monitor the needs of this activity and do what they can for this development., he concluded. Health Spot Croatia held at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb brought together numerous Croatian and European experts in the field of health tourism, but also tourism in general. Ognjen Bagatin, director of the Bagatin Polyclinic, continued and stated that “service is the future. “It is important for patients to have the whole package, and we need to work on that. In the private sector, the client or patient should be the king, the emperor and we are all at his service. We have to be the best here too. We don’t have to struggle with price, but with quality. My personal opinion is that we have excellent doctors, and private clinics need to be invested in and promoted in order to grow them from about 20 to about 60 or about 100“. Bagatin said, stressing that investments should be made in health tourism throughout the year. More information, as well as presentations from the conference, can be found HERE. Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli pointed out that in the future tourism strategy from 2020, health tourism will be in the “top three, if not the top one” products in the Croatian offer. “This type of offer strongly contributes to the development of year-round tourism in Croatia, which is our goal, and it also contributes to increasing investment. This year alone, more than 7,5 million euros are being invested in this type of offer. Now, for the first time, we have a legal framework for the development of this offer through changes in tourism and health laws, and we believe that it will be easier for everyone to work, in which it is important to maintain quality and be price competitive, which Croatia already is.”. Photo: Hgk “It is estimated that health tourism brings in about 500 million euros a year, as well as that it could be much more, even a few billion, because Croatia has both natural and professional advantages over many countries. Due to this offer, tourists stay longer in Croatia, about 13 days. Most foreign tourists come from the traditional markets of Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, and the expertise of doctors and the reputation of the institution are most important for choosing a destination.”, He said. Dragan Primorac President of the Management Board of the Special Hospital Sv. Katarina and the Ambassador of Penn State University, Dragan Primorac, in their lecture commented on the future of medicine and the importance of investing in its development. He emphasized the competence and expertise of Croatian medicine and doctors, which contributes to the great potential of Croatia as an important European health and tourism destination. “Without excellence all this we are talking about makes no sense. Croatia has potential and Croatia has people. We witness this truth every day in all health care institutions, whether public or private”, Concluded Primorac.