The Tourist Board of the Municipality of Bibinje has entered into a collaboration with Bibinje triathlete Josip Bugarija. This is part of their long-standing project of branding Bibinje as a destination under the slogan "Traditionally Charming."

This young, successful triathlete Josip Bugarija, known to the public as the first Bibinje Ironman, is now the official ambassador for the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Bibinje and the brand under the slogan "Traditionally Charming." In future sports appearances, he will wear the jersey with the official brand logo, representing Bibinje as a tourist destination in regional and European races.

Racing towards new sporting victories in the jersey bearing the signature "Traditionally Charming"

Following Josip's first appearance at the Ironman race in 2019, there was media exposure which, in addition to the nickname "the fastest man from Bibinje," resulted in first sports collaborations and sponsorships.

Recognising his potential, the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Bibinje has been supporting Josip from the very beginning with equipment donations and participation in races. As a new brand ambassador, Josip will compete in his next race this year wearing a new jersey, promoting Bibinje as a tourist destination.

The potential of Bibinje as an active holiday destination

The collaboration between the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Bibinje and triathlete Josip Bugarija on the branding project of Bibinje as a tourist destination under the slogan "Traditionally Charming." This is a synergy of traditional and modern values and a completely new direction of promotion. As part of the collaboration, a new attractive promo video was filmed with Josip as the brand ambassador, which you can watch at the link provided.

The new promotional video is evidence of how the numerous hills and golden fields around Bibinje, along with its beautiful coast, are ideal terrains for training triathletes, trail runners, and cycling enthusiasts.

Fresh air, untouched nature of hilly terrain, picturesque fields, and clean shores provide almost ideal conditions for training in triathlon disciplines, and Bibinje emerges as a potentially great destination for active holidays. The new promotional video is a step further for the promotion and development of Bibinje, expanding the destination's offerings.

Josip Bugarija, the fastest man from Bibinje and the first Bibinje Ironman

Known to the regional audience as the first Bibinje Ironman, 32-year-old Josip Bugarija earned that status when he successfully completed his first Ironman in Frankfurt in 2019. The world’s most famous long-distance triathlon competition covers 3.8 kilometres of swimming, 180 kilometres of cycling, and 42 kilometres of running in 10 hours, 56 minutes, and 46 seconds.

Since his first Ironman, Josip has attended and competed in a number of other domestic and European triathlon and trail running races. Balancing a demanding schedule that includes family life, two jobs, and daily training, Josip manages remarkably well, thanks to impressive internal motivation and the support he receives from his family, friends, and colleagues.

Throughout the year, except for periods of hurricane winds, Josip trains on local and regional trails, which often lead him towards Velebit, as well as places like Obrovac and Zelengrad, which are favourable due to less traffic and suitable elevation for conditioning exercises.

In addition to training on Bibinje's hills, Josip prepares for races by running and cycling along Bibinje's coast, where he also completes the swimming part of his training, except during winter periods when he swims in the pool in Zadar.

Stubbornness as the best motivator for demanding races

Although he has been involved in sports and endurance training his whole life, Josip discovered and began nurturing a passion for the demanding long-distance triathlon discipline.

One which often tests the physical as well as the mental limits of competitors, like  the one seven years ago when he competed in the Wings For Life race in Zadar, where he ran 19 kilometres in the first year and, out of sheer stubbornness, "improved" to an impressive 30 kilometres the following year.

After a short break from training due to mononucleosis, an even more determined, Josip Bugarija set out to finish his first Ironman, which he succeeded in Frankfurt in the summer of 2019, becoming the first Bibinje Ironman.

After his first Ironman, there was a brief hiatus from taking part races, which were often cancelled during the pandemic. In 2022, Josip welcomed a new addition to his life, his daughter Morena, whom he had with his wife and long-time partner, Ena.

Josip adapts well to the new life circumstances because, as he says, there is always time for training if there is the will and motivation. Balancing family life and even two jobs with different shifts, Josip always finds time for training in every spare moment, with great support from his wife, Ena.

In addition to all the world races, it is most beautiful to compete – at home

With a passion for the Ironman competition as the globally most famous triathlon competition, Josip regularly participates in domestic triathlons and trail races, including his favourite: the Long Island Triathlon on Dugi Otok, where he has competed six times and won twice. His appearances at the Pakoštane Trail race and the Olympic Dubrovnik Triathlon, from which he returned home with third place, are also remembered.

It is worth mentioning his participation in the ZadarHalf Triathlon in Petrčane because all these races and efforts on home ground are also preparations for the Ironman race, where Josip last competed last year in Klagenfurt, Austria, achieving the second-best result from Zadar. However, apart from the triathlon on Dugi Otok, Josip also highlights the Bibinje Summer Run race as one of his personal favourites and hopes for its revival.

As a true dedicated athlete who is always in search of the next goal or race to conquer, Josip is training in 2024 and planning to compete in the Romanian X-Man triathlon scheduled for June, where he will wear the jersey with the signature of Bibinje and represent the destination as an official ambassador.