Vasu Dhuzhiy, from St Petersburg in Russia, is a two-time winner of the 3100 Mile Race, including a victory in last year's race despite having to spend many months during the previous year recovering from a serious back injury.
Recently he was invited on a tour of the Ural region, visiting 4 cities - Prem, Omsk, Ekatirinburg and Chelyabinsk and giving many talks to marathoners and running enthusiasts. The tour started auspiciously right from Vasu’s arrival at Prem airport - a new airport terminal was being dedicated that day, and the Governor of Prem was there handing out free suitcases to the first 5 passengers who were arriving that day. When Vasu came out from the luggage area, he was very surprised to find the Governor waiting for him to shake his hand and present him with his free suitcase!
The talks usually began with a slideshow presentation, and then Vasu started talking about his experiences at the race; the inner aspect of the race, about meditation, concentration, positive thinking and so on. Vasu is well known in the Marathon Team for his gracious and humble manner, and this aspect of his talk, along with his frequent humorous anecdotes, was very endearing to the audience. The talk was followed by question and answer sessions which often lasted from hours. During one talk in Omsk, Evgeniy Nepsha, the winner of 24 hour race in the Russian championship, attended and later stayed behind to share many useful things from his experience - he even helped to organise another informal talk in a yurt-shaped Mongolian tea room.
The talks also attracted quite a lot of TV and newspaper coverage in the different cities.