I am Aidas Ardzijauskas, a 50-year-old Lithuanian firefighter, and ultra-distance runner.
My story of running began with a childhood trauma, and running was a strengthening practice for my body. After a silly jump, I broke my feet, fractured my legs and twisted my spine; the world turned upside down for me. As I learned how to walk again, I was continuously turned down by coaches for sports since I was too weak. Running helped strengthen me and lift me from my lowest physical and psychological condition as a child. I wanted to run more and more, and soon it became a lifestyle, in turn, I also chose an active career, a firefighter.
I have been running for 38 years and firefighting for 24, and I don’t plan on stopping. I have run more than 105 000 kilometers (1980-2018). Running is my hobby and passion for which I am also grateful to my family which supports me in every way.
My first introduction to ultra-marathons was grounded in two different runs in 2003 and 2004 where I participated in a relay Vilnius-Riga-Tallinn to commemorate “The Baltic Way,” it repeats the political demonstrations in 1989, where around 2 million people formed a human chain along highways from Lithuania to Estonia. Participants of this relay interchangeably run 604 km in 3 days. In 2003 my input in the distance was 130 km and in 2004 - 160 km.
Much of my running before the event was just a lifestyle, but I realized from it that I have the capacity to compete in ultra races. Only in 2008 did I begin to participate in ultra-marathons actively. In turn, I also co-founded the Lithuanian Ultra Society in 2012.