Not all what we see is true
Not all of what we hear is true.
The task of leaders is to give meaning to the lives of those who follow you
To act rightly, not forcefully
There is no greater wisdom than timeliness
An Evening Conversation with Sergiy Skrypnyk
– “In a healthy body, a healthy spirit.” Or “running from a heart attack”. In Chisinau, after a long break, we have a marathon with such serious distances. Our guest in the studio today is Dmitry Voloshin, the organizer of this event. Isn’t the word “event” scary?
-I wouldn’t even call it an event. An event is when something unexpected happens. A revolution is an event. And when a planned process that takes a long time to prepare, smoothly goes not only the organizer, but the society is ready to run its first marathon, it is, you might say, a historical regularity.
-Historical regularity in the form of an event.
-For the organizers, it’s a systematic preparation according to the script, but the revival of the marathon itself… Here I was born in Soviet times. That marathon, which was in Chisinau, I remember. It was on Mira Avenue then. There were still cyclists. A long time ago, we forgot what cycling was. Marathon. Looking at the participants, and there were thousands of them, I was surprised that our people who came and ran this distance, whoever, just dared to do it.
Despite the fact that our society rejects a healthy lifestyle today. Young people aged 15 to 25 years old are wacky, it’s obvious that they don’t run and don’t do sport. Tell me, is there a problem in the society in which you, as the organizer of this event, this marathon, how do you look at the development of physical culture in Moldova? Are there any prerequisites for a revival?
-The nation has really forgotten what a healthy lifestyle is. First there was the Soviet Union, then there was perestroika, the formation of the Moldovan state. Then there was a crisis – one, two, three, indeed, most people simply survived. But now a new generation of people is coming, a new generation. You say from 18 to 25 are chillies. I don’t quite agree. The coolies are people who got in between generations, a little bit older. And the generation that is growing up now is ready to be open to the sport.
This is not only a trend in Chisinau and Moldova, this is a global trend, a global trend, that people do sports. What is happening now in Moldova, I want to stress once again, is a historical pattern. Sooner or later it had to happen, the society has matured.
If we had held a marathon five years ago, we would have an empty square. It is now that we are ready to be active in sports and become like a European capital – like New York, like San Francisco, like Paris, like Amsterdam – where people run in the morning. Where you go out to a park and you see runners, it’s a must-have condition. There’s no park without runners. Probably only Chisinau had one, and then, in the last couple of years, I see a trend, getting better and better.
I think the main thing is that the state should invest in sports, especially in amateur sports. Not in professionals, not in gold medals at the Olympics, that’s secondary. The main thing is to develop sport in the country, to raise a healthy nation of healthy people. As you said, a healthy body needs a healthy spirit. If a person is healthy physically, he will be mentally healthy. And our nation, you know, needs to be treated, and treated intensively, dramatically.
-You very quickly showed a serious topic. I will not argue with you, everyone has his own view. I remember the Soviet times, when in our courtyard, if someone exceeded the allowable weight limits, and so on, they were somehow rejected by society. Now it’s the order of the day. I walk the streets, I see young people. I wanted to be that the health of the nation is not just at your level, as the organizers of the marathon, but with those in our state who control the fate of people. Right? After all, as far as I understand, you had support. Serious support or not?
-Support for what?
– States. We’re talking about the health of the nation. Smile again, and everyone will believe that yes, worried, sitting in offices. Really?
-We were allowed to run the Chisinau marathon. Thank God that no one interfered, and there were no obstacles, we were given the go-ahead. True, with help, it’s really difficult. But I guess it’s a hard period in the country now, there’s no time for marathons and no time for running.
-Have you been living here a long time?
-Yes, a long time.
-Have you noticed that the country is in a constant state of crisis?
-I certainly have. But you know that the crisis is not in the tanks; the crisis is in the mind.
-So the crisis is in the mind. That’s a beautiful thing to say. Running, health. So I logged into social media, into Google, to see who I was talking to. I read that the Ironman is you, the only Ironman in Moldova. How did it all happen?
-The race itself?
-No, how you came to it, how you became one.
-You know what the organizers of Ironman say? Before the competition, when everyone is lined up and ready for the race, 2,000 people, waiting for the start of the course, which will take 13-15 hours, they say: “Guys, you are already iron men, you Ironman, because the title Ironman is given not at the race itself, and for two or three years of training that you had before that. So you’re already ready. It doesn’t matter if you run today or not, you’re all iron men already.”
-Tell your story.
-I’ve told it so many times. In a nutshell. Two and a half years ago I had a period in my life when I realized that some of my ambitions had been satisfied, in business, in creativity. I understand that now. But back then it seemed like there was such silence, such calm, and I don’t understand where I should go and what I should fight for. And I have such a character that I constantly have to fight with myself. I was in such prostration, and accidentally came across a report of a young man who became an Ironman, where he told about his path.
I knew nothing about triathlon at the time, about these kinds of races. When I saw the numbers a man was capable of, and saw the pictures of this fat uncle at the beginning of his journey, and at the end – a muscular uncle on a bike, something clicked in my brain, and I realized that this is what I needed right now. The next day I found my old sneakers and ran to Komsomolsk Lake. And then there was a lot of stuff, in different countries, on different continents – brutal training blood, sweat, anything.
-You tell it so easily now. All of our viewers are probably thinking, ‘Oh, it’s so easy to take and run.’ No matter how many people we have going for a run, running for health – in the area of the lakes, by the way, the best place to run – I’ve always wondered, since the time of Tsar Gorokh, why we have people running to the airport, breathing in the lead of passing cars. Well, what can you do.
– We also ran to the airport, many times.
-It surprised me because I went to a sports boarding school. We somehow had the Valley of Roses, we knew where to run and what to do, there were no cars. Here you came to it, you had a lull, both in creativity and in business. You didn’t see how to go on, or you got bored?
-That’s when something got hung up, dull-something.
-Something new to come up with.
-I didn’t think I needed to think of something. I understand now what was happening to me. I kind of faded a little bit back then.
-What was going on?
-I was kind of fading back then. If I had a light burning all the time, I need to make a cartoon urgently, I need to show the world that there is Moldova, that we can do cool cartoons, that in the IT-sphere we do unique projects. We need to show the business, how we can do it, and we need to create a good team. And so, tick by tick, I think I did it all. But what’s next, I did not see. To improve what we have, yes, okay, but I want something fresh, something new.
At school I was always, shall we say, an omega, not an alpha or a beta. Somewhere down there, I got hit on the head a lot by my classmates. Never had good physical health or special strength or training. Never liked sports, was totally indifferent to it. But then, bang, I was doing it, and more and more every day.
I want to take this opportunity to say that I went a little overboard. I didn’t tell anyone this before. In the last year especially, I trained a lot, several hours a day. I had Ironman, there were heavy races, Munich and the New York Marathon. I was overdoing it a little bit. At my age you need to slow down a little bit, train more with your head. And my health told me that here, Dima, slow down here. I overtrained a little, and for three months I could not do sports at all. I just a couple of months ago started to come out of that state, and I started to pull myself back in again. My physiology just calmed me down: slow down, otherwise you’ll fall apart.
-Our viewers should take note of this.
-Our viewers, let’s not fanaticism, let’s train calmly, let’s not rush anywhere. Life is long, in amateur sports the main thing is not the result, but the main thing is consistency and process.
– Otherwise there’s a lot of work for cardiologists. I read your blogs about these competitions, triathlon. You write very fascinatingly, it was interesting to read. But now I’m going to touch on the other side of the coin. Going online, like on Facebook, I saw how many negative reviews there are. Tell me, please, is it the culturelessness of people who don’t understand what was done, how it was done? There’s all sorts of things in our society already like to slant, with no evidence, how do I and our viewers understand this? Why does this happen?
-I think this is not only a Moldovan trend. All over the world there are people who don’t think like everyone else, they have their own point of view to which they have an absolute right. It bothered me a lot three or four years ago; I tried to have it out with everyone, to prove that I’m right, that I’m not for money, but for the idea, that I’m for the health of the nation, that I want Moldova to flourish, for everyone to know about it.
Now I have calmed down. Yesterday or the day before yesterday, there were a lot of posts on Facebook saying that the marathon is a money laundering, and the closing of roads was done deliberately to destabilize the situation in the country, to make some dough. I’m totally cool with it, let people write. Thank goodness that Facebook people have adequately put the people who said this heresy in their place in response to such outbursts.
Yes, I agree that we caused some inconvenience to the citizens of our capital by blocking off half the city. I hope that the celebration we’ve offered to our city, the new history we’ve written in the world of amateur sports in Chisinau, will balance out these unpleasant moments. Next year, people will be more prepared, more aware of which routes don’t run, will treat this event with understanding, because it takes place in every city in the world, in 90%. Somehow find a compromise, the residents are sympathetic to it.
I want the next time the people of Chisinau to come to the marathon as participants, bring their families, and help the runners pass. I want it to be a real celebration of the city. So that people wouldn’t try to go to the market to buy bryndza, but to come out and welcome the runners.
-That would be nice. But, as you say, we’re going from crisis to crisis. And here to go out even with a bun, to welcome marathon runners, I observed – there were very few people. Shish kebab, out of town, a glass of wine.
-You’re always trying to belittle our nation. They are both envious and angry, and not welcoming.
-I can’t belittle our nation. Not envious, the nation is healthy, not only a healthy body has a healthy spirit. We said at the beginning of our conversation, where? In the minds. When there will be a national program, which will be called “Health,” and the authorities will pay attention to the fact that the nation is shrinking, getting fat – it means acquiring diseases, that medical insurance will become more expensive, and they cannot be cured, because they themselves do not want it. I link everything together, because the problem here is not to belittle someone’s nation. What do you mean by belittling? I was born and raised here.
-People aren’t used to it, they’re not ready for the fact that there’s a marathon and you have to go out there with your family and spend a weekend of four or five hours cheering the runners on. They don’t know that such an opportunity exists at all.
-But do you agree with me that there should be a state program?
-Absolutely. Private companies can make some contribution to the development of sports, but the budgets that the country has – no private company has enough of those budgets. Of course I expect that the state will help us next year and the local authorities and ministries will also help. But that is not what I want to talk about now. I want to talk about the citizens. I hope that next year the situation will change. We will promote not only a healthy lifestyle for runners, but also for the citizens. So that they adequately perceive what is happening in the city, so that they get excited and look forward to this marathon. To get out and walk around and have a great weekend.
What was happening now was totally expected. People didn’t realize it was a celebration. They think it’s a run, run, run, run, then we’ll go out for a walk. They don’t understand that this is one holiday for all citizens – those who run and those who don’t run. There will be many more people next year, I promise you.
-Let’s move on to something else. We touched on the financial component a little bit. It’s very difficult, it’s an investment. It’s even your time.
– Not even, but first and foremost. Human resources are the most expensive.
-How did you go about this marathon in the last week before the start? How did it all take shape?
-For the last three days, we had 30 people not sleeping at home at all, and they spent the last three days in the central plaza. And the week was the busiest, when it turned out that we didn’t have all the medals finished, that the ribbons had to be sewn on. We had the office manager sitting up for two nights sewing on the ribbons because there was no one else to do it. We started having problems with the installation of the arch, the stage, and the fences. All of our vendors hadn’t quite lived up to their commitments, and there were rough edges everywhere.
Everything had to be solved immediately. We, unfortunately, did not have clear, signed contracts, with the responsibility that if you do not have fences that you promised, you will be responsible for it just agreed, struck a deal and went away. That’s a big lesson for us. Next year the contracts will be fully signed. You don’t have fences, pay 5,000 euros, and don’t give us fences, we’ll figure it out.
We had a terrible cycle. Our whole office stopped, we abandoned all our projects. We had 70-80 people in the company doing just the marathon. We did not hire people from outside, because it is very dangerous to entrust such an event to a person who does not work for us, but for 2000-3000 lei to do something. Therefore, all of our people worked – accountants, programmers, designers, office managers, managers of various projects. People who are far from the marathon, many far from the sport. But everyone stood up for the event and carried it on their shoulders. There were about 70 people from our company and about 300 volunteers, they were citizens of our country who just decided to help us.
-How did you convince our Mayor, Dorin Chirtoaca, to help us?
-I don’t know Dorin, strangely enough. I’m the organizer of the marathon, he’s the mayor, but we don’t know each other. These miracles can only happen in Chisinau. We communicated a lot in the mayor’s office. We had a lot of conversations, problems. They were grabbing their heads when they saw the map of how we were going to close off the city. The biggest problem was the trolleybuses were tearing their hair out, shaking their chests at us that we would never do it, how people would get from one neighborhood to another.
We shook their chests, too, and shouted that it was a marathon, and every city should have one, and Chisinau, too. We wanted to take over the city more. We found a compromise, which took place just yesterday, settled it. Thank God, we weren’t hindered. We were allowed to do it-all, thank you, low bow, to the mayor’s office of mulzumesc. Next year we will continue the war.
-Then from our guest and from me personally mulzumesc. You have everything so simple, so beautiful. But it’s so expensive! I mentally imagine everything, when you called the number of volunteers, the whole office worked. Now that’s a smile, isn’t it?
-Yes. Our financial director comes to me and says, “Dima, let me calculate the costs of the marathon. I said: “Don’t, don’t waste your time. It doesn’t make me any more money. I’m just afraid to see the sum. If you count all the people who worked that they didn’t do their job duties, didn’t develop websites, and spent all their time on the marathon, it’s a scary number. Plus, advertising. Thank goodness our resources allow us to advertise 999,Point . There’s where to take it from. If another company had done it, the amount of expenses would have doubled or tripled.
The money is huge, it would have gone down the drain. I don’t want to talk about numbers right now. I know it’s a lot, it’s completely unprofitable, and from a business standpoint it makes absolutely no sense. I hope that next year it will be more profitable; we expect to reach at least zero. And in a year or two or three we may have some profit.
-With a healthy body, a healthy spirit. This is how I started our program. Our guest is the organizer of a marathon in the city of Chisinau. Were you also a participant?
-So the personal example is the most important thing?
-Well, yes. Or did you organize it, and then you go into the bushes? Or do you take lemonade and walk around the square, people are running around and suffering, and you drink lemonade and say, ‘Eh, it’s hard’? No.
-We’re used to seeing that our organizers are mostly in charge. But to participate themselves …
– No, necessarily, personal example is very important. I have several people who also wanted to run a marathon, and they had to sacrifice it. They dreamed about it, but it was decided that part of the team would not run, to the detriment of organizing a proper celebration. Had they run, there would have been many flaws and problems. After deliberating, we decided that I should run. Although I also have a lot of issues that I have to coordinate.
Thank God, I have a team – Katusha, Roman, thank you very much – and a lot of volunteers. They took on my workload and pulled this festival off. And I took the flag and carried it. In the evening, when we celebrated holding the marathon, the guys just fell asleep. Half a glass of beer they were able to drink. They couldn’t sleep at night and worked during the day, all burned out and swollen. Big heroes. My whole company is really not worthy monsters, who were able to organize such a wonderful event. Thank you very much!
– You know, dear viewers, as much as I’ve talked to many politicians and political observers in the studio, this is the first time I’ve talked to someone who remembers his team, who helped him get where he is today. It gives you a head start for the future. I know you’re in business. Tell me, how do you go about recruiting people who work alongside you?
-That’s a great question, and I want to thank you for it. It’s a very important element, without which there wouldn’t be many projects, if we were hiring by the classical criteria that are usually used for an interview – by IQ, by diplomas, by crusts, by some kind of professional abilities. We have it all upside down, not quite right. Our business is built in a non-traditional way and from the MBA point of view this business should have died and gone bankrupt a long time ago.
We select people first and foremost by how easy it is for executives to communicate with that person. You know, there are people who are approachable and there are people who are repulsive. It doesn’t depend on gender or profession, there are just pleasant people, and then there are unpleasant people. So at the interview, we first just talk about life and try to figure out if we like the person or not.
If we feel that the person is smiling, open, that he is not motivated only by money, that he is ready to work for the idea, we start to ask about everything else – where he studied, what he knows, what he is not able to do. If at this stage we see that the person, even with super-education, has a huge track record and low requirements to the salary, which is beneficial for business, we do not continue. We just apologize and say that maybe next time we will continue.
So we have people working in the company who are very loyal to us, who are very comfortable with us, they’re all very open, friendly, and in some ways very similar to each other. Like one big family. When another flag goes up over our company, that we’re doing this, we have a new project, everyone gathers together, everyone takes some part of it, and we all do it. No one asks how much they’re going to get paid for it.
When a person comes in for an interview and says, “How much do you pay,” we’re immediately not interested in talking to them. It doesn’t mean that we exploit people who work for food. Our salaries are higher than the average in the company, there is professional development. But we do not consider professional skills to be the most important thing, we consider human skills.
-A lot of people drop out?
– Quite a lot. On the other hand, people come in who can do nothing or very little, but you see how easy and pleasant it is to communicate with this person. We take him to work, teach him, and he immediately grows in the company very quickly.
-From the marathon, we moved on to the problems of Moldovan business, which haunt all firms, the big ones. And you are different from them by your individual approach to each job seeker in your company. It’s a kind of like-minded people who have a common idea, bring something new from themselves.
– They have a common view of things, of life.
-Who you understand.
-They’re close to me. They’re actually my friends. Any one of them I can be friends with.
– And you know everyone who works for you?
-Unfortunately, not everyone. It’s a big company, 120 people.
-Does everyone know you?
-I hope so.
-I hope so. -Anybody at your company run?
-Lately there’s been a boom. At first I was running, and people were wagging their fingers at me: “Dima, what’s wrong with you, you’re a serious man”. Then I ran a marathon, and then I ran another marathon. Our top management is all marathon runners. This figure indicates, again, that when I was selecting people for myself, they have a brain that is arranged roughly like me. I can’t make a person run a marathon, but it just so happens that the top management ran. It shows that people are right, they are attracted to what I am attracted to. This is very important.
-It’s called psychological compatibility. I’m surprised at your approach to each person. A lot of people try to hide. But they all run, you have infected with this good and kind disease – to run for a heart attack, as it was in Soviet times. Tell me, will there be a traditional marathon, the Chisinau one, may be there will be the Balti and Orhei ones as well? I can’t count more cities in Moldova, more or less big ones.
-That’s a very good question. I’d like to touch on the topic you mentioned, running from a heart attack. I want to say that I’m against running for a heart attack. I think that exercising for health is a weak motivation. I have many examples where a person starts running because it’s okay to do it, or it’s a healthy lifestyle. Runs for a week, a month, three months, and then quits. A healthy lifestyle is a very blurred concept, health is the same thing. In my opinion, a person should run for some result, a goal. For example, to run 10 km, to run a marathon.
I want to become a marathon runner, travel to different countries, see different cities. I want to do triathlon, I want to swim across the Gidigich. These are measurable things that a person can take years to get to. If I train just to be healthy, I will never reach that goal. Just being healthy is a very obscure number, how to measure it is unknown. And at one point I won’t say, “Oh, I’m healthy,” and I’ll stop running.
About the cities. We definitely have plans to hold small races to begin with in major Moldovan cities – in the north, in the south, in Orhei, perhaps. To change a stereotype of people that it is necessary to be engaged in abstract running, abstract physical training. People can take a year to prepare for these events. He knows that he has a marathon in Balti on October 18, and he will run for a year to show a better result or to take a higher distance. That way, Beltsy will start running. If I just say on TV, “People, exercise running. Running is health,” nothing will change in their minds. They already know that running is health, it’s a healthy lifestyle. But they don’t start running because of this.
And after the Chisinau marathon, I am sure that Chisinau will run. Those who ran the triple, I know many disappointed people who said, “I’m not tired, I should have run the ten. What a jerk I am!” Those who ran a ten said, “I could have run 21.” And those who didn’t run at all said, “Holy crap, what did I spend the day doing at home?” People will start running, training to improve their performance, to run longer distances. They’re going to start buying running shoes, clothes. I promise you that this year you will see a lot of runners on the streets of Chisinau, and in other cities too.
-What you just said is human psychology, to overcome oneself by setting a goal. This strengthens and nervous system gives people a chance not to be disappointed in what difficulties there are in life. We live in a difficult time, where the economy has not yet achieved what the leaders of our country declare. But I have already started myself, I remembered how I served in the army, and we had a 70-kilometer marching race. I think, at 15 kilometers I already had a feeling that I can’t go anywhere, I can’t do anything. That’s not running, but jogging, but with weight.
So when I said that I would do 15 km, but my legs were leaden, I did 35. Fell down, laid down for 15 minutes. For those 15 minutes, when the blood was receding, you lifted them up, you think, “If I have passed these 35, then I will pass another 35.” Difficulties can be overcome, the main thing is to have the desire. And in general, a marathon is a marathon. I saw people, from little ones to adults, older than me and I was surprised. What a beautiful medal! One that had been worked on. Heavy.
-I’ll tell you a story. On the medal we have three Moldovans, three men who escaped from the Moldovan carpet to run a marathon. I just read an interesting interpretation of this medal on Facebook yesterday. They say, “The Chisinau marathon medal is made like in life. there’s a scoundrel who has a good girl running after him, who is loved by a good guy who runs after the two of them.” So it is in life, a love triangle.
– You see, even here we found something that is different from other marathons. Especially love. That moment where someone proposed to someone?
-Do you know?
-What do you think, spies are spies everywhere. Tell me about it.
-Vadim Zhelezkov, a colleague of mine, a man who runs a big project for the company, decided to propose to his sweetheart, and shared his idea of doing it at the Kishinev Marathon. I, of course, was two hands in favor: “Vadim, it’s cool, and for a marathon it’s a very emotional coloring.” We ran with him together, we were pacemakers – these are people who run for a certain time. We ran a 4.30 and discussed how to do it right, how to do it more spectacularly. We decided. Up to 20 meters to the finish line, his favorite was waiting.
He put his radio headset on 100 meters away so she couldn’t see. He ran up to her, took her hands. And he said: “I just ran a marathon, I had some hard moments, and there was joy in winning. But I realized that I don’t want to run a marathon alone. I want all future marathons and my life run with a torch, my love. Marry me!” All the girls swam around, tears in everyone’s eyes. She, too, on his shoulders: “Yes, I want to, yes, I’m ready.” They held hands, finished, she gave him a medal, applause. Beauty, romance!
-What can I say? Maybe the marathon will help change the demographic situation in the Republic of Moldova and we will have a population growth due to the fact that there will be many weddings.
-We saw a wedding. We ran, there is a church near the Russian embassy, there was a wedding there. We greeted everyone, it was very nice.
-It’s a good sign.
-They must have thought a little differently. I mean, they had plans to go for a drive. What’s going on here? Nevertheless, they applauded us.
– The main thing is that they did not think that everyone was going to a wedding. Well, what can I say? That’s how people are made. See, a popular song came to mind. I hope the marathon becomes a tradition. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be like New Vassuks.
-Well, it didn’t. There was no splash.
– But, you know, God loves a troika.
-We know, yeah.
-When will the second Kishinev Marathon, the third Kishinev Marathon… It’s already international in fact, people from Ukraine took part there, right?
-It’s already international. Foreigners came from 35 countries.
-35 countries! They saw that people in Chisinau also want to lead a healthy lifestyle! Anyway, I believe that running is a healthy way of life; it helps people to determine their physical and psychological abilities.
-I would like to point out that there are no inadequate runners among my acquaintances – people who do the sport. I believe that cyclic sports – running, swimming, sports – change people not only physically, but also mentally. You can’t be inadequate if you run, because running is a kind of yoga. When you run for an hour or two alone with yourself, without any devices, without any TV, everything in your mind calms down. You get into a kind of mental dark zone where you can talk to yourself, find out who you are and what you are. It’s actually meditation. A person who meditates three or four times a week cannot be a scoundrel and a scoundrel. So a healthy nation, not only physically, but it will be healthy spiritually as well if it runs.
-I can confirm these words. I was talking about my march. When I blacked out completely, I shifted my attention, not to the load behind my back, not to my legs, that they were leaden, but I began to remember my home, Chisinau, my neighborhood Botanica. It got easier, I did not feel it. I let the body act already on those bookmarks that were psychologically inside me, not paying attention to it. I think you’ve been through it, too.
Triathlon is a serious discipline, it’s considered that way. There are iron men out there, in the sense that constantly overcoming yourself is the hardest thing in life, and achieving the goals you set for yourself. Thank you very much for organizing the marathon, for being a man of purpose, and achieving what you desire, not someone from the outside. Our guest is Dmitry Voloshin, the organizer of the International Kishinev Marathon!