Originally a six-member team, and later greatly expanded through recommendations, is a gathering place for Hungarian creators who love to hike. From jewelry designer to fine artist, almost everyone can be found here—they are the Sporttársak (sports mates). Following the Blue Trail route, they travel around the country, while often having joint projects. We talked to the mind behind the initiative, Eszter Bertóty, interior designer, the founder of Bertoty.hu and Grid Enteriőr.
The sports mates first set off on April 7, 2017, four years ago. They decided to follow the route of the Blue Trail from east to west, and their motivation was to finally get to know their own country after many trips abroad.
“We had a lot of prejudices about each Hungarian region, we wanted to get to know the reality. By the way, our name was born in Szatyor. With Juli Koncz and Dani Rácz, flipping through the tour book, the address on the first page immediately caught our eye: sports mate. And we were able to identify with this title in an instant,” said Eszter.
Six people took part in the first tour—Szabolcs Folláth, Dániel Rácz, Bence Damásdi, Antal Kádas, Eszter Füzes and Eszter Bertóty—but this group has expanded considerably over time. When Eszter and the group started posting about their trips on Instagram for their own entertainment, others became interested in joining. It soon became clear that everyone loved or wanted to hike, but few found company to do so. The narrower circle of friends was later expanded with a recommendation. Now they had to start controlling the number of participants because they felt that group dynamics were less effective above a certain headcount, and it was more difficult to meet everyone’s individual needs. The record number so far has been seventeen.
“The friendships born here interweave our lives in many areas—we always help and support each other. Moreover, joint projects have already been born,” Eszter noted.
The trips are mostly organized by Eszter, but the sports mates also help her a lot. They suggest a route in a Facebook group and available dates, from which the current winner will be the one suitable for most team members. In addition to the classic Blue Trail, they started exploring the Great Plain and South Transdanubia (DDK) routes roo, moreover, water tours have been included twice in the programs. The tours are usually three days long, but you can join them for just a day or two, too. They mostly travel by their own cars and organize in the group as well who can go with whom. Meal during the day is in most cases arranged by everyone individually, but more and more people offer to cook for others. If there is any gastronomic specialty on a particular route, they always try to visit it.
Eszter’s most memorable route was the Mátra part, where although they were very tired, the team’s attitude to hiking changed—they became more persistent. At the same time, she is also very proud that in the first forest they slept in the rain, with fun, without complaint, and even grilled a lamb burger under a canopy.
The sports mates most recently started hiking on the DDK route. They already got the booklets for the stamps, and if all goes well, they will soon be on their way again. Later, they also plan to go abroad: to a Spanish Teide tour and they also have an invitation to Slovenia.
“I can’t be thankful enough to be able to walk with such a fantastic, creative team from time to time. In addition to experiencing the closeness to nature, they make all the minutes spent together a real experience. One of the best decisions of the recent years was to get into that! I recommend that everyone go, start with whoever they can! Later we can work out everything else anyway!” Eszter remarked.
And why are these joint trips important to other sports mates? We asked Kata Filep, Dorka Kászonyi and Attila Kertész.
“The diversity, democracy and dynamism of the company are refreshing to me, but it is also proof that it is even easier to make friends after you’re thirty with people who give their true selves. Building relationships and finding common points are much more direct… And while I’m not a big athlete, I can prove myself on my endurance from time to time on these hikes.” Filep Kata, stylist, Atak Pelif
“It evokes my childhood when we went hiking with family friends a lot. Physical and spiritual recharge in nature, quality time spent together, important conversations that separate us from the daily rush and bring us closer together.” Dorka Kászonyi, jewelry designer, The Sentimentalist
“Surrounded by like-minded people, marching in hot and cold weather in areas I had never known, felt, seen or smelled before, all at home in Hungary… We have been doing it for years, and how much is ahead of us…” Attila Kertész, painter, industrial designer, Position Collective
The members of Sporttársak: Eszter Füzes, Berni Titkos, Szabolcs Folláth, Kata Kerekes, Kinga Cakó, Dániel Rácz, Bence Simonfalvi, Dorka Kászonyi, Anna Liptay-Baráth, Dávid Liptay, Kata Filep, Dániel Kitai, Attila Kertész, Péter Szűcs, Emese Bunyik, Matyi Farkas, Máriusz Fodor, Eszter Havas, Antal Kádas, András Dániel Tóth, Bence Damásdi, Julianna Koncz, Fanni Verbovszki, Zoltán Kalászi, Attila Godena-Juhász, Bogi Horvath, Matt Jones, Bence Molnár, Kriszta Szebellédi, Teréz Havancsák
Sporttársak | Instagram