Zazriva Ultra Trail 2019 - Jogosikovo Pobehano

WOW. What a day. What an experience! Let me share it with you.

First and foremost, I am not a trained athlete. I have never participated in a trail run in my life, actually, I have never run more than 7.5km in the past. I started to prepare for this Ultra trail just 2 weeks prior. I did about 4x 5km runs in the gym, then the Monday before I did my first 15km on a treadmill, in about 1hr 27 minutes. I tried once more on Tuesday, the same 15km and managed to shed 7 minutes and finished it in 1hr and 20 minutes. That’s basically it. Oh yes, I did do a lot of hiking and trekking, before and after, so I am used to nature, trails, hiking, long walks …

I have registered just a few minutes before they closed the registration on the 7th of June, still hesitating if I really want to do it. But I had to prove myself I’m still capable person so I went ahead and registered. On Friday at about mid-day, I jumped onto the train to Zilina city, then to my friend’s car to get to Zazriva village in the evening. Following morning I woke up at 5:30 am, got dressed, ate about 4 bananas and walked about 200m from the accommodation to the registration point.

The race started exactly at 7 am, it was still misty and fairly cold outside and I had to wear my new lightweight jacket. Straight away we had to run slowly up-hill, the path was narrow so we had to stay behind each other. The adrenalin rush was there, but everybody kept smiling and the atmosphere was just great.

I kept a steady pace, and my Garmin watch was showing me that I was doing the first 10 or so km just below 8 min each. I did not want to rush and use all of my energy, at the end of the day, this was going to be a very long day - 52km trail is not something you can cough on.

I have to highlight the environment, the area we had to run through. It was just beautiful. Early in the morning, there was an inversion in the valley and the views were just beautiful. I have attached some pictures to share with you, the misty ones are not mine so I will give full credit to the person who took them. My mobile stayed in my bag as I did not want to get distracted, nor even stop for a sec to take a pic. But trust me, this was the most beautiful run I have done in my life. You have to be there, experience it to appreciate it. Kudos’ to the organizers, they did a remarkable job!

I think I finished the first 26km in about 3 hours 35min. I really did not rush it and enjoyed it immensely. I felt good, my lungs and heart were top notch and I did not struggle at all. The trail was, however, very muddy, a lot of runners felt and were dirty from the bottom to the top :-)

The second part was much more difficult. It was not really marked well, a lot of people got lost, there were even for of the runners who finished their run in another village as they went off course. I have luckily uploaded GPX track to my Garmin watch and was able to stay on the track most of the time. I can not imagine running this event without the use of GPS. I would get certainly lost as well.

Unfortunately, bad luck stroke and at about 30km point my left calve started to hurt badly. I could not run anymore. The pain was really bad and I still had 22km to do. I did not want to give up. Fortunately, I had my trusted Black Diamond trekking poles with me so I have persuaded and pushed forward. I have tried to walk as fast as possible and indeed, especially uphill I was still quite efficient with the help of my poles I was able to catch up with some runners who were slower uphill.

I do believe I could have finished the race 1 hour faster if I could run and be in the top 20, however, I did not do it to be the best, I actually wanted to know if I am capable to get to the finish line and make it. And I did it. With a smile on my face. 32nd overall, 25th in the category. It means nothing though. I have enjoyed the race fully and this experience made a better man.

I would like to say big thank you to the 2 fantastic organizers - Janko and Andrea to make this even happen, as well as all the supporters who helped them along the way.

If you would like to download and see my own GPX track of this trail run, feel free to do so:

Download GPX track - Zazriva Ultra Trail 2019

Here are my running statistics:

Here are a few links about this event:

And now some pics from the event, taken on various mobile phones :-)