100 kilometers of Istria
Decision. 100 miles or 100 kilometers? I asked myself that question a lot. I never asked myself if I should go, only how long should I go… 🙂 After pretty bad winter season and as-bad-as-I-get results, I decided for “light” version. Most of my friends decided for longer route, but since I have already been on such long races, I knew what was waiting for me (and them!) and I think I chose wisely. Except not wanting to run first “flat” 60 km and not wanting to spend two nights on race, the shorter route was starting on my birthday, so I could have continued “tradition” that I started last year in Nepal, birthday racing 🙂
Race. I won’t go in details how I felt on what climb and how much did I run, walk or crawl. I’ll just say that I am really satisfied with my result, I had only one crisis, but crises are to overcome. Taking other running shoes at second transition point really made a difference. I wanted to finish under 20 hours and I succeeded. It wasn’t easy and that’s why I feel even better that I managed.
It was nice chatting with people, not knowing in which language to start a conversation, seeing our country through other racer’s eyes… It was fun catching some friends that were on a longer race, loosing them and catching them again. It was exciting running last leg with mobile phone in hand and racing with the clock (to finish under 20h). I know different races are hard to compare, but I’ll say I set a new PB on 100km race, 4 minutes faster than previous one (Madeira Island Ultra Trail)!! 🙂
Organization. I am very proud of my friends from SRK Alba and SD Trickeri and their organization. They had the courage to organize this kind of event, something not seen in Croatia. With as little as 50 volunteers, but with great enthusiasm they managed to cover all aspects of a big event. If you found something that could have been done better, share that with organizers, they will listen to you, hear you and improve it for next edition. RaceBase.hr system that was used for tracking results is also something new and not seen in Croatia. Live tracking of results at checkpoints was implemented on Thursday, a day before the race!! Until next year, the service will for sure be polished and offer many additional features. Oh, by the way, the author of the system was also racing…
Trail. I loved it! Beautiful views, nice singletracks and macadams. Lot of opportunity to run. It did get a little tricky at one point (just before CP Rabac), but that’s how the Istrian Hiking Path (IPP) is going, and the race route was following that path. I even get lost, from Rabac to Labin, the cause was probably fatigue and loss of concentration at that point, but I found my way (I used a map! :)) Some people complained that the trail was too technical, some joked that UTMB should be a qualifying race for Istria (and not vice verse), but that’s how trail running in Croatia is. This one was easy, since it’s been marked. Usually, we have adventure runs that would involve also orienteering 🙂 However, if you didn’t run away scared with Croatian trails, I want to invite you to Velebit Ultra Trail, even more challenging… 😉