The 16 kilometres with 716 meters of elevation race on Risnjak is the shorter partner of the 30-kilometre RISNJAK race in the National Park Risnjak. Some would say that makes it less attractive to runners, but size isn’t always everything.
With regard to technical details of the race, what do you get to experience? The course path takes you through the National Park Risnjak, up to Schlosser’s hut (just below Risnjak peak) which is the highest point in the race. For those who take a day longer to stay, I recommend to revisit the race trail and climb Risnjak peak for a great view of the national park (and totally worth it).
The race is in July, so expect it to be hot. It starts and ends in Crni lug (and there are no showers). You will run the course mostly in the shade of tall trees, which will provide plenty of protection from the unwanted sun during the very sunny summer day. My advice is to use sunscreen protection, as the song says. The trail does require a level of respect in terms of the terrain since there are plenty of loose rocks on the trail and people have fallen and injured themselves (The Croatian mountain rescue service number is 112, just in case). There is only one refreshment point at the 10-kilometre mark, and should be sufficient for all those who sweat a lot during races. Please, be so kind and take a water bottle with you (some didn’t). Why, you ask. Because wetness is the essence of beauty (remember Derek? :-).
But the real question, why attend this race and why the short version?
Well, the Kvarner trails races have something intimate about them, the number of participants is limited, the runners are all friendly, the locations and trails are chosen so that runners get to experience the area where you run, to understand the place you visited and whatever else gets you to say yes, these races have it.
I usually prefer to take the longer race, to make it last and to see more, but this time I got saddled with the shorter distance and did not regret it the hour or the day or the week after. You can run the race with the best runners or you can stay back and enjoy the trail. The short trail does not provide much in terms of grand views (one notable exception), but it does let you enjoy the untouched forest, if you can stop looking down (and I recommend you do).
For those who come to the race the first time, I believe, it will always stay with you as a fond memory.
And if you fail to believe me on anything else about the race, please remember to carry some water and use protection.