Everyone has their own story.
Some of us are sorry.
Most of all, what we never did
We think this is a time lost.
That we will no longer have that opportunity.
Be that as it may, we keep running ...Melovin – ‘Wonder’
When writing an article about my involvement in “Ternopil Half Marathon", my eyes accidentally hit the edge interesting half marathon titled "Autumn Leaf". Why did he get my attention? First, this half marathon is considered one of the "oldest" in Ukraine - the 21 km race has been held since 1975. And in the fall of 2018, its 43rd edition is due. Secondly, this half marathon is trail, not city, because its path runs through the Boryspil forest.
Registration for the half marathon is on the site athletic-events.com. The “Autumn Leaf” half marathon was held on the last Sunday of October. It pleased me very much, because it was at this time that the forest became of unsurpassed beauty and fascinated with autumn colors. Even though I had already participated in nine 21km races, but Autumn Leaf was the first for me trail half marathon.
To better understand all the features of the trail and see what to expect, I pre-registered a 10-kilometer race called “Didorivka Trail Run". Later, I realized that this would be a very appropriate and successful idea because the trail run is fundamentally different from anything I have ever participated in before.
Getting start numbers and half marathon route features
I went to pick up my starting number the day before the Autumn Leaf Half Marathon. It was possible to pick up a number in several places:
- Kyiv residents were able to pick up the numbers for the “Lisova” subway at the Joma sports store on Friday from 14:00 to 20:00 and on Saturday from 12:00 to 20:00;
- in Brovary, the dispenser was located at the Bright Sports Hub, where you could pick up your starting number on Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
In addition, your number could be obtained at the starting point on the day of the half marathon from 8:00 to 9:30. The starter kit included the number itself, the pins and promotional booklets of the companies that sponsored the event. Participants were offered the following options:
- the main race is 10 km.
- the main race is 21 km.
- additional run for 5 km.
- scandinavian walking 5 km.
- relay race 2 at 5 (5 km).
- distances for children
How to get to the start of the marathon?
To get to Brovary from Kyiv, it was necessary, first, to get to the Lisova metro station by public transport. After that, you have to change to the minibus 404 and go to the Terminal stop. It takes only 5 minutes from the stop to the starting point - it is located directly in the territory of the Boryspil forestry. As I walked to the gathering place, I met a lot of runners who had already started warm-up before the half marathon started.
A stage was set up right in front of the forester's house, along with many tents that offered participants and spectators a variety of sports accessories and goodies. It was possible to change clothes directly in the forester's house, where the organizers installed cameras. There will also be massages that runners can use after participating in the marathon. I quickly changed my clothes and went to look for a free storage room. Near the stage, the marathon runners were already actively training and warming up.
Route "Autumn Leaf Half Marathon"
For the 10- and 21-kilometer races, one track was allocated, meaning those who ran the full half marathon had to overcome two 10-kilometer runs. The participants of the main races started at the same time, but only after them all the others had to start. Two hydration stations were provided in one circle - the first 2.5 km from the starting line and the second 7.5 km.
The start of the adventure
Beginning half marathon “Autumn leaf” was no different - the participants gathered near the starting line, the countdown sounded and everyone rushed forward. The start of the route was asphalted, so I started very well. After that, the path slowly crossed into a paved dirt track that led me straight into the forest. In the process of running there was no discomfort - in the beginning the path was easy. After running 2.5 kilometers, I got to the hydration station, where I happily drank a glass of water to soak my throat.
Until I reached the second mile, everything was going very well, the road seemed easy and nothing involved trouble. Before the run, I studied the map very well, and was absolutely convinced that there had to be a turn in this city. But there were no instructions on the race track. The stream of runners on this stretch of road was divided - some ran to one side and others to the other. I made the decision to return. One of the participants was coming back and running straight, so I turned around and went to meet the adventures in the autumn forest.
The trail deepened into the forest, the dirt road began to turn into more sandy. I cannot say that it was good, especially when dozens of runners run across the sandy road in front of you. I got a notification on the phone that it had already been 4 miles but still had no turn. More and more people started to think that something was not right here. But everything came into place when other marathon runners started running for me. The participants were not very stretched on the way and it saved, because it was always possible to see that someone was running after you. I was also reassured by the idea that the finish line would eventually appear sooner or later. Therefore, the rest of the journey remained to enjoy the beauty of the autumn forest and meet the mushroom pickers.
Now this run reminds me of the phrase "March or die," or in my case, "Run or die." Quite often on the way someone overtook me, but I also overtook some runners. After running about 15 kilometers, I realized that I could run this route for 30 kilometers, or even a full marathon of 42 kilometers. And not only I understood this, because some runners who registered for the 10km distance ran a full half marathon. I made the second stop at the hydration station 17.5 kilometers to renew my strength.
"Autumn Leaf" Race Finish
It is impossible to describe the emotions I had when I crossed the finish line. I finished in 1 hour 58 minutes. In the process of running I did not think about the results, because I already knew that I was not going there. After completing his half marathon, he went to quench his thirst and take his belongings out of the locker room. I wanted to take some photos as soon as possible and finally go home for a rest.
Impressions from the Autumn Leaf race remain very twofold. But I can confidently say - this event is most remembered in the running autumn season. At first I thought it was a run "AG Antwerp 10 Miles” In Antwerp, where in fact the track was not 10 miles, but almost all 13.
What amazed and remembered me was the beautiful forest scenery, the various slopes, where the asphalted, dirt and sandy paths met with small slopes and ascents. It is also worth noting the remarkable result of my race in time. From the fact that it is a bit upsetting to note that there is no marking of the route - the organizers did not think about what it is necessary to set directions where to run. Therefore runners wandered and ran from different sides of the forest.
It was especially a pity for those who wanted to run a distance of just 10 kilometers and had to walk all 21 kilometers. This was especially true for girls - I don't even know if I would be the first to practice after running, if I was the first in my practice. But for me it was a very good experience overall, which gave a lot of joyous emotions - “Autumn Leaf”, despite some adventures, was the best of the season for me.
The launch site is very well organized - you can find a variety of drinks, broths and lots of goodies. But everything was overshadowed by the track layout. Finishing, you understand that you have not lost, but finding a positive in this is difficult, especially for those who were taught the result and lost the way. Despite the fact that the half marathon has passed with big misses, I want to express gratitude to its organizers for the unforgettable emotions and impressions received from participation, as well as for the opportunity to test myself on a new unusual track.