Looking last fall to mountain race called “Chornohora Sky Marathon” for 60+ kilometers, I had the idea to take part in a mountain race. Then I, unfortunately, missed the "Chornohora Sky Marathon", so the goal to take part in the mountain race was postponed to next year.
But mountain racing has not happened in my practice yet.
It was necessary to choose the first such running event to get acquainted with mountain running. As a result, I decided between two events, one of which was held in Ukraine and the other in Poland. In Poland, I was most interested in the "Bieg Tkacza" race, despite the fact that there are more than two hundred mountain races in Poland a year, which attracted me with its fascinating history and 32-kilometer route.
Among Ukrainian mountain races only one met my requirements - "Kelty Goverla Race", whose longest distance was 24 kilometers. It is worth noting that in the Ukrainian Carpathians there are many mountain races, including: "100 Buko miles" (160 km.), "Bojko Trail" (150 km.), "Skole Ultra Trail" (101 km.), "Carpathian Trail" ”(101 km.),“ Chornohora Sky Marathon ”(60 km.),“ Fun Karpaty Dynafit Trail ”(59 km.),“ Extreme Endurance Trail ”(55 km.),“ Hutsul Trail ”(52 km.), “Wet Hills” (42 km.).
Apart from the "Wet Hills" trail race, almost all of these races have an ultra distance. I plan to start running ultra but in about two years. The trail race "Wet Hills" is very interesting, but it is part of the trail league "Ukrainian Trail League", which is better to run thanks to a variety of routes and locations, rather than one of its starts. In addition, if you train and participate mainly on the plains and highways, getting acquainted with mountain running through a mountain marathon is not the best idea.
That's why I didn't find a more suitable mountain race in Ukraine than "Goverla Race“. Why didn't you choose the Polish trail "Bieg Tkacza"? There was a good route and a starting package, but the main thing is that I did not have enough experience of running in the mountains. I even went hiking in the mountains somewhere in 2016.
Mountains are a dangerous place where anything can happen. That's why I decided to run my first mountain race in Ukraine. "Goverla Race" already had a familiar route: back in the winter of 2016, I tried to climb the peaks of Petros and Hoverla, so if I get off track, I can go back.
As usual, the registration took place on the website vseprobegi.org. During registration, the participant has the opportunity to choose the desired distance of 8, 16 or 24 km, as well as immediately order an insurance policy. He chose a distance of 24 kilometers. The organizers of the race posted all the important information about the event on their Facebook page. They also set up a group in Viber for participants, who received information about important aspects of the trail a week before the start.
I traveled to the place of the trail in a fun company by car with Vasyl Myshchenko and his friends. Although the journey was long, we did not feel tired. We reached Lazeshchyna on Friday evening, and on the eve of the start of our distance, on Saturday, we went for the starting packages.
The 8 and 16 km distances were started on Saturday. And this meant that we still had one day free to admire the beauty of the Carpathians. The launchpad is located near the Kozmeschyk camp on the lawn. To kill free time after receiving the starter packs, I watched the participants overcome the smaller tracks. The weather that day was not the most favorable for them: immediately after the start it rained, which was not very happy - the same weather could be the next day, and I did not want to run around the swamp.
My 24-kilometer start was scheduled for Sunday at 8:30 a.m. After waking up, my friends and I immediately went to the starting town, where other participants were already gathering. The weather turned out to be quite pleasant and the sun was shining - it was inspiring that you don't have to run in the rain, as the participants of smaller races did the day before.
After the preliminary warm-up, a distance of 24 kilometers was started. The "Goverla Race" ran through the tops of the Hoverla and Petros mountains. The trail route consisted of one circle, which housed four checkpoints with water and food for runners. Two of them were installed at the foot of Petros and Hoverla, and two more - at the very tops. The whole route was a solid off-road.
The first kilometers I had to run on a gentle ascent, which gradually rose to the first peak of Petros and became steeper. The most interesting part of the first half of the route was the area between the first checkpoint and the top of Petros: it was very rocky and steep in places, which did not cause much excitement.
I reached the first checkpoint easily, but I was not eager to gather on Petros. But where to go - I began to rise slowly. The closer I climbed to the top of the mountain, the more often I met runners who were already descending from it. Mount Petros impressed with its beauty, but there was no opportunity to enjoy the scenery. Fortified with sweets and drunk with water, I began to descend to continue my way to the foot of Hoverla.
It was also very difficult to get down from Petros. I was not very experienced in running on bumpy tracks. Because of this I could not increase my speed, but due to my slowness I escaped from several falls. The ascent and descent from Petros took me 2 hours 26 minutes and 8 seconds.
At the foot of the mountain at the checkpoint, I had a snack, and replenished water supplies went to the second peak on the route - Hoverla. This section of the road passed through the area with small ascents, which after climbing Petros seemed to me almost flat. It was easier to run here, so you could sometimes be distracted by the spectacular mountain scenery.
As I approached Hoverla, I saw some runners climb it, while others, on the contrary, descended. After taking a breath at the checkpoint at the foot of Hoverla, then went to storm it. The ascent was much easier than on Petros. Ten miles were covered in 3 hours 54 minutes and 32 seconds. After the ascent to Hoverla, it was necessary to overcome the last section - 8 kilometers of descent to the finish line.
For the first four kilometers of the descent, I ran through pastures and picturesque meadows, and as many - through the woods. Although it was difficult to escape, the forest added variety to this complex process. The proximity of the finish line gave me the strength to run further. After all, I knew very well that as soon as you cross the finish line, all the fatigue will go away like a hand and only pleasant impressions and stormy memories will remain.
The "Goverla Race" race lived up to one hundred percent. The positive atmosphere and excellent level of organization were very pleasing. The route was very picturesque and well marked. Not only did I get the experience of mountain running for the first time, but I also had the opportunity to enjoy the incredible views from Petros and Hoverla. "Goverla Race" is a good mountain running event for those who want to get acquainted with mountain racing for the first time.