It was the running events held in the cool city of Ternopil that attracted my attention the most last year. Here I took part in the Ukrainian half marathon for the first time - “Ternopil Half Marathon”. I also ran my first winter half marathon in Ternopil - “Win Trail Ternopil”. Then I realized that it was time to get acquainted with the Kharkiv half marathons.
My first acquaintance with running Kharkiv took place in the fall - I was lucky enough to run along the route of the main city highway half marathon “Kharkiv Half Marathon”. Насправді 2019 рік видався дуже насиченим на харківські бігові події.
По-перше, “Kharkiv Half Marathon” було перенесено з околиць міста до центру, завдяки чому півмарафон оновив трасу. По-друге, було засновано новий забіг дистанцією у 30 кілометрів під назвою “Easter Run”. And thirdly, on the old track "Kharkiv Half Marathon" was held for the first time a night race “Kharkiv Night Half Marathon”.
The icing on the cake was a wonderful gift from the organizers to fans trail races - “Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon”. The trail half marathon in Kharkiv was scheduled for early August. The basis of the race was the track used in the running festival "Strong Run".
As soon as I saw the announcement that a trail race would be organized in Kharkiv, I was reluctant to take part in it. This half marathon would be a great start to the second half of the running season in 2019. And to miss such a race after I ran the main Kharkiv half marathons, it would be unwise. The organizers also aroused interest in it, promising the participants to show real hills in Kharkiv, which was very interesting after the road races.
Register to participate in “Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon” was needed on the site sportevent.com.ua. There were two distances to choose from - 7 and 21 kilometers. The starting package included a medal, a starting number, a chip. The organizers also took into account the food throughout the distance and at the finish, photos from the race and organized convenient storage rooms. The "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" route consisted of three laps, every 7 kilometers.
The first half of the 2019 running season turned out to be very busy. I took part in my the first marathon, tried mountain race, as well as successfully overcame several other races of different distances. That's why I really wanted to rest, relax, and regain strength. In this regard, July has become a kind of running off-season.
I started preparing for the "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" in two weeks - I went for a run, but it is impossible to call them a full-fledged training. On the eve of X-Day in the evening, I left Kyiv for Kharkiv - the arrival was scheduled somewhere between 6 - 6:30 am.
Arriving in the city of Kharkiv, I immediately went to the starting point of the trail race "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" to pick up my starter pack. The town is located in a location already familiar to me - in the "Forest Park". It was here that such running events as “Kharkiv Night Half Marathon” and “Easter Run”.
The issuance of starter packs took place in the "Cycling Center". It also housed storage rooms and changing rooms. After receiving his participant's number, he changed his clothes and left his things in the locker room and went to the starting area, which was located in the depths of the "Forest Park" somewhere at a distance of 400 meters from the "Cycling Center".
The "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" trail consisted of three laps of 7 kilometers each. Throughout the distance, the organizers installed two hydration stations near the launch site. The start of the trail half marathon was scheduled for 8:00. Participants of both distances of 7 and 21 kilometers had to start together. Despite the fact that I have twice had to run a half marathon in this forest park, the organizers have prepared a really difficult route for the trail half marathon. The path meandered, then up, then down the picturesque forest paths.
As soon as the "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" was launched, all runners set off in the direction of adventure. At the very beginning, the participants were waiting for a narrow path, where a small crowd of athletes formed. On the first lap I got acquainted with the features of the trail track to know exactly what to expect on the next laps. This adventure did not upset me - many descents and ascents and the beautiful nature of the forest park area inspired me to conquer the next race. The first lap was surprisingly easy to overcome, despite the fact that the route was difficult.
In the second lap, all runners began to gradually stretch along the route. And already at the next intersection, the "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" decided to remind you that it is a trail race, not a road race, and you can't relax here. I managed to make the first attempt to pave my own route, but I noticed in time that I was running somewhere wrong, so I had to check the map. I've had the experience of running the wrong way before, so as soon as there is a suspicion that I'm being taken somewhere wrong, I make sure to compare my direction with the route of the race.
Then I thought it would be nice to keep up with some runners. So gradually our group of seven runners was formed, which together ran the entire second lap. So we were able to insure each other to keep running in the right direction.
On the third lap of the "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon", fatigue made itself felt - the last lap of the trail was harder to overcome than the previous two. A little behind his group, so he made another attempt to pave his own route. Somewhere between the 11th and 12th miles, I tried my best to catch up with my comrades, but I turned somewhere wrong at the next intersection. This mistake completely discouraged my desire to catch up with someone. So when I returned to the track and began to follow a comfortable slow pace for myself - there was no point in hurrying somewhere. At this pace, I reached the finish line and completed another trail race in my running practice.
Kharkiv running events always demonstrate an excellent level of organization and the "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" is no exception. It is this running event that completes the triad of 21-kilometer races - road, night, and trail half marathon. Despite the fact that the route of the trail half marathon consisted of three laps, its advantages include the picturesque locations of one of the largest Ukrainian forest parks.
Many descents and ascents became the highlight of the "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" route. The layout of the route was very good, but in some areas it was a bit tricky, which could confuse the participants. But in my opinion, this is a special charm of this half marathon, because the participants must not only run forward thoughtlessly, but also memorize the route and be constantly on guard so as not to get lost.
Overall impressions of the trail "Kharkiv Trail Half Marathon" were very positive. The Kharkiv trail half marathon successfully completed the series Ukrainian trail racesin which I was lucky enough to take part.