For the first time with Ukrainian marathons met in 2019, participating in race for 42 kilometers in the city of Kramatorsk. This year, in order to continue my acquaintance with similar competitions in Ukraine, I was looking for something similar. I did not have to do it for a long time, the choice immediately fell on the city of Izmail, where I had long dreamed of visiting. One of the oldest marathons in our country is held here in Odesa region every year in September - Izmail Marathon. It has more than 20 years of history.
Registration and route
In order to take part in this marathon, it was not necessary to register in advance, as usually happens. It was possible to do it right on the day of the competition. Moreover, there is no need to pay a registration fee either, because participation is absolutely free. Athletes are immediately given starting packs with their own numbers. As part of the competition, everyone can choose one of three distances, the main one marathon distance, a half marathon or a 5 kilometer run.
Route marathon in Izmail is a single circle that runs partly on a well-paved road through the city and partly on a dirt road in the village of Loshynivka. It has several ascents and descents. Throughout the course, the organisers provided 8 hydration and food stations at the 3, 6, 10, 21, 36, 39 kilometres mark, where participants could refresh and recuperate during the race.
My a trip to the city of Izmail began on Friday evening, when I boarded the train from Kyiv to Izmail. In the morning on Saturday at the train station in Izmail, we participants of the marathon was met by its organizers. First they gave a small tour of the city, and then we all went to the starting town to get our participant packets. In addition, the organizers took care of accommodation for us, offering several accommodation options: free at the base of the local running club "Sportovets" and a paid hotel room (130 UAH per person). I really enjoyed walking through the city, I was especially impressed by its cleanliness, a large number of beautiful parks, where, surprisingly, no one runs.
But the most interesting thing started on Sunday morning at 8 o'clock, when all the participants of the competition took their starting positions. Since there were not many of them, athletes participating in the marathon and half-marathon started at the same time. The first 6 kilometers of the marathon route passed through the streets of Izmail, and then the road went outside the city limits to the village of Loschynivka. It was there that we were waiting for a U-turn and a run in the opposite direction straight to the finish line, which was on the territory local stadium.
Personally, I felt quite comfortable running the first 10 kilometers, as the route passed through the city, and then passed the forest and surrounding fields. I covered the first 7 miles of the distance in one hour, at 6 and 10 kilometers I ran to the food station in order to freshen up a little. The most interesting began after 10 kilometers. After all, the next hydration point was placed after 11 kilometers and therefore I had to overcome this section without water.
But despite this, I covered the first half of the marathon in two hours. Then I had no great desire to run. Especially when I realized that the next 10 kilometers I would have to run again without water. Therefore, I had to stay a little longer at the food station to regain my strength. But as it turned out later, in order to see the water again, I had to run not 10, but 15 kilometers. Since the next hydration point was placed at the 36 kilometer mark. In this regard, I especially wanted to note the constant presence of doctors who insured and in case of which provided assistance. After such tests, there was no desire to run further, but still I took the will into my fist and continued to move to the finish line. In front of him, at the fork near the station, I had to get a little lost to find the right route. This really annoyed me, but after 5 hours of running I still finished, which made me personally happy. At the finish line, I completely quenched my thirst and was glad that I didn't have to run anywhere anymore.
My impressions after participating in the Izmail Marathon remained twofold. On the one hand, the fact that the marathon with a 20-year history, like most similar starts in Ukraine, is simply dying is disappointing. It does not have the necessary support from the state, its implementation is entirely on the shoulders of caring people and activists or just those who like to run.
I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers "Izmail Marathon", volunteers, doctors, that despite the conditions in which they were put, they managed not only to hold the competition, but also to provide the participants with free food, accommodation and a festive buffet.