The running year before this race was quite interesting and eventful. So for the season finale, I decided to find some interesting running competitions, I had a number of events that could have been a great end to the sporting year. My choice fell on a winter mountain trail - the "On the Edge of Winter", which is part of the "Adventure Competitions Series". This competition caught my attention last year because it was the only winter race held in the mountains in Ukraine. But then something prevented me from attending it. So I firmly decided that I would definitely do it next year.
In addition to the successful completion of the running season, participation in such races was a good opportunity to try something new for myself. After all, I had no experience of running in the mountains in winter before. In addition, we should not forget about the small bonus of participating in the competition - it is an opportunity to conquer the winter Smotrych and Vuhatyi Kamen. So, as soon as registration for the "On the Edge of Winter", I immediately registered. I was sure that this running adventure would be interesting and unusual for me.
Everyone who wants to take part in the winter mountain race "On the edge of winter" had to be registered online on the official website of the running event - acs.ture.ua. Participants could choose between two courses: 32 and 20 kilometres. In addition to the two main courses, the organisers also prepared a 5km "vertical run" for the participants. It was to take place the day after the main races.
The 32-kilometre mountain race route consisted of one lap along the snow-covered mountain slopes near Mount Smotrych. It had two control points (CPs) at the top of the mountain itself (9 kilometres) and near the village of Dzembronia (15 kilometres). The total height gain was 2015 metres. The start and finish were at the same point in the White Elephant camp. The first and second sections of the trail had their own time limits - 3 hours were given to overcome each, while the last 15 kilometres had no time limit.
This year's last running adventure for me started on Friday on the platform of the Kyiv railway station. Here I was waiting for a train to Ivano-Frankivsk, and from there I planned to take a shuttle to the starting point, which the organisers of the competition provided to each participant. As soon as I arrived at the White Elephant camp, where the starting town was located, I immediately went to get my starter pack. Then I checked into the camp and changed into my running gear, because there was not much time left before the start of the last adventure of the season.
But the most interesting thing was waiting for me on Saturday at 10 am. It was at this time that the start of the winter mountain race was scheduled "On the Edge of Winter". The start for the 32 and 20 kilometres was shared. It promised to be quite an interesting winter walk in the snowy mountains. The 32-kilometre course could be divided into 3 sections, namely the climb to Mount Smotrych (9 kilometres), the descent from the mountain to the village of Dzembrotnia (6 kilometres) and the run to the finish line (15 kilometres).
. The start for the 32 and 20 kilometres was shared. It promised to be quite an interesting winter walk in the snowy mountains. The 32-kilometre course could be divided into 3 sections, namely the climb to Mount Smotrych (9 kilometres), the descent from the mountain to the village of Dzembrotnia (6 kilometres) and the run to the finish line (15 kilometres). mountain race in 2019 “Goverla Race”. Of course, this is a small thing compared to what awaited me later.
The most fun part of the trail started at about the 7th kilometre. The closer we got to the top, the less friendly the weather became. But, despite the icy wind and frost that pierced my face and hands, from time to time falling knee-deep in snow, I continued to move slowly towards the summit and the first checkpoint. Finally, the long-awaited peak of Smotrych, where I was met by happy volunteers. They treated me to some warm tea, I had a little rest and then set off again to fight the wind, and at the same time my thoughts. Because my inner voice told me from time to time that if I chose a distance of 20 kilometres, it would be much easier for me to run. But I kept pushing these thoughts away, because I had another interesting stretch ahead of me, namely Mount Smotrych - the village of Dzembrotnia (6 kilometres).
The conquest of the second section, especially its first kilometres, where the participants had to go from Smotrych to Mount Vuhaty Kamen, was not much easier, as they were again facing open terrain with strong winds, and had to move mostly at random. There was only one snow around and almost nothing to indicate that someone could have run here for a couple of minutes. The tracks were quickly covered by snow and hard to see. After Mount Vuhatyi Kamen, the participants had to descend to the village of Dzembronia and the second checkpoint.
I managed to get to the middle of the trail route, namely the second checkpoint, in 4 hours and 37 minutes after the start, and these first 15 kilometres were the hardest I have ever run. Seeing the tent in the snowy meadow was a great joy for me, because it meant that the middle of the route was behind me and that it was not so far to the finish line. In addition, volunteers were waiting for the trail participants in the tent with warm tea and various goodies. I didn't stay here for long, because there were still 15 kilometres ahead of me, leading to the finish line, and I wanted to overcome them before sunset.
The second part of the trail seemed easier than the first, but I had almost no strength left to overcome it. The final 15 kilometres of the trail were quite difficult, and my mistakes in choosing my equipment began to remind me of myself. I even had various negative thoughts in my head, which I had to drive away by recalling the title of a British film from 1977 - "Go Forth or Die". These four words motivated me quite strongly and gave me the strength to move forward. However, with every kilometre that brought me closer to the finish line, I had less and less desire to run further.
About 7-8 kilometres from the finish line, I was caught up by Oleg, who was removing markings from the route, so I ran the last kilometres in his great company, with various conversations. This allowed me to pay less attention to my fatigue. After 9 hours from the start of my running adventure, I saw the White Elephant keppen again. It meant that the last running adventure of the year had come to an end.
I remember the winter mountain race "On the edge of winter" for the good organisation of the running event, and most importantly, for the interesting route of the race and the beautiful snow-covered landscapes of the Ukrainian Carpathians that accompanied the participants all the time. The "On the edge of winter" trail allowed me to learn what to expect from running in the mountains in winter and what to be prepared for. As it turned out, running in the mountains is very different from all the races I had run before in winter. Because if the weather was clear and sunny at the foot of Mount Smotrych, it was completely different at the top. I learnt the hard way that underestimation can backfire later.
I was happy that I brought it with me:
But I didn't take it, and at some points I scolded myself very much for it: