The beginning of autumn for me was marked by interesting running events, in particular, mountain races, in which I was lucky enough to take part. On the first Sunday of September, I got acquainted with the Ukrainian trail race “Runa Run Trail”, and then an equally interesting trip to Croatia, where the second stage took place, awaited me “Golden Trail National Series” Croatia - “Utska Trail".
After participating in the first stage “Golden Trail National Series“ in Croatia - “Risnjak Trail” I decided to visit the second stage of the series called “Ucka Trail” i have to So, my second trip to Croatia was supposed to introduce me not only to another person the Croatian trail, but also with the beauty of the natural park in the vicinity of the ancient city of Rijeka - Učka and the town of Moschenytska Draga.
It was possible to apply for participation in this event online on the official website of the series “Kvarner Trails Series” – kvarnertrails.com. Here, each participant can choose one of three distances: 42 kilometers, 31 kilometers (the distance participating in the "Golden Trail National Series", which I chose myself) and an additional distance of 16 kilometers. The cost of registration to participate in the race starts at $30 and depends on the chosen discipline and time of registration (early registration - 200 kuna, late registration - 250 kuna). I usually take part in races on the main distance, as they are more interesting. But this time I had to run an average distance of 31 kilometers. And all because it is included in the "Golden Trail National Series" in Croatia
The route of the race "Ucka Trail" runs the territory of the national nature park Ucka consists of a distance of 31 kilometers in one circle with an ascent of 1,520 meters. All participants of the 42- and 31-kilometer races had to have with them mandatory equipment in the form of a whistle, isofoul and water. On the route of the trail (31 kilometers), 3 food stations were provided (at the mark of 7, 13.4 and 20.5 kilometers).
There, the participants could regain their strength. It took 8 hours to cover the distance. The route was divided into 4 sections, which had their own time to cover: the first section (7 kilometers) had to be covered in 1 hour 45 minutes, the second section (6.4 kilometers) – 1 hour 15 minutes, the third (7 kilometers) – 2 hours and the last fourth segment (10 kilometers) – 3 hours.
There are several ways to get to Moschenytska Draga from Kyiv: fly to Pula, Rijeka or Zagreb, and from there take a bus to Moschenytska Draga. In order not to invent anything, I decided to fly to Pula, which I already knew. Therefore, after collecting all my running stuff on Thursday morning, I went to Boryspil airport, and from there took a direct flight to Pula. I didn't stay in Pula, but immediately after my arrival I went in the direction of the mountain race "Ucka Trail" - Moschenytska Draga, arriving there on Thursday evening.
During an introductory walk through the town, in which I was thrown this time, it turned out that on weekends it should gather a huge number of lovers of running and bicycles. Because on Friday, the participants of the mountain ultramarathon "Istria 100 miles" will run through the streets of the city, on Saturday, residents and guests of the city will meet the participants of the local mountain race "Ucka Trail", and on Sunday, the "Ucka MTB & Gravel Climb" will be held.
I received my starter pack on Friday evening. Returning to the hotel, I suddenly came across a food outlet “Istria 100 miles“, where he decided to wait for Ukrainian athletes Maksym Kalugin, Roman Protsyuk and Serhiy Dymenko.
Saturday morning began for me on the embankment of Moschenytska Draga. The starting town of the mountain race "Ucka Trail" was set up here, in which the participants of the race gradually gathered from the very morning, waiting for 9 o'clock. It was then that the "Ucka Trail" was to start, and with it the final stage of the "Golden Trail National Series" of Croatia and the third stage “Kvarner Trails Series”. As during “Risnjak Trail“ the start for all distances was common.
After listening to the last instructions from the organizers, the participants of "Ucka Trail" went to take their places in the starting corridor. So the next one started for me mountain adventure. This time, the race could be divided into two conditional parts: the first, and at the same time the most difficult, consisted of a continuous climb of 13.4 kilometers to a height of 1,000 meters, and the second, easier, was a smooth descent of 17 kilometers to the finish line.
To get to the most difficult part of the trail, participants first had to run about half a mile along the town's waterfront, followed by the first climb. He went up the stairs and then went to the mountain path. This ascent continued almost to the first food point (7 kilometers), where, in addition to a short rest, the first fork awaited the participants, namely the separation of the runners at 16 kilometers. To overcome the first section of the trail, the organizers gave the athletes 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Having reached the first ascent and freshened up a bit at the food station, the second section of the trail (6.4 kilometers) awaited us. This meant that we had to run up the mountain paths again to the settlement of Mala Utska. There was a second food point and another fork separating the participants of the 42- and 31-kilometer distances. For us athletes who ran 31 kilometers, the most difficult section of the trail, which consisted of continuous climbs, ended. On the way up to Mala Utska, one could admire the beauty of the mountain scenery that suddenly appeared in front of them. The participants had to cover the second section of the trail in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
At the second food point, in addition to water, I also expected isotonic drinks, fruit, cookies and cola. Having reached it, the understanding immediately came that the hardest part was left behind, and then mainly the descent to the finish line, admiring nature and rest awaited.
The third (last) food point was located at the 20 kilometer mark. It was here that the first big descent ended. It took the participants two hours to reach it. And then the final 10-kilometer stretch began.
The first part of this section consisted of an ascent, and already at 25 kilometers there was mainly a descent to the finish line. The route of this section was partly on asphalt roads, and sometimes led the participants along the paths of the mountain slopes. The section between miles 17 and 19 should be noted separately. It was a descent on an asphalt road. On it, the participants of the race could make up for lost time a little, provided that they still had strength left. The last kilometer of the trail was partly on a mountain path that went down to the embankment, and from there you could reach the finish arch by hand.
In 5 hours running on mountain trails the outlines of the starting town began to emerge in the distance.
The mountain race "Ucka Trail", like its predecessor "Risnjak Trail", left behind many positive impressions, both from the organization of the running event and from the route of the trail race. It was interesting and exciting to run through the beautiful surrounding mountain scenery.