In 2019, I had a very busy running autumn, which pleased a number of trail races, which were held in Biliy Tserkvi, Irdyni and in Zhytomyr, where the trail race "Zhytomyr Verticals" closed the busy season. The "Zhytomyr Verticals" trail started for the first time only in 2018 - then it began to look closely at it but took part only this year. Then I chose for myself “Win Trail Ternopil”, and the Zhytomyr trail postponed for the future.
When in 2019 it's time to plan running trail calendar, I was again faced with a difficult choice - to run the "Zhytomyr Verticals", or to take part in the Carpathian trail "On the edge of winter." Still, I chose the Zhytomyr trail because it was much easier for me to get to the city from Kyiv. In addition, I read a lot of positive feedback about this trail from last year's participants. I still really wanted to visit Zhytomyr and walk the streets of this city, because I was often in it, but never got acquainted with the city closer.
It was necessary to register for the trail race "Zhytomyr Verticals" on the website bikeportal.com.ua. When applying, you could choose the optimal distance for yourself for 6 or 21 kilometers. He chose a distance of 21 kilometers, which had an altitude of 1000 meters. After paying the entry fee, I officially became a participant in the trail race.
I didn't really want to go to Zhytomyr myself, so I thought why not look at the lists of participants in the trail "Zhytomyr Verticals" - suddenly I will find familiar names there. And I didn't miss it - I saw the name of an old running friend Artem Vergun on the list, who will also take part in the trail. I immediately corresponded with him and agreed on a joint trip to Zhytomyr. The last time I crossed paths with him was in March when we were running "Kharkiv Half Marathon". I knew that he ran the "Tour de Tirol" in the summer, and I wanted to know about this running event first hand.
The start of the trail race "Zhytomyr Verticals" was scheduled for Saturday at 11:00. Artem and I met near the Zhytomyrska metro station at 7:00 and went to Zhytomyr. Upon arrival, we immediately went straight to the starting point. Every minute the starting town became more and more noisy and crowded because more and more new participants arrived. Participants prepared for the start and talked to each other, the organizers gave out the starting numbers, and at the same time, volunteers made pilaf for runners, which will be waiting for them after crossing the finish line.
"Zhytomyr Verticals" trail race had a route of two laps of 10.5 kilometers each. The route mainly passed along the surrounding field paths, forest paths and along the banks of the river Teteriv.
Before the start, the organizers held an introductory briefing, during which they told the runners the main points of the race: the features of the route marking and the purpose of the plates, which received each of the participants of the trail in the starting package.
After that, they started and at that moment the trail "Zhytomyr Verticals" began to showrunners all the beauty of its route, which impressed with the surrounding picturesque nature.
The route was marked very well. Although for me it was done a little unusual, because the marking was done with special flags and stickers. But this is what made running more driving and interesting, because it was very easy to get off the route, which did not give a chance to relax. It was necessary to constantly remain attentive and focused on the markings, so as not to get lost and find all the points where you needed to put a mark.
The trail became much more interesting thanks to the zest that the organizers prepared for the participants before the race. Along the entire trail route, there were some sort of points that runners had to find to mark their plates, which were issued together with the starter packs. In total, there were 18 such checkpoints - some of them were marked by runners by judges, and some had to be marked on their own.
Because of this, I decided to stick to a group of runners to make it easier to navigate the route, as well as find points to mark. But still it was easy to get lost, which happened to me somewhere after 2 miles of running. I missed the turn and ran after a group of participants. Well, at least to return to the checkpoint was not far. After the first such mistake, I began to pay more attention to the route marking. The trail path was accompanied by very picturesque landscapes, thanks to which it was possible to be a little distracted from the numerous ascents and descents that accompanied the participants on the route.
I managed to overcome the first round of the trail "Zhytomyr Verticals" easily, despite a little trouble at the beginning. The first 6 miles ran in 81 minutes
Two hydration points were installed along the route - the first at the mark of 10.5 kilometers, and the second at 21 kilometers. When I got to the first point, I quenched my thirst a little and ran on.
Almost immediately after the hydration point, new adventures awaited me - I came down another hill and missed one of the turns. There was no fun here because I found a swamp and ran through it. After that, I had to return to the hydration point to find the right turn. On the second try, I still found the right path and continued to run to the finish line.
After I tried to make my own route and ran through the swamp, there was no point in hurrying. The limit of overcoming the route is not over yet, so I ran slowly, enjoying the surrounding scenery.
We managed to reach the finish line 3 hours 34 minutes after the start. After the finish, all runners were treated to delicious pilaf, which after these impressive verticals seemed even more delicious.
For me, the trail "Zhytomyr Verticals" became quite an interesting trail race, which was well organized. There were many volunteers, as well as a professional photographer and cook, who delighted everyone with pilaf. Despite the fact that the route of the half marathon consisted of two laps, the beautiful scenery made it quite interesting and fascinating. On the way of "Zhytomyr Verticals" there are a large number of large and small descents and ascents that do not allow runners to relax.
The trail route was well marked, but not with ribbons as I used to, but with stickers. Because of this, I sometimes had difficulty finding the right direction, but it also made the race more interesting. I also liked the format of the starting numbers, which were printed on the fabric. For a trail race, this is exactly what is needed, because such a number will not be damaged by water. The original feature was the marks - each participant had his own QR-code, which was scanned by the judges at the checkpoints.