running long


Ultramarathon from the top of the Logarska Valley all the way down to the city of Celje.

The run I did six times before - in the opposite direction. After four years of involuntary pause for various reasons, the race was on again. This is practically my home race and I love to be a part of it.

As you know I run and cross country run in Logarska Valley a lot. It is one of the most beautiful places on this marvellous planet. Yet, along with beauty coupled with civilization comes responsibility. So the local municipality of Solčava decided not to allow any events in the valley.

Organizers of the ultra run decided to reverse the course and limit the number of participants. This decision was accepted by the authorities and meant two things for the runners:

  • limited participation,
  • running down the hill.

Was this easier? The course is more or less flat. Except for the final climb which now became the initial steep downhill. In the end, there were 900 meters of running downhill. A lot and not easy at all.

Our day started at 6 am in Celje where the bus took us to the start. The ride was cosy and I managed to catch an additional nap. We arrived at the start at 7:30, left our stuff for the finish area on the bus, and prepared for the journey. Nine women and 13 men ultramarathoners, prepared to our best.

It was a fresh morning with around 10 degrees and at 1000 meters above sea level. The valley was still in the shadows when we started yet the day promised to be hot when the sun came over the mountain ridges.

The first part of the run that we began at 8 am was probably the hardest. The drop here was the steepest and we were practically breaking our run downhill. At least those who didn't want to sprint ahead.

After good seven kilometres, we reached the entrance of the valley. This was in previous years the point where you realised you have done it. Now, it was just the beginning of a long day.

Was I prepared for the run? Yes and no. Yes, because I had it in my experience and in my head. Not, because I took a two-month long rest without any special long-distance training. Anyway, I was certain that I was able to finish the run. The goal was to reach Celje with a smile on my face.

The idea was to run for fifteen minutes, then make a minute or two-long walk break. I followed this pattern most of the time.

The start was too quick, of course. You can't run slow when the road is dropping down under your feet. Then I tried to continue with a sub-six-pace because it was fun. For then kilometres, I even shared the conversational pace with a fellow runner from South Africa. It was a great chat we had.

Then he moved on and I was left with nobody else but the voices in my head to keep me company.

To be honest, you can't run long runs if you don't like yourself.

The course offered almost every treat. Asphalt, gravel, meadows, and single trails along the River Savinja which we followed more or less closely throughout the day. Some stretches were new to me while most parts were old friends that I loved to revisit.

The kilometres and the refreshment stations came and went. The sun came out and stayed up. It was hot. The hardest part was the middle third of the race. There it is flat and open on long asphalt straights. No wind, no clouds, no nothing. Just sun and heat and search for water when you wandered why the refreshment stations are set so far away. They weren't. It was just a feeling, of course.

A part of the reason, or excuse, why it took me more than eight hours to finish the run, were the volunteers. I knew almost everybody. I stopped, they greeted me enthusiastically - thank you very very much - and we talked and talked. I was grateful for the opportunity to rest and soak in their encouragement. They were simply happy to see me there and even happier to see me move on at a brisk pace. Was it a show for them? No, it was sincere gratitude.

When the final stretch, the last 20 kilometres or so, came I was running at a better pace, surprisingly. The fatigue of long descent and scorching sun was behind me. My pace, still with walking breaks, was even around 5:20. Amazing.

The only question that bugged me was how long is actually this run. In the end, my watch told me that I travelled almost 78 kilometres. More than advertised, great.

I crossed the finish line in 8 hours and 23 minutes, tired, satisfied, and happy.

No big celebrations, I simply sat on the bench in the shade, drank a bottle of water, and waited for the body to cool down. Then I took the massage: just the back since it was extremely tight because of the forced posture throughout the day. It felt good.

After that, it was time for pasta. Then the group of organizers came to the finish area tent and I joined them to talk about the day. A lot of clever suggestions were voiced, some critiques too, many great ideas, and beer was there too. Finally, it was time to leave.

Will I be back next year? Yes, I will. After all, it's the journey that counts and this run, more than a race, was a beautiful journey with lots of kind people along the way.

I apologize that there are not many photos. I only took them while on walk breaks.

Official results
Facebook page

Run info

The route

Elevation profile, effort

Finisher medal, bib number, certificate

Boo :)

better and better
:ervin :lemark


Kudos Ervin!! I have also run a few trail running half-marathons, but almost 80 km ever! I love non-competitive athletes in general and when I read that you stopped and talked to almost all the volunteers, I thought this is definitely mine! Good morning!


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