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near Nikiána, Ionian Islands (Greece)
Lefkas Trail Running, 22km with 1200m elevation gain. First edition of trail race in Lefkada. Awesome and difficult route, great weather, great views and very very good run for me :-D
0,0k at 0m - Port of Nikiana. Start of the race from the port of village Nikiana. First about 1.5k on asphalt with moderate grade.
1,3k at 65m - Out of asphalt. Onto dirt roads for a while and then few hundred meters on asphalt again. Still moderate grade with even some descent just before hitting the trails.
3,0k at 150m - 1st station and onto the trail. First station on the bend of the dirt road (where small and big races took apart) and few hundred meters later right up onto the real trail with vertical coming very soon after. This was the defining part of the race with the most effort and most climb. Very nice but difficult path, full of stones in upper part. Awesome views! Huge effort (HR jumping to 175!)
4,7k at 550m - end of vertical. Finally!! End of climb didnt mean end of difficult section though... still narrow path full of stones and dangerous descent to sencond station.
5,1k at 550m - 2nd station. Refilled by bottle and ate banana. Continueing with difficult narrow path and some ascent until ruins of old church. From there, technical and fast descent all the way to Kolivata starts. ~2k of real fun run! Enjoyed it a lot!
7,6k at 420m - Kolivata, 3rd station. I skipped this one since I have more than half full bottle and didnt feel like having anything to eat. Route leaves the village with a bit loose rocks narrow path, then a bit of mud, then borring dirt road to finally enter deep oak forest - absolutely the best section of the race! Fairly wide path leads between the trees with cover so dense that You feel like running in the tunnel! Very fast and awesome section for about 1k! until 4th station at "Red Church".
10,1k at 330m - "The red church", 4th station. I refilled by bottle again and grabbed two pieces of banana. After what was the best part of the race, came the worst :-/ 3km on dead borring dirt road with constant ~10% incline - dissaster! But... this is exactly where I did fairly good job and managed to overtake two runners and catch up to third one! just before leaving dirt road for a 500m climb with a path to Skaros peak.
14,0k at 630m - Skaros peak, 5th station. Only grabbed glass of water and left the station together with other runner that I just caught. Again section with dirt road, but not so long and with descent :-P After 800m out of the road into very technical trail with some steep climb (last of the race). Route not so vissible and we both had problems to follow it. Finally back on dirt road to meet 6th station, the very same as 2nd one.
16,6k at 550m - 6th station (same as 2nd one). Standard routine - water and banana to start veru short climb and later downhill with vertical. Pretty difficult and dangerous. My co-runner seemed like doing better job so I let him pass me and continued with my own tempo (much slower). Even though, I was surprized to loose him out of my sight so fast ?!
18,9k at 130m - 7th station (same as 1st one). End of vertical downhill and onto mix of asphalt and dirt roads all the way down to the village. I was still very surprized that I lost sight of runner in front of me... sthg was wrong :-P
20,4k at 0m - Running the beach. Last kilometer leads through the village and onto the beach - not fun when so tired! Fortunately very soon back in the port for the finish.
21,1k at 0m - Finish at the port. My time: 2:22:44 (~13min behind the winner) and rank 6th in general and category. Nice :-D And very soon later the mistery of my last co-runner was solved: he did not run out of my sight so quickly! he lost the route and finished 4min behind me! that's why I couldnt see him in front. Pitty, as he was obviously better than me... Anyway, this is another factor of mountain running vs road.
I mark it difficult as it had vertical climb (and downhill later), a lot of technical paths full of stones, mud and routes. Very nice race! I hope it will stay on calendar for good.
Since I finished 6th and all top ten was from same category, the first three runners took cups in general and 4th 5th and me for category, so I ended up bringing home a cup! Pretty cool :-D