Tempo  2 ore 11 minuti

Coordinate 1686

Caricato 29 luglio 2014

Recorded luglio 2014

1.061 m
700 m
19,26 km

Visto 2112 volte, scaricato 28 volte

vicino Kípoi, Epirus (Greece)

The North Face Zagori Mountain Running 2014 - Half Marathon 21k +1100m race. It was my second trail running race after June's Metsovo run. Very similar distance and elevation gain as previously. Zagori is probably the most beautiful part of Greece (at least for me is) and running here is just awesome!
The whole event held 4 races: 80k & 42k on Saturday, 21k & 10k on Sunday.

0,0k at 760m - Kopoi / Start. The start of 21k race was from main square of village Kipoi ("The Gardens"), where the race would also finish after completing full loop. From about 6:30AM people started to arrive and warming up. I had my hotel in next village Koukouli and used the distance of about 2.5k for my warmup. This way I avoided short drive and parking problems in Kipoi. Also, my warmup was exactly the last 2.5k of the race and I did some recon on how the race will finish :-D
It was about 400 runners and we all packed quite heavy on the square before finally being set off. After quick right-left turns route followed asphalt for about 300m before turning right down to the dirt road to cross first traditional stone bridge on it's way. From there on, route entered narrow forrest path to continue with it for next 3k or so. Lots of short steep climbs and then even shorter descents in this section. I managed to move forward at the beginning and kept pushing really hard! At about 2nd kilometer I even thought that maybe I pushed too hard as my legs already felt some fatigue (only 2k!!! into the race), my breath was getting too short and my HR was hitting 175! I tried to settle things down on one of longer descents just before crossing asphalt at 3.5th km, but still was struggling to find my rhythm :-/

3,5k at 750m - Gefura tou Arkoudi (Captain Bear Bridge). After crossing asphalt and tiny stone bridge, route started to ascent to the forest. Even though I was probably able to run this climb, I decided to let it go a bit and power hike to ballance things and get some strenghts. Surprizingly I was not the only one :-P and most of athletes at this point decided to abandon running cadence. I was passed by few but didnt pay attention to my current position and rather to calm my HR a bit more. This way (mostly hiking and very little running) I got to and passed Dilofo village. It had a water station (4,8k) there but it was early in the race and my supplies were just fine to skip this one.
After the village I managed to find a slow running tempo fitting my strenghts and slope :-D until relaxing descent. Then again ascent / descent part until the river (dry in the summer). Every kilometer I was feeling better and started to find my rhythm.

7,8k at 710m - Skaka tis Vitsas (Steps of Vitsa). The biggest climb of the race, both elevation and distance wise. It was somewhere on the edge of my limits to run it. But I could probably run it only as separate section and not it the race, not after already dieing and just recovering :-D Anyway, knowing it's not 10k but 20k race, I again took it fairly easy / moderate: 70% hiking / 30% running all the way up to the village. Higher part of climb got out of the forest and heat started to play it's role :-/ Managing well my water I got to the water station almost empty :-P

9,4k at 940m - Vitsa / Water station. With fair effort getting up here, I took it easy at the station. Stopped, got my bottle refilled, drunk full cup myself and threw another one on my steaming head :-D and I was good to go (about 60-90sec all together).
From here, route followed mainly asphalt (which really sucked) all the way up to next village of Monodendri. Zero fun, zero technical, zero shadow - sucks, sucks, sucks! Anyway, I kept running cadence as the grade was pretty easy.

11,4k at 1050m - Monodendri / Food station. I passed this one as I had full tank and was not planning on eating anything anyway. This way I passed at least 5-6 runners who did stop to refresh. After short light ascent after the village, there was huge fun downhill waiting for me! All the way down from Monodendri to the bottom of the gorge, about 350m of elevation drop in something like 1,5k!! It went great! Both fast and save and felt almost effortless! Down at the bottom I felt like new, I found my rhythm, my HR dropped to something like 155 and I was ready to finish the race in nice manner :-D All that also gave me huge confidence boost - something I really needed at that point.

13,0k at 700m - Riverbed. For next 2k or so, the route passed literly through the riverbed, of course dry at the time. It was fairly flat section but not fast at all! I was not running, I was more like jumping from one stone to another, and felt like going really slow! But, not only no one passed me, I did pass two guys! Which meant I was doing pretty good on this unusuall surface :-D A little on the stones, a little through forest path, through the stone bridge and I got to the bottom of Steps of Koukoulion (last big ascent of the race).

15,2k at 730m - Skala Koukouli (Steps of Koukoulion). Same dilema again: run or hike. Again on the limit of my abilities. But fatigue did it's job :-P went on with hike, pretty fast one but still hike. I decided to give it up and later push the limits on final 2-3k with descent, just to let go my legs with all I'll have there. Pushing hard with hiking I got passed by two runners but did not pay attention into it too much.

16,9k at 880m - Koukoulion / Food station. Finally I got to the village, the climb was gone :-D At the station I refilled my bottle, drunk one cup of coke, ate piece of watermelon (nice combo ehh?), got my legs working again and was ready to push with final section. First about 600m on the asphalt and then full speed with descent through forest path (the one I got to know during morning warm-up :-D). It went awesome again on the descent! My legs were still fresh enough, my quads got serious pounding and took it very well. Not only I passed previous two runners but also another one and before I got to final stratch in Kipoi, I had very comfortable advantage :-D

~20k at 760m - Kipoi / Finish line. I did last few houndred meters in the village on asphalt very easy to enter finish line on very desent 14th overall position :-D

My official time was 2:10:32, something about 20min behind the winner but who cares :-P Awesome race!
I would mark the route as difficult mainly for the elevation and distance, but also heat and surface didnt make it any easier.
I uploaded some photos from my friends taking them during the run.

Start / Finish


Bridge of Captain Bear


Dilofo / Food Station


Skala tis Vitsas


Vitsa / Food Station


Monodendri / Food Station


Voisomatis river


Missiou bridge


Steps of Koukouli


Koukoulion / Food Station


Forest Path


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