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Crimea X-Run trail race: the winner’s impressions

26.10.2015Crimea X-Run trail race: the winner’s impressions

Событие: Crimea X Run 2015

Author: Marina Galkina

Translated by: Margarita Ukhanova

Event: Crimea X-Run

A few days ago a multisport athlete from Perm Konstantin Ivanov returned from Crimea, where a staged trail race Crimea X-Run took place from October 7 to October 10. It was the first event of such kind on the peninsula of the Black Sea: almost 140 kilometers with the altitude gain of 7000 meters. Kostya won the tight race by the sum of four days.

- Kostya, please share your fresh impressions. It was a tight competition. The second place is just 6 minutes away from you. How did the race go? How did you run? Which day seemed the most difficult? What is particularly memorable?

When I looked at the course profiles before the start I realized that everything would depend on the last day, it would be decisive: 42 km and a climb of 2500 m. The forth day was like a crown to the whole trail and  you should add fatigue to that. On the last day you could have easily won back 10-15 minutes or lost the lead. My predictions came true with a surprising accuracy. And now from the very beginning.

Day one: Balaklava – Cape Aya – Foros, 33 km, a total climb of 1,600 m; The highest track point is 630 m.

There were no easy days; the competition for prizes and seconds was fierce every day. The first day was marked by a late start (10 a.m.) from the embankment of Balaklava, uncomfortable temperature of +25 in the absence of clouds and quite rare flagging of the course. Everybody ran pretty fast from the start and already in 10 km three leaders started to increase distance with me going uphill again, but I did not get nervous and kept running with my pace.

I could see the third runner on the long uphill straight sections and in open areas and tried to get closer to him on the way down and on even sections of the trail. But nevertheless at one point I lost them out of sight, which upset me quite a bit, as I decently added on speed having adjusted to the heat. You can imagine my surprise when at the feeding station (20 km) I was told that I was in the lead, and after another 3 km intelligence reported that the breakaway between me and the second runner was seven minutes. All three guys missed the flagging and let me pass them. Now I had a goal - to keep the lead. I won this day by almost 6 minute margin with the second place. But it was a hard win, after the finish I was squeezed like a lemon; it probably took me about 15 minutes to feel quite myself again, drank a lot of water and poured it over my head.

Day Two: Foros – Merdven-Kaya – At-Bash – Simeiz, 30 km, a total climb of 1,300 m, the highest track point is 1,100 m.

The second day was a fun one: beautiful scenery, flat climbs, comfortable temperature of about 10 degrees.

Virtually the entire course we ran in a group of 6-7 people, talked; for the most part surprisingly no one seemed to rush. Apparently everyone had enough on the first day and were holding back to go strong in the last days.

The turning point was 3-4 km to the finish line on the last feeding station. Without spending any extra time there, four of us (Rusin, Opalev, Levchenko and I) accelerated and rushed to the finish line (there was just a descent left to the finish line). A couple kilometers before the finish Vladimir badly stumbled on a stone and injured a toe. That was minus one. The three of us came running on the pavement in Simeiz and Kirill Rusin won the final sprint. I was the third 4 seconds behind him. Nothing changed in the general score-sheet – I continued to lead.

Day Three: Simeiz – Mt. Shaan-Kaya – Mt. Ai-Petri – Uchan-Su waterfall – Yalta, 33 km; a total climb of 1,800 m, the highest track point is 1,200 m.

The third day was very interesting. Already in 5 km after the start again there were just four of us running together (Kirill, Oleg, Vladimir and I). Neither anyone wanted to lag behind, nor to speed up the events: the climb to Ai-Petri was ahead.

The way uphill went by a downhill track. On this ascent Kirill and Oleg showed their excellent mountaineering qualities. The foursome split up and each one struggled by himself with a pearl of Crimea – beautiful Ai-Petri.

At the top I learnt that Kirill was 4 minutes ahead, Oleg just 2and Vladimir is no more than 1-2 minutes behind. On the straights I could see Oleg’s back and "got" him already on the way down. So we run together up to the mark "1 km to the finish line". I made an attempt to outrun him. I came second to the finish line, losing almost 6 minutes to the leader. After some time, the Secretary of the competition announced that I had lost the lead in the general score-sheet (the protocol on the cumulative sum of all days – note by X-Race). The lag from Rusin was just two seconds, that’s fantastic! What will happen tomorrow ...

Day Four: Yalta – Iograf Ridge – Uch-Kosh Canyon – Sovetskoye settlement – Partizanskoye settlement – Gurzuf; 40 km, a total climb of 2,300 m, the highest track point is 1,440 m.

There is enormous pressure, although I keep in mind that Kirill is good at running uphill and today is clearly his type of course with such altitude gain. The first uphill we run in a large group. We have guys who run just one day with us, fresh forces. They are joking, talking and are overall happy to have been in the leading group for already an hour. I ask about their heart rate, it turns out to be 177, check mine – it is 144, everything becomes clear :)

On a steep downhill section four of us leave them behind and work in pairs: Levchenko - Opalev (there are three minutes between them in the general score-sheet and they compete for the third place) and Ivanov - Rusin (with two seconds between). On the descent the guys create some distance with us, but on the next uphill section we catch them up. Going up the steepest rise of the route near the 23th km our foursome splits apart: Oleg and Kirill go forward, I struggle to stay right  behind Vladimir. By the end of the mountain section the guys create some distance with me, but not a significant one, about 1-2 minutes. There are 12 km of straights and downhill sections left to the finish line. I run at my own pace, working on the descents the best I can. People on the route let me know that the leaders are close. Six kilometers to the finish line I pass Kirill (as it turned out, he had a problem  with his back), and that gave me so much energy that in the remaining 5 kilometers I outran Oleg and Vladimir by about 2 minutes, and Kirill by 6 minutes. Finish line, I won the day’s course and the entire trail! The running season is closed on a positive note.

The organizers did their best to make this All-Russian competition even better than European trail races. They assembled a team of professionals and organized a sport festival in the Crimea. It is a pity that there weren’t that many participants, but it’s an excellent foundation for the following years.


Director of the race Crimea X Run 2016, Ivan Petrov:

We have done it! We have turned the dream into reality! We would like to thank all the participants of the Crimea X Run for coming to the start, for friendly and sporty atmosphere, for bright emotions and the charge of energy that we got from your positive comments. Many thanks to everyone who took part in the organization process and all the volunteers - your help is invaluable. Everything is to be definitely continued, and our future plans include increasing the distance and the number of participants, altering the format and possibly the venue»,  the director of the race Crimea X Run 2015, Ivan Petrov said after the end of the event.


Photos by Konstantin Dikovsky, Marat Daminov, Anna Rogal are taken from http://crimeaxrun.com/

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