Somewhere in July, after a few mountain ultras, I found out that there will be a 24-hour-race in Poland at the end of August. I thought about this kind of race in the past. Yet, in previous years, I fouced on mountain races like CCC or JURA 200. This summer, I decided it would be a great experience to do something new. The extra thing was information that during this race there will be a Polish championship in 24-hour-race, so it’s great to compare with the best.
I didn’t take part in championships because I don’t have a license but it doesn’t change anything, I was running with people who do take part.
The name of the race was UltraPark Weekend 2021, during this event Aleksandr Sorokin set a world record running 309,399 km. I can confirm, he ran fast 🙂
As it was my first time during such an event I needed to find some information on what to expect so I read some blog posts and talked with a friend, Karol, who does this type of races. He gave me a lot of useful information. I was lucky because he also was going to do this race.
I knew that I can’t start too fast. The initial feeling that it’s easy can be tricky. I started slowly, around 11/12 minutes per lap. Each lap was around 1700 meters.
My goal was to do at least 180km as it’s one of the requirements for Spartathlon.
After 4 hours, I felt great, I did the quarter of the goal, I didn’t run too fast and I felt I could reach my goal easily. However, I started feeling something near Achilles and of course, as each runner, I thought it’d go away… it didn’t.
After the next two or three hours, it hurt more and more, and I decided to go to the medical point. They did an awesome job and I could run, it hurt but less and I could run at least.
Around the ninth hour of the race, I was in the middle of my goal, I did the 50th lap. The next two hours were quite fine but I felt I needed at least 20 minutes of rest so I laid down on the bench as always. These 20 minutes were crucial. They gave me a lot of energy and I felt the next hours will pass fast and reaching the goal is real. Unfortunately, Achilles said something different.
I couldn’t run and I barely walked, it took me around 40 minutes to do one single lap… 40 minutes per lap? I could spend 12 minutes but not 40. I managed to do 3 more laps and during one of them I was talking with Karol and I had a hope that it’d go away but it didn’t.
After 14h and 98km, I found I won’t manage to do the rest and I need to stop because this injury can be more serious.
I think it’s the most important thing in this type of race. You don’t need to wear anything with you because you need your support a few times per hour. The important thing is that support needs to work almost all the time, in each lap you need something, once you need water, once isotonic, once some food, once other food, again water, this time water and something to eat. Even if they need to prepare something in 10-minute intervals and then they don’t need to do anything, it takes energy, especially when they need to do it for the whole day.
It’s the same as I found on the Badwater page, support won’t win the race for you but it can make you lose, after this event, I’m sure it’s true.
Eating and drinking
In this race, support could give things only in the selected area, so if I wanted to continue running or walking my support had to keep my peace. Mamy top runners didn’t stop at all, they were running all the time via the support area so they had to grab things and run or their supporters ran with them. It’s important to keep it in mind because in mountain races there are more stops in checkpoints.
During the research, I found it can be a waste of time to spend time on sleep or rest if you want to do great results. My initial plan was to spend no time on sleeping but after these 20 minutes of sleeping and rest, I felt much better. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad, you need to check how your body works and what’s best for you.
What’s the most popular legal doping? It’s the music, of course, many people were listening to music during the race. In the end, I was also listening to it and it boosts energy. It’s different than in a trial because in the mountains it’s better to be aware of what’s going on around you but when you do small laps you can blindly run forward.
I didn’t finish this race but I learned something new. I think it was very important because Badwater135 is also on asphalt so I need to do more races like it to be prepared for everything. Ultras on asphalt are different from marathons and if you’re going to do your first 24-hour race, consider do it as a test. I didn’t treat it as a test and it was a mistake.