My friends invited me to run IX Ultramaraton Zielonogórski Nowe Granice with them, it was quite a special ultramarathon for me because it was my first flat ultramarathon. I don’t count the 24 hour race. I’m used to mountainous ultramarathons where it’s difficult and often not worth running in all places. Flat ultra is different because it’s expected to run all the time, there are no mountains to hike.
As I planned, I didn’t go to this race to compete or to qualify for something, I was more of a social race and kind of long run, I didn’t want to push. My average heart rate during this race was 110. So, the whole race I did with Gosia and Mirek. We splitted up for some time but in general we were running together. There was also Marek who was supporting us in the last kilometers on the bike.
My first thoughts about the race were skeptical, I saw the website and it was hard to navigate. Required equipment was weird, we had to have a reflective vest but we didn’t have to have a space blanket.
However, during the race day I found I was wrong about race organization.
Start line was prepared perfectly, there were flares and music, check the video to see how it looked.
The whole route was marked perfectelly, on each turn there were additional signs and on each road crossing there were policemen to stop the car traffic and help us cross the road. I think we crossed the street around 10 times and everytime it was effortless.
Related to trail, I had a first time track with saved checkpoints and this track was provided by the organizer and I was surprised that I was extremely correct. I expected that the checkpoint in my watch and the real checkpoint would be mismatched by a kilometer or two as always but this time there was a 20m error. That was something I never experienced in the mountain race.
In each checkpoint there were awesome people, there were volunteers helping runners and there was always someone with medical help. There were 5 checkpoints and on each of them there was someone. The funniest were guys in the car closing the race, we met them around 7 times during the race.
For me, there are two important factors for the race, how well the trail is marked and food on checkpoints. Trail was marked well, but at checkpoints I took only water without any sweets or fruits.
There was my favourite weather – constantly changing. During the start, it was cloudy, after that it was sunny, suddenly it was heavy rain and again sun. Heavy rain came to us 3 times but it was always only for a short period of time. There was even hail once. Only heavy fog was missing :).
At the finish line, we received a long-sleeve t-shirt which I didn’t expect and each runner was greeted with the name because there was special checkpoint 900 meters before finish line to read runners’ numbers. After the race I ate something from the organizer and I have to say it was delicious.
Overall, it was a great weekend to go to Zielona Góra to run that 100km race. Before, I was thinking that I won’t go there anymore but after checking how well it was prepared I think there are some chances I’ll be back there next year 🙂
The winner of this race ran 5:15 per kilometer and I think it was something doable even if there were places with sand and mud, but competing wasn’t the goal for that race.