Skakavac Trail Run

Life is louder than its pulse. -Anthony Marra

Skakavac 34.5km Trail Run

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Race Report

2017 vs. 2018

What went wrong last year:

My previous experience running Skakavac Trail  is in contrast to this year. Last year, there was a blizzard on the morning of race day in what was an unfamiliar country and terrain, along with my first experience with winter in seven years. I had just arrived from Thailand. To the mountains. In the snow. In Europe. No beaches or 100 degree weather, which is a different kind of combat. It was rough. The markings were either blown away or covered in snow, and again, I did not know these mountains well enough to navigate. My phone had 3% left when I called my husband to tell him I was lost. Search and rescue was getting ready to look for me when I found the next aid station myself. When the trail lost elevation, the snow had melted, leaving behind runoff that resulted in a muddy, slippery, steep mountain to get down.

It did make me feel a little better to hear that local Bosnians also got terribly lost–that it wasn’t just a confused foreigner in a strange land, but in fact the extreme, unexpected conditions.

I finished in 7.5 hours.

I don’t have any pictures of the actual snow storm portion, nor did I bother to take pictures while sliding down the muddy hillside, for obvious reasons. There were a few clear moments where I could stop to catch my breath and capture some of the beauty.

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How it went better this year:

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In the months since we first arrived, we have hiked many of the popular trails around Sarajevo. Geographically, I was able to figure out where I was nearly the entire race. They provided a GPX file this year, which made me feel better prepared. I carried a backup charger in case my phone battery died due to the cold. Luckily, the weather was not nearly as severe. They moved the race up two weeks to mitigate surprise snow storms. However, there had been snow in the mountains just a few days prior to the race, so really, the mountains are simply unpredictable here. The organizers made huge improvements with the markings by using wooden signs that were hammered into the ground, making the trail much easier to follow.

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Logistically, it was a bit more difficult this year. My husband left on an overnight trip with the secondary students, so I organized our babysitter to take care of the kids. Then, a friend drove me up the mountain to the start. While I ran the race, my husband returned from his trip, so he was able to meet me at the finish. I texted him selfies (see below) as the run progressed.

All’s well that ends well.

Progression of selfies

Trail life

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People have asked me how I felt after I finished or what was the best part. My son bombarding me with a hug and “MOOOOooom!!!” You did it!!!” was without a doubt, the best part. This is me seeing his face and incoming hug.

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I legit have an awesome family. Lady H used my broken body as a jungle gym while we waited around for the award ceremony, ate food, and drank much earned beers.

I was shattered and rebuilt in the 5 hours, 17 minutes it took me to finish.

Which is the reason why I run.

The only races that disappoint me are ones where I didn’t cross the finish line a little better than when I started.

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2nd place female finish!

Pretty nice prizes! A bottle of wine, a second place medal, a nice travel bag, and 100 km ($60 usd) to U.S. Polo Assn.

It is an unforgiving, brutal, and beautiful course. See you in 2019 Skakavac Trail.

Happy trails and stay rad, my friends!

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Dirk Petersilie: International Trailrunner

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I met Dirk when we were in the middle of the Bucegi Mountains, running 50k through Transylvania, Romania. We became running buddies after leapfrogging on the trail for a while. As you can imagine, it was a difficult race–it was nice to have someone to chat with and help decide the best place to cross a flowing river. One of the best aspects of doing these travel races is meeting interesting people from around the world. Dirk is from Germany and I quickly realized he was a fellow world travel runner. After talking with him, he has certainly inspired me to get to Germany for some ultras, along with some other races around the world.

Hear a bit about him and his running and traveling life below.

1. How long have you been running? Since 1999 – First marathon was in 2001.

2. What is the longest distance you have run? 100km Biel, in Switzerland

3. Trail or road? Why? I prefer trail! The best combination would be trail AND mountains. I enjoy it because it is not the same pace during the whole distance, better landscape, and better for the mind and body!

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4. What has been your favorite race so far? I have done 53 marathons an 15 ultras, so I have some favorites. A few of them would be the Swiss Alpine Davos and the Virgin Marathon in Interlaken, both of which are mountain runs in Swiss Alps.  The Transylvania 50k in Romania was nice, but very hard, as you know 😉 Desert Marathon in Morocco!

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5. As a fellow traveling runner, what are some travel races you would suggest others to venture out and take on? All runs in the Swiss Alps. Transylvania100 for different tracks. Desert runs in Morocco are nice too! The Netherlands and Belgium have some nice trails, from marathon to ultra. Here in Germany we have the Zugspitz UltraTrail with some different courses. Also, the Helgoland Marathon on the island farthest from the mainland from Germany is very nice!

 

6. What is a race you would like to forget?  Getting Tough – The Race. It is the hardest obstacle race in Europe. After a bad illness in 2015, I did it 2016 for the 3rd time and it was my first DNF– 250 meters in front of the finish line.

7. What race are you training for currently? I train the whole year and “normal” marathons I can run whenever I want. Now I have no special focus. Maybe in the autumn some mountain runs somewhere or ultras in Germany or in the Netherlands.

8. What challenges have you come across with training? Nothing really–maybe sometimes the balancing act between family, running and my other sports.

 

9. The classic running question–why do you run? Running is a sport I can do every where, any time, and by myself. I don’t need a room, a hall, a court, a partner, or any special time to do it. I feel free during running and sometimes I have a lot time to think. I can travel to all over the world, put my shoes on, and I can run for sightseeing. When I participate in a race, I can meet and talk with new people.

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