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Fregona Trail Fest

07-Jul-2018 Fregona, Treviso, Italy

YOUR RATING

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2 REVIEWS
Mountains Race Race Terrain
85KM / 53Miles
1 Day

Alternate Distances: 45KM/28M 22KM/14M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Brutal  

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Review Fregona Trail Fest

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pano1968

07:54 18-12-17

We are standing full of excitement below the clock-tower in the city center.
The race-countdown can be heard in the background: in only very few seconds we will start to a 82k run, and 4600 meters of climb.
Fregona Trail Fest – our chosen annual (2017) challenge.
15 minutes later, we're already running in the pouring rain, which consistently gets stronger without recess during the race's first five hours; in addition, fog turns our head-flashlights into a restriction rather than a help followed by lightning, which leads to stress, on a track that had turned into mud dough.
This was the beginning of an extraordinary experience comprised of running; mental and physical uplifting; friendship.
Our "Pano Run Ultra" delegation this year included nine members: six for the long track (82k, 4600 meters ascent) and three for the intermediate track (45k, 2400 meters ascent).
I had been searching for a trail race being held in July, not too packed but already well-established for a few years, with few different distance-heats (from 40 to 100k), and including significant climb but not consecutive (enabling as much as possible similar local conditions while training here in Israel) plus a breathtaking landscape as a bonus.
Fregona Trail Fest fulfilled all these criteria: the long track included 84 km, 3300 meters ascent; with two additional tracks of 45km, 2200 meters ascent and 22km track with 1600 meters ascent. In January, right after the registration had opened, we signed up. Soon afterwards the race organizers updated the ascent profile to 3800 meters and shortly afterwards to 4600 meters. The intermediate track was updated as well and its ascent profile was now increased to 2400 meters of climb.
Theses height changes led to various uncertainties regarding the choice of this race as a target, however after many thoughts and hesitations, I decided not to change our destination and to trust my gut-feeling and the team's ability to stick to the training plan and eventually also to the target, becoming much more meaningful. The new training program was constantly updated to match the new target; which included 30% additional climb for the long track, and 10% for the intermediate one, in comparison to the original program.
Another challenge in our training was combining the ascent and the long distance running – accumulating heights throughout the weekend run was instead of achieving long distances and therefore, there was a need to combine also training in relatively moderate path trail, without meaningful climb, in order to accumulate enough kilometers and so to experience the effect of long distance run. Over the course of the training, a few "highlights " happened; such as the Southern Israel training camp; participation in M2V (Mountain to Valley) relay race (where we had to adjust the different running sections to our specific needs); climbing run at the Manara Cliff (Kiryat Shmona, North Israel, 750 meters) and last training in Mount Hermon, Israel's highest point, which included a simulation with quite similar conditions to those expected in the Italy race: with a running start at night; an early dinner before (the long heat started at 23:00 PM and included a long night run with head flashlights plus special sleeping and food arrangements).
We arrived in Italy with mixed feelings: on the one hand, I knew that we had done a thorough preparation, we knew the track very well, we had worked hard and precisely according to the expected and ascents -descents inclines. The group became wonderfully united, a strong and serious team, and I whole-hearted believed in the ability of each of them to complete this mission. On the other hand, it was a huge challenge, much bigger than the original plan, a tough race where anything could happen (in the runultra web site the race was rated as "brutal" which is the highest rate, reserved for extra-challenge races – information which I kept for myself and didn't share with the others until the end of the race…)
These feelings accompanied me all the way to the starting line. Like every race of this scope, both the excitement as well as the stress level was very strong (otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it…).
My concern and will to see all our team members accomplish this mission was in front of my eyes from the very beginning, before and during the race, and when extremely harsh weather was added to this equation, the conditions became almost impossible, and my concern was further intensified, in direct relation to the level.
We wasted precious time and energy to overcome the muddy track and the puddles along it, plus a 4km route mistake had its share. From the very beginning, we had to invest our supreme efforts in order to accomplish this mission, but now I was worried that these new conditions wouldn’t enable all of us to finish the race. I was afraid that Natalie and Dan wouldn’t be able to make it on time; I was afraid that Shai, who confronted me with a difficult dilemma and asked me while we were running together to run ahead and leave him behind to carry on alone on his own pace, will submit to his own personal crisis and quit; I was afraid that the bladder would determine Yaniv and would force him to stop, and I didn’t know how Vadim was doing and three other member who started the 45km heat that morning. During the second half of the race, I kept wording my consolation sentences to those who dropped out along the way, and tried, without much success however, to convince myself, that despite everything, everybody was fine.
After what felt like an eternity (18 hours, 3 more than the original forecast thanks to the rain and to the mistake we made) I reached the finish line, together with Yaniv. The first thing I did (after my traditional Finish jump…see photo below) was to check who from our team was already at the finish site. I was happy to see Eyal, Martin, and Yoav who all completed the intermediate heat successfully, and Vadim who did the long heat and arrived shortly before us. That meant that Shai, Dan and Natalie were still part of the game. The organizers, who were wonderful from the moment we were registered, noticed our concern and rushed to check with their staff on the track, informing us what the status of the others was. They approved that they were running ahead and that everything was OK. Shai arrived not much after us, so we all were concerned regarding Natalie and Dan's cut-off, and they made it just on time, 25 minutes before the cut-off, receiving the most exciting reception I've ever experienced throughout my entire career, both as a runner as well as a coach: the organizers themselves, performing an amazing gesture, stood in two opposite rows at the finish line and received Natalie and Dan as if they were for a short moment inseparable part of us. They were excited, happy and cried as if they were part of the Israeli delegation.

Another successful journey ended. We had started already in the beginning of January, went through hundred of hours together, thousands kilometers and countless ascents, gained so many shared experiences, made new friends, were excited with each other and for each other.
Fregona Trail Fest was a remarkable journey for those who were there; an extremely strong experience. For me it was an unusual physical as well as a mental experience of elevation, of a wonderful group I had the honor to train and guide towards a very challenging target.
I wish to thank all those who took part in this exceptional journey and contributed to its successful accomplishment: Natalie, Yoav, Martin, Eyal, Dan, Yaniv, Shai, and Vadim.
And like every year: we're already looking forward to our next big challenge…
"Pano Run" index for race evaluation: (scale 1-5: 1-Poor; 5-Excellent)
Refreshing Points – 4
Food in Stations – 4
Track indication – 5
Organizing Staff – 5
Start & Finish area – 4

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pano1968

10:30 07-08-17

highly recommended for those who are looking for a real ultra trail race, including challenging climbs, good people, and a wonderful running atmosphere

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