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Ultra Trail Stara Planina

01-Jun-2018 Babin zub, Knjazevac, Serbia

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Trail Race Race Terrain
108KM / 67Miles
2 Days - 300 Runners

Alternate Distances: 57KM/35M 24KM/15M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Advanced  

Entry From €35 EUR

Ultra trail Stara Planina is known as one of the most beautiful and wildest races of the south-eastern Europe.

The race, which was called over  time "ultra juniper" by competitors (named after unbelievable fields of this curative evergreen plant) represents a real pearl for true fans of untouched trails above 2.000 metres above sea level.

The trail goes mostly throughout the narrow goat tracks between Serbia and Bulgaria, by the borderline road which was closed for people for more than one century. Only army could use that road so the nature remained untouched and primordial.

There are countless water sources at high altitude on the mystical and the longest ridge of Balkan.

Competitors must be aware that they have to be independent, on the trail there is only one village that doesn't even have 50 inhabitants, everything still looks like it was in the nineteenth century.

Terms and conditions are such that we do not want a big number of runners, the goal is that the athletes can enjoy the race without classical outdoor equipment trade at the start point and in absence of crowds and audience.

GPS is recommended; the markings are such that some level of orientation is required (at least of the longer distance).

This year we organise the fifth edition of the race, there are three distances (24, 57 and 108km) and registration is open until April 27th.

The race is open for amateurs and elite, it counts for the UTMB and this is the toughest trail race in Serbia.

In the past years we had mostly 10-15 nations in the competition.

The Serbian Ministry of Sport decided that this is an event of importance to the State when it comes to mountain sports and nature parks under protection.


 

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Event Organiser
Marko Nikolic

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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.

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mgpolitis@gmail.com

05:41 07-04-16

Ultra trail Stara Planina 2015, 122km
And the cherry in the pie, an ultra nice video recap of the race, again, thank you Marko and everyone involved in making it happen! https://vimeo.com/133013384
Ultra Kleka! Many thanks Marko Nikolic for setting a unique adventure in Stara Planina range and exactly under the old woman's ***** (Babin Zub). I must admit that you have a penchant for funky names in Serbia ;) Ultra Trail Stara Planina is a 122km & 5500m of climb adventure that is on a different scale from anything else. Most of the race is off-path, running over the trademark Kleka, a short bushy cypress type of tree that grows everywhere in the area and in general going over whatever nature throws at you. The course is not marked for trail running, just outlined with trail marking and some signs here and there in critical crossroads. You have to know the course, navigate a map or as in my case just have a gps with you and have memorized the course description. You can get lost very easily especially at night but with proper attention it is actually not very hard to navigate. There are trite connecting sections of dirt roads and bike paths and even a scenic old abandoned backcountry dirt road that runs along a ridge, of family fun walk type. But, the essence is a relentless hike along the border of Serbia with Bulgaria that ultimately takes you to the very interesting old village of Dojkinci, a real snapshot from the past and a pitty we had little time to appreciate. From there starts the bike path and nice scenic family trail part but the ending is quite a treat with an excruciating 16km descent to Topli Do (112km) over dirt road that is part creek part road and although inviting to run it is technical enough to keep you honest and on your toes. To top it off the last 8km will have you climb back to Babin Zub from ~750m to 1550m. This comes straight into the second night in the trails, as the race start at midnight and takes fast guys about 17 hours but for the back-of-the-pack like me it was all over in 25 and a half hours, at 01:30. A race with character, very demanding in total wilderness with a group of what looks like very dedicated followers.

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