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Spirit of the Balkans- Tryavna Ultra 2021

It is 3 a.m., I look up and force myself to get out of bed.  Margo will be at our house in half an hour and I have little time to prepare. I wake up Attila and we started getting ready.

It is very cold outside. I am amazed by such weather in Tryavna, for the first time in recent days I enjoyed the cold. I would like to go back home, but then I remember that about 500 people now, at night, running on the trails in the mountains and What I thought was a shame because of that. I was lucky this year, and with my friends, I found myself in the organizing group of Tryavna Ultra.

Tryavna Ultra is one of the biggest ultramarathon races in Bulgaria. It is held every year in July in the region around Tryavna. Runners from different countries of the world take part. The longest race is 141 km long with 5840 m of elevation gain. Two additional courses are available – 76 km with 2820 m of elevation gain and 23 km with 706 m. The route of the long-distance runs through the heart of the Balkan cultural heritage – architectural park Bozhentsi, an attractive place for tourists from around the world, through beautiful woodlands in eco-park Bulgarian woman, through three municipalities and dozens of picturesque villages.

Our checkpoint location is a part of the Central Balkan National Park. We are already on the spot at 4 am and we are starting to prepare food and water for the marathon participants. The place is very beautiful- there is a small village lost in the mountains with lots of old and elegant houses. Overall I think from my recent trips Tryavna is one of the most beautiful cities in Bulgaria. It has very traditional architectural details and a distinctive spirit. It was still not well past dawn when the first runner of the marathon appeared. He looked tired but did not stop for long. He marked his number and followed the path. He became the champion of distance 141 km- Georgi Pehlev with a time of 21H 56min.

An influx of volunteers started arriving after 9 am. Despite the heat, they continued on their way. We cheered and applauded them. It was nice to see so many brave people running non-stop for several hundred kilometers. Some of them had injured legs and arms. We helped fill the water, we supplied food and medicine.

I was very proud when lots of women participated in the marathon regardless of their age. At the end of the day, Boryana Nikolcheva was the first woman at 141 km with a time of 24 h 16 min. I saw the positive energy of so many and colorful people from all over the world at one small geographic point of the globe. I felt that when a person can live in harmony with nature nothing is impossible.

This day was very special for me- I met local people, experienced many emotions, and came home very tired.

Tryavna Ultra 2021 is over, but the emotion will continue to echo for a long time in the minds and hearts of all who were part of the adventure- organizers, partners, participants, volunteers, friends, relatives.

Tamar Chkhikvadze

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