Race: Bieg 7 Dolin 64k (7 valleys ultra 64k)
Runner: Dave S
Location: Southern Poland
8:24, and first place American! (I was the only american in the race though…)
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
This was my first European race, and I loved it! They make a big deal out of their ultras, and this was no exception. The race is part of the annual Polish running festival held in Krynica-Zdroj, a spa town in Southern Poland. The event is a full 3 days with tons of racing. Everything from one mile races, to road marathons, to a 100k ultra. They even have something called the “iron run” in which you compete in 3 races per day for all three days of the event, for a total of 9 races, including the 64k and road marathon. Many people didn’t speak english, so it was interesting trying to figure out what to do and where to be. I also loved the fact that some of the race runs directly along the border with Slovakia.
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
There seemed to be endless running on concrete road pavers with big holes in them… think of a tic tac toe board. I had to concentrate so I didn’t twist an ankle!
Krynica-Zdroj offers spring water with different types and concentrations of minerals to help with different health ailments. I tried a few, and they went from ok to down right disgusting!
Also, the trail race has 100k, 64k, 36k, 17k, and 10k options. It’s all along one big 100k loop, and the races have a staggered start so that each shorter distance starts about the time the longer races make it to them, so you always have fresh runners around.
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
Considering I was recovering from the Fat Dog 120 I feel really good about my performance here. I finished strong and passed a ton of people in the final miles of the race.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
You can skip the mandatory race briefing. It’s all in Polish, and for those that could understand it didn’t appear they got much out of it.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Bring some good trail shoes! I was trying to pack light and only had road shoes with me. The trail was pretty technical in sections, and was muddy and slippery in others.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Prepare for steep climbs and punishing descents!
Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
Yes, beautiful southern Poland!
Difficulty – is it a tough course
This was a tough course, with steep climbs, technical descents, and muddy sections. There was 10k of elevation gain over the 40 miles.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This is very well run event! They even had race specific medals and shirts for all the different races!
Competition – is there a strong field?
This has serious competition with many Salomon and other sponsored runners.
Nothing too special, except that I had a hard time figuring out how to register in English. They don’t seem to sell out, so I didn’t have a problem registering in person the day before the race. I used Google translate to figure out what I was signing!
Well run aid stations, but don’t expect the same variety of food we have at ultras in the US. Choices were oranges, bananas, water, and sport drink.
Weather and typical race conditions –
I enjoyed weather in the starting around 70 and climbing to around 90 with clear, sunny skies. I understand this is warmer than typical for this time of year.
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Bring trail shoes with good traction!
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
Yes, spectators can get to multiple points along the course easily by car. Also, the Polish people were very nice and in residential areas would have buckets of water outside their homes with sponges for you to cool off or refill.
There are some great awards, but with such stiff competition it would be hard to win anything.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it