The magic of Cappadocia Ultra-Trail
An enchanting weekend in Cappadocia!
The meeting was set an hour away from Kaiseri, in the center of Turkey, in the heart of Cappadocia and its UNESCO world heritage sites.
The race director Koray welcomed the hundreds of runners in the cinema of Urgüp on the Friday at 6PM. One could feel the excitement in the eyes of everyone, local and international runners. The start is at 7AM on Saturday, with great weather forecast.
The big distance, 110k, is officially integrated to the Ultra-Trail® World Tour calendar this year. A normal recognition for an event, which is very well organized by a devoted local team. The course offers tracks in the heart of magical landscapes of this region.
After the briefing, in the cold night of Urgüp, hears and bodies of the hundreds of runners are warmed around a big buffet and campfires. The great disco classics are played by an inspired DJ. Everything is here to allow for meetings and sharing of experience a few hours before the start of a great adventure.
For the staff, this is also a short moment of peace in the middle of an intense event, before a crazy day on the tracks selected by the race director and his team. The runners do not stay up late and soon leave for their hotel rooms, for a short night, the mind already focused on the start line, a few meters away from the buffet.
The faces are relaxed at the start. One can easily see that the runners enjoy being here! The voice of the speaker replaces the usual calls to prayer by the muezzin this morning in Urgüp. The runners of the 60k and 110k races share the same start and forme a consistent and happy group, ready to attack the first hill.
The photographers and cameramen suddenly gather. For what? Gediminas Grinius has just arrived, 10 minutes before the start, welcomed by the mayor and the local governor. An aura is felt around him but it does not seem to disturb the UTWT 2016 champion, his habitual smile on his face.
1300 runners from 64 different countries take part to 1 of the 3 races of the event.
The villages resonate with the noise of the time system and the passion of the volunteers, here to help at the food stations. By the way, the runners seem to like the fruits of Cappadocia very much, as we can see some of them pick some along the course.
After 110 kilometers and a long running day, Gediminas Grinius wins the men race. Present in the region for a few days for official commitments and a training camp, he has discovered the course and he says it certainly was an advantage. For him, the course is beautiful and offers a few technical parts and zones where you need to run fast. What he superbly did .
He wins after 10:56:07 (race record) before the Bulgarian Andrey Gridin (12:21:19) and the Romanian Radu Milea (12:26:41).
In the women race, the Bulgarian Mariya Nikolova wins after 14h and 26min, followed by Cristiana Follador (Italy) and Elena Polyakova (Russia).
Everyone celebrate this great event on the Sunday morning, on the main square of Urgüp. Under a shining sun, all the champions are greeted by all the runners and inhabitants, in the middle of children who have just run their own race.