Posted on Leave a comment

The 10 Magnificent of the UTMB 2022 Podium

The 10 Magnificents of the

I had the chance to share the UTMB 2022 podium with 10 of the best endurance athletes in the world. Here's how I met them, how they competed and my thoughts on them.

Article lived and written by:

I arrived 2 minutes before the time set by the organisers. At 4 p.m. they asked us to be in the tent to the right of the stage, one hour before the award ceremony. For this edition I am one of the first 10 runners to cross the finish line

It’s a dream rekindled and (re)fulfilled, which I worked on for another 4 years after my 2nd place in 2018. At the time I thought I would give up running but it made me want to come back at least one more time. I had years where I deepened the lessons offered by ultramarathoning, suffered from dehydration in 2019, too little training in 2021 and in 2022 I was back in my best ultra form since I started. Experienced and trained enough to put in a good showing.

In the awards tent it was a shock to see the best runners on the planet, Kilian, Mathieu, Tom Jim, Zach, , Benat, Arthur, Jonas, Thibaut in the same place for the first time. The fact that I was in that tent, at that moment, with the same intention, to get on the podium was such a momentous event that it would be sad to pass it by without writing about the experience. I think every one of the 2765+ runners that were at the start would love to spend a minute in that tent, to ask each of them at least one question.

So much went through my head that I didn’t share much with any of them but I get a wave of gratitude and goosebumps thinking I was there with them. 

10. Thibaut GARRIVIER

On a cold and wet November day in 2021 I was between Pico Ruivo and Pico Arreiro on the Madeira Island Ultra Trail. This trail is one of the most beautiful running trails in the world. However, as beautiful as it is technical. It’s a continuous show of steep rocks and uneven steps that are burning your feet and turning your stomach upside down if you run too hard.

I was in the MIUT race, at kilometre 72 and I did something I don’t often do during a race: I looked back. 

Not a kilometre in, I see a runner walking up the uneven steps with giant strides, leaning forward, almost hunched over by the incline. I felt hunted. Running with his hands on his knees, he caught up with me within 10 minutes. Me alongside him, I seemed to stand still. I took a step to the side and was amazed at his strength, the strength and intensity of the effort and how well he handled it. His breathing was ragged, but he didn’t seem to mind that. If I had been his prey, I certainly wouldn’t have escaped with my life.

I was inwardly glad he was on a shorter run, watched in awe as he advanced through the high cliffs as if he were some kind of mountain spiderman.

The athlete who had overtaken me was Thibaut, and he was to win the 70-kilometre race at MIUT. Pau Capell had come second. Two months earlier he had won the CCC with a course record, one of the revelations of the UTMB that year. 

This year he came 10th in the UTMB, his first 100-mile race. He suffered for more than 12 hours because he couldn’t eat or drink water, adjusting his pace to close the loop and reach the finish. It took a lot of mental strength, a lot of concentration to accomplish this seemingly trivial task of putting one foot in front of the other.

In the tent, I get up from my comfy chair to congratulate him and shake his hand for his resilience during the competition. It’s hard to quantify suffering in an ultramarathon, but I think out of the top 10 Thibaut suffered the most to get to the finish line. 

@Thibaut, I would have loved to hear more about your race and the suffering it went through like a hot knife through butter. 

8. Jonas RUSSI

Photo Copy: Peigneevertical

After finishing a competition I like to have at least one beer. That’s what I did at the UTMB. I was wondering, what other athletes do that? I didn’t even get that thought out of my head when Maria tells me that Jonas Russi is looking for me to talk to me. I knew he finished ahead of me but I didn’t associate his face with his name. 

I was at the back of the start/finish gate when he came up to me with a big smile, happy that the race was over, a beer in his hand and confessed that he ran with me in mind on the last stretch, he was afraid I would catch him. That’s what he did at Lavaredo too, two months ago. I wasn’t overtaking him on either race but I’m glad to see someone at the finish with whom I can toast a glass of beer. 

Jonas is one of the most sociable and charismatic people I have ever met. He has custom Italian but I see he does his postings in German. In the tent of those who were going to take the podium he is the link, the person who asks the most questions, to everyone and congratulates everyone. He’s annoyingly charismatic and had just finished 8th in the world’s most popular mountain running race. You could see the contentment and happiness on his face. A year ago Jonas had come 2nd in TORX, it seems August-September is when Jonas counts his trophies.

@Jonas, I’d love to have a few beers and share our stories accumulated so far in the ultramarathons. I wonder who would fall under the table first?

TrailRunning Academy - logo

Join us!

Training plans, race tips,

the community!


On the ascent from Cural das Freiras to Pico Ruivo, at the first MIUT I attended, I met Arthur for the first time. He had started the race a bit hard and told me to overtake him as I had a better pace. It was 2019 and we were both at our first competitions outside our country. We were both going to finish in the top 10. Since then Arthur came 3rd at TDS in 2021 and kept dreaming of the UTMB. I watched him from the shadows as I do with many runners and was proud of his progress. He seemed to be getting more and more experienced and would use his knowledge in this UTMB.

Three days before the race we met at an Altra team meeting and with a smile on his face, in a sweet French accented English he wished me all the best at the race.

He is a cheerful and charismatic nature but during the race you shouldn’t be fooled by the gentleness in his eyes. At the UTMB he ran an excellent, seemingly flawless race that earned him a well-deserved 7th place. I’m sure Arthur won’t stop here and will dream as boldly as ever. 

@Arthur, surely our paths will cross again from now on. Remain unscathed and your progress will be assured.


Madeira is not only the nice place where I got engaged to Maria but also the place where I met most of the really good runners. A paradise of love and running.

Benat set off for MIUT 2021 with the intention of winning the race. About a month, before MIUT he had come 3rd in the Diagonal des Fou on Reunion Island. That gave him enough self-confidence to have this crazy thought.

At MIUT he ran more than 60 kilometers with Hannes Namberger who was to win the race but probably from accumulated fatigue and too little water on the longest climb of the race left him weak, losing a few places in the ranking.  Then I overtook him too only because I knew the route very well and saved my strength for the last stretch.

At the awards in MIUT, I exchanged a few words with Benat and he confessed that he still doesn’t have a sponsor and that he made a lot of sacrifices for the last two races. 

At the UTMB he overtook me almost at the 100th kilometre when I had a moment of weakness. Somehow he made up for Madeira. I told myself I had enough time to catch up and overtake him. I didn’t manage to do that as he ran great until the end of the race. He was 21 seconds short of stealing Zach Miller’s spot and moving into the top 5. 

@Benat, thanks for showing me that you have to treat racing with attitude and have a crazy plan from the start, keep a steady pace until the end and no name is big enough to be overtaken. In my eyes you have become one of the gods. 

5. Zach MILLER

In 2016 at my first CCC, Zach Miller won the race, I finished 8th. I was looking forward to opening day to go with him and the other top 10 runners on the podium. Zach chose not to come to the awards but to cheer on his fellow UTMB runners from the states. Then David Laney came in 3rd place. He deserved it.

I wanted my podium photo with him from 6 years ago. I saw him, Tim Tollefson and David on Rue du Dr Paccard, main street of Chamonix standing around a bottle of clear liquid (I still don’t know if it was water or vodka) and claimed my photo.

At the time, I saw the  top 3 runners as being in a different league. Being made out of a different material, it seemed. Now, the fact that we’ve all been through the same suffering, that we’ve gritted our teeth, that we’ve had close times, makes me think we’re all made of the same stuff: resilience and a strong stomach.

After the awards, I took a break and confessed that I missed him on the CCC podium and urged him to write more often, that he does this as well as he runs. 

@Zach, so many people have told me that you and I are alike, both in running style and face. How do you feel about that?


In the tent I see that Jim is free for a second. I have a suitable open liner to open a conversation with him. 

Are you learning French faster than you expected? How are you doing with their language since you moved to France?

In a shy, surprised voice, perhaps because I don’t ask him about running, he replies that he understands beginner-level conversations between two people only that context is very important. In a conversation he finds it hard to reproduce words. In short, he does well at the store and the bakery.

Maybe when Jim is fluent in French he will win the UTMB, maybe winning the UTMB doesn’t depend on how well trained you are but how well your roots are embedded in the francophone culture. Then, running the loop around Mont Blanc will feel as natural as going for a baguette and a pain au chocolat post-run.

He certainly has every chance of winning an edition of the UTMB, he has what it takes, ambition, intelligence, mental strength. He’s only one of the best runners in the world, what the hell.  I’d like to think we also have a few things in common like passion for running, sacrifice, military background. 

@Jim, I hope you meant what you said when you invited me for a few days to come visit, run the hills behind your house and then try to order pastries in French, because I’m going to visit you. By the way, you are welcome to visit Romania, the community here will welcome you with open arms. We have good coffee, craft beer and Ergo’s floor at the house is free. 

3. Thomas EVANS

Tom has improved my running world since first contact. He expanded my universe by showing me the mindset of an endurance athlete. He showed me that I needed to transform from a running romantic into an athlete. That a runner is only as good as their training routines. It transformed me from the first run to the last line “I would love to do another training camp together”. Tom has this power over me to influence me positively, to motivate me and to inspire me. 

I remember our training sessions in 2018 with such freshness in my mind, but more than that, it was the discussions over dinner.

What do you want to revive with running? Why do you do all these things so well? I asked him after a few days when I had worked up my courage. 

Of course we were training for the world championships but I knew there was more to it. In short he confessed to me that he wanted to be the most versatile runner, “any surface, any distance” To win Western States, UTMB, to qualify for the marathon Olympics, to win the MDS against the Moroccans. 

The next day I ran between mile 42 and 52 of the World Championship course. It was a flat and uphill course. On the climbs Tom seemed to continue his easy run started in warm-up, going seemingly effortlessly. My flies were burning and I was trying to breathe even through my ears. I went down to the asphalt and did my personal best for 5 kilometres. Running alongside him I realised that this man can achieve all his dreams, that he was not at all bold in his goals as he seems born for it. His efficiency in running is obvious. Even Maria told me after the UTMB how light Tom was running, at mile 152. 

@Tom I’m grateful for your faith in me in 2018, in the running camp, but also before the start of the UTMB when you told me I don’t dream enough, I’m not bold and a top 10 I can easily. Often during the race your words have fueled my glycogen reserves.  

Do you have a training camp spot in mind for 2023? Count me in!

2. Mathieu BLANCHARD

After the UTMB, a few hours after things had settled down and I understood how each athlete in the top 10 competed, I sent a single message congratulating one athlete. “Amazing performance Mathieu, amazing” . I knew M.B. would reply to me, he’s done it every time so far. 

He doesn’t know that, Mathieu I met for the first time in 2019 between Bonatti and the descent of Arnuvaz . He had a moustache and a brisk pace. After the run I logged onto Strava Flyby to see who I had passed. I’ve had him in my sights ever since and always see what he’s up to.  Mathieu progressed steadily, and in the meantime became a celebrity competing in the survivor. 

His feat of running the UTMB loop in under 20 hours is impressive. His result tells me that I can do it too, I just need to “steal” the recipe from him. 

I feel closest to Mathieu as an athlete. We haven’t been running since we were little kids, we started 10 years ago, we had a top 3 at UTMB (now he has two), our running career started after we signed with a main sponsor. 

@Mathieu, I know you’ll be reading this, let me in on the secret to a sub-20 hour UTMB. Thanks for showing us it can be done. Please tell me where to find you for those runs we were supposed to do in Chamonix.

1. Kilian JORNET

Kilian is the one that will come up in every conversation with your running friends. He changed the game of mountain running.  He has changed the game not just through this race but through everything he has done throughout his time in the sport, from getting 3 pairs of Salomon running shoes to now. I don’t know if he set out to do that, but he did. I’m not saying he’s close to a godlike figure but running might split in two for now. Before Kilian and after Kilian. 


Kilian currently has 1.3 million followers on instagram and in one form or another I think he has changed the lives of over a million runners, including mine. 


9-10 years ago, early in my running career, I had a phase where I was reading every book that was connected to running. Among them were The Ultramarathoner – Dean Karnazes, Eat & Run – Scott Jurek and Kilian’s Run or Die. Now I’m within 10 feet of him, having run the same route and about to stand on the same podium.  Ten years ago I was impressed with everything he does through running, now I like to think we have that in common. In the tent, I could ask him almost anything, thank him and congratulate him on everything he has done. I didn’t as I didn’t want to seem like too big a fan. Although I am. 

I often ask this question to friends “If you could invite someone to dinner, anyone in the world, who would you invite and what would you ask them?” These days the answer from me would be Kilian.  I’m grateful to life and to the moment that I’ve gotten to this point. I didn’t ask him anything because I’d have to take him out to dinner every night for a week to answer all my questions. 

@Kilian, if you’re reading this article, would it be weird if I knocked on your door in Norway and took you out to dinner at a nice place close to home (whatever you mean by that) for a story and to sign my books that have been sitting in my library giving me inspiration for so long?

1. Dl Stan Turcu

The finish of the UTMB is an extremely exciting thing. In 2018 I had instant tears before the finish line. The thought went through my head that anything is possible and no dream is bold enough. That I had fulfilled a dream I had dreamed of since crossing the finish line of my first ultramarathon

This year I wanted to cross the finish line as quickly as possible, satisfied with a good result and a good place. I didn’t have time to get excited. I saved the tears for later. 

The next day, around the same time I crossed the finish line, the winner of the 70+ category, Mr Stan Turcu, was due to cross the finish line. At 74, Mr Turcu did the loop around Mont Blanc in 44 hours 59 minutes and 48 seconds. I was also at his finish line. When he went to get his finisher’s vest I managed to hug him and then I was overcome with emotions and tears.

I got to know Mr Stan better at a workshop, Running School, in Bucharest when he told us more about his dream of finishing the UTMB. I was fascinated by his ambition and determination. We were of different ages but had the same dream. 

Since then Mr Stan has been training, planning, dreaming about this race and sitting down more confidently at the start of the competition. He ran, hydrated and ate to close the loop in the time limit, but he did much better than that. 

If the top athletes showed us that the limits are in our heads Mr Stan showed us that it’s never too late to start something and see it through. It’s enough to dream, prepare and execute a plan made in years of training. 

@Mr Stan Turcu, thank you for giving us this moment and this example. I dared to transpose myself over 40 and tell myself that I will want to do this at your age. 

Posted on Leave a comment

OMT: Olympus Mythical Trail 2020

Olympus Mithycal Trail 2020

OMT: Olympus Mythical Trail 2020

Olympus Mythical Trail is an ultramarathon of 108 kilometers and 6800 difference + in Greece, in its 9th edition. The race record is set by Foltopoulos Moysis in 14h20min. The best Romanian ranking in men: Marius Vasilache, 2015, 1st place, 14h57min

I often feel the need to write. It’s almost like the need to run.

This lust is an outsourcing of feelings, an “emptying” of them to make room for other feelings to ensure a flow, not a blockage. More and more often lately, I just want to sit in front of the keyboard and let my fingers express my thoughts. I want that, but I fail to create a routine around this habit. I fail to create a routine around any habit besides running. But that’s another story.

The fact that I am gone to a new area, alone, under the pretext of a running competition, gives me the perfect opportunity to let myself be carried away by the wave of creation, “to sit in front of the screen and bleed”. Bleeding is stopped by good food and a carafe of water. I prefer it to be wine but …
It’s July 20, the year of the pandemic, and in exactly two weeks I will start the second ultramarathon of this year: Olympus Mythical Trail. An 108-kilometer ultramarathon at 9th edition that takes you on the paths of Zeus’ “garden”.

This contest was not on the list of competitions at the beginning of the year. Ergo, a very good friend of mine ran last year and was impressed by the competition and he told me only good things about it. After a few messages exchanged with Lazaros, the organizer, I told myself that if he is so determined to hold a contest in the middle of the pandemic then I can be just as determined to run it. The Organizers-Runners seem to be in a perfect symbiosis of satisfying the need for competitiveness.

Day 0

It started with a 12-hour ultra-road Bucharest – Thessaloniki. I allow myself to call it “ultra-road” because everything seems to be “ultra” these days. “Ultra shampoo” with “ultra-care”, “Ultra toothpaste” that “UltraBleaches”. The road would have passed quickly if it were not for the frequent stops of drivers.

The 12 hour bus ride could have been done in 9. This is just a reminder to me and the benefit of having a car. I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to take stock.

Without car:

Bus ride: 12 hours;
charged the phone and helped transported parcels – 1 hour;
expected at Tesaloniki bus station – 3 hours;
Drum – Thessaloniki – Litochoror – 2 hours;
espresso drinks: 2;
Total: 18 hours and 2 espressos;

By car 10 hours and 3 espressos, probably;

Arriving in Litochoro, Lazaros was kind enough to wait for me in the city center, to give me a mini tour of the place, to greet everyone who gets in our way, to show me the heights that have been watching for thousands of years, the places at his feet. “I seem to see the quiet face of Zeus laughing at us and our pandemic,” I said to myself.

We went to the place where I will be staying for the next few days, made a mini plan for the weekend that involves running and a lot of uphill running. Then I took the dose of sleep lost in the last hours. I wanted it to be an overdose, but the heat and the Moon (the puppy) woke me up.

I told myself that I had more time to discover the places, to discover the food, to sit in front of the laptop and open my thoughts.

Something tells me that it will be a unique experience because I left the country without expectations, without too much pressure on myself.But maybe more focused and trained than any other running competition.

Litochoro is the village-town of about 7,500 inhabitants, each with a unique story.

The place where I am staying was arranged by Lazaros before I arrived. It’s a two-bed room upstairs in Dimitris’ (Taki) house that has a daughter, Sellini, and a Labrador, Luna.

At first glance, the room where I stayed seems just a place where I can sleep and wait quietly for the day of the competition. It is equipped with a bathroom whose door does not close, a round table with 2 chairs, air fan in the ceiling and a large yard.

Seeing the things that were in the yard, I remembered the house I moved to in Brasov less than 2 months ago.

After returning from a short walk and a map orientation by Lazaros and a few friends, I sat down at the table with Taki in semi-darkness. That’s when I realized that the place is more than it seems at first glance.

Each house takes over the personality of the person living in it and you can get an impression of the personality of the hosts from the little things that keep them handy. Scattered blocks of pumice stone that looked like unfinished sculptures.

Even though the first thought was that Taki is a sculptor, from the first conversation in the garden, to the music of Miles Davis, he told me that he feels and sings blues. That’s when I realized that Taki and I had at least one thing in common.

He lives the blues like I live mountain running.

Our discussion started with the fact that music is his lifestyle and that the blues is lived before it is played. We talked about it, about the state of “flow” that music and running gives you, about how important it is to do what you like and to be a good person.

I realized that I am a good listener because I just enjoyed sitting and listening to him, telling me about his life and the values he guides his life.

I got up from the table impatiently for tomorrow when I will do my first run and take part to a mini-concert in Taki’s garden where a friend of his will come to visit and sing.

Do you need a running coach?

Train with robert hajnal 2nd place at 2018 utmb

Robert Hajnal

Robert Hajnal

Sunt om de munte și am o viziune clară despre ce vreau să fac în viața mea. Îmi imaginez o lume în care fiecare om face sport și își pune pe primul loc sănătatea. Locul 2 UTMB in 2018, 862 ITRA points.
Posted on Leave a comment

Western States 100miles 2024 – Hajnal Robert’s Thoughts & Training Journal

Robert Hajnal - Wester States Journal

Western States 100miles 2024 – Hajnal Robert’s Thoughts & Training Journal

Robert Hajnal - Wester States Journal
Photo: Altra

7.01. Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind.

As I embarked on my run this morning, I was joined by four of my athletes, Gicu, Oana, Andrei, Cosmin, all of whom were preparing for their own upcoming races. We chatted as the raindrops gently hit our faces during our run, sharing our training plans, goals, and aspirations. It was a refreshing reminder of the shared passion that binds us together as runners.

Our conversation turned to the importance of having a specific race in mind from the moment you wake up, to the moment you train and how important is to visualize yourself winning when you go to sleep. I emphasized that it’s not just about putting in the miles; it’s about having a clear vision of the challenge ahead, a mental picture of the course, the weather conditions, and the mental and physical demands that lie in wait.

I shared my experience with the Lavaredo, UTMB and Doi Ithanon the Golden Ticket race for Western States, the iconic 100-mile ultramarathon, and how having that specific race in mind had fueled my training, focused my efforts, and driven me to push my limits.

My athletes nodded in agreement, echoing my sentiments.

They shared their own races they were training for, from fast halfmarathons to grueling mountain runs, and each one spoke of the motivation and drive that comes from having a specific goal in sight.

It was a reaffirming moment, a reminder that I was not alone in my approach to training. The camaraderie among unners, the shared passion for pushing personal boundaries, and the unwavering commitment to achieving our goals – these were the true hallmarks of the sport.

As we concluded our run, I felt a sense of renewed determination. Having my athletes by my side, sharing their own stories of dedication and perseverance, had ignited a spark within me.

I was ready to face the challenges ahead for the next week fueled by the shared spirit of runners of all levels.

Western States Training Run #4
Western States - Training Run #4

6.01. Becoming the athlete I used to look up to

#4 Easy 80min on Brașov Trails

As I embarked on my daily run, the thought of the upcoming Western States Endurance Run, the iconic 100-mile ultramarathon, hovered in my mind (again & always) like a distant mountain peak. The race, a symbol of ultrarunning prowess, ignited a sense of awe and aspiration within me.
I haven’t had this feeling since I first heard about this event 12 years ago. But now…

However, amidst the excitement, a deeper realization dawned upon me: the true essence of ultrarunning, the very foundation of success, lies not in the results of one race but in the unwavering dedication to routine.

Runners are as good as their routines, their commitment to consistent practice, their unwavering discipline in shaping their bodies and minds for the challenges that lie ahead. It’s in the daily grind, the monthly miles clocked, the early mornings spent pushing limits, that true endurance is forged.

Today’s run was a testament to this philosophy. My mind, sharpened by the mental fortitude cultivated through consistent training, remained focused and resolute.
The rhythm of my footsteps echoed the mantra of ultrarunning, that I should get tattooed so I don’t forget it >> consistency, dedication, resilience.

I understand now that winning Western States is not just about crossing the finish line first it is about embodying the spirit of ultrarunning, the spirit that thrives on the foundation of daily routine.

The race may be a fleeting moment in time, but the routine is a continuous journey, a testament to the power of discipline and relentless pursuit of excellence. It is in this unwavering commitment to routine that true ultrarunners find their strength, their resilience, their capacity to conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges.

– 174 thoughts to go to Western States * 100 Miles * One Day.

5.01. In an infinite game you have no opponents

#3 Easy Run in Brașov 

The thought of the 368 other souls training for Western States, each with their own unique motivations, struggles, and stories, filled me with a sense of camaraderie and purpose.

I wondered about the seasoned veterans, their faces etched with the lines of countless races, their bodies bearing the scars of countless miles. What drives them to continue pushing their limits, year after year? What hidden depths of strength and resilience have they unearthed through the crucible of ultrarunning?

I thought of the newcomers, their eyes wide with anticipation, their hearts brimming with dreams and aspirations. What fears and doubts do they grapple with as they stand at the precipice of this extraordinary challenge? What epiphanies and transformations await them as they embark on this journey of self-discovery?

And then there are those like me, the mid-tier runners, neither novice nor expert, forever striving to refine our technique, conquer our demons, and inch closer to the summit of our own potential. What fuels our determination to persevere through the monotony of training, the nagging injuries, and the inevitable moments of self-doubt?

As I ran, I carried the stories of these fellow runners in my heart, their collective energy fueling my own determination. 

I realized that the beauty of ultrarunning lies not just in the physical challenge itself but in the shared human experience it embodies. 

We are all bound together by our pursuit of endurance, our quest for self-discovery, and our unwavering belief in the power of the human spirit.

-175 Days to Western States * 100 miles, One Day

04.01 - Student of Endurance Academy

#2 Easy Run w few Uphill Surges in Brașov

As I pounded the pavement today, with my sore, unfit legs from my 4-week break, I couldn’t help but feel like a student at the university of endurance.

Each run, each race, is an opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of my body and the nuances of this demanding sport. With each step, I gain a new understanding of my limits, test the resilience of my mind, and explore the untapped potential of my physical being.

Western States looms large, the ultimate exam in this endurance marathon. I’m determined to approach it with the same inquisitive spirit, seeking to unravel its challenges and conquer its peaks.

With each training run, I’m not just building endurance; I’m expanding my knowledge, refining my strategies, and preparing to earn my A+ in the university of ultrarunning.

-176 Days to Western States * 100 miles, One Day

03.01. Consistency is Key.
#1.0 Easy 9km in Herăstrău.

In the world of running, the starting line often marks a pivotal moment – a point where nerves, excitement, and anticipation collide. While the initial surge of adrenaline can be invigorating, it’s the consistent effort and discipline that shape the true foundation of success. Just as boxers train relentlessly to endure the physical and mental demands of their sport, runners too must embrace consistency as the cornerstone of their training.
Consistency isn’t about pushing yourself to extremes every single day; it’s about building a sustainable routine that gradually enhances your fitness level and resilience. It’s about making running a habit, not a chore. Just as a boxer trains consistently to build muscle memory and reflexes, runners need to establish a rhythm of training that allows their bodies to adapt and improve.
The key to consistent training lies in breaking down your goals into manageable chunks. Instead of aiming for a marathon overnight, gradually increase your running distance and frequency. Incorporate strength training exercises to complement your cardio, building a stronger foundation for performance.
As you progress, remember that consistency is not about achieving perfection; it’s about showing up, even on days when motivation feels elusive.
-177 Days to Western States 100 miles, One Day.
wser #1 Training
Hajnal Robert

Hajnal Robert

I am a mountain man and I have a clear vision of what I want to do in my life. I envision a world where everyone does sport and puts their health first.

The first Romanian on the UTMB podium and the first Golden Ticket holder for 2024 Western States.

Read about - Coach Robert
De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

How to make a proper checkpoint for your next ultramarathon

Become a stronger, fitter athlete in less time with minimal risk of injury.

How to make a proper checkpoint for your next ultramarathon

Do you have a support team for your next ultramarathon? Here's what you need for a successful race and a 'full' Check-Point.

The support team and a checkpoint just for you are the essential elements that can make the difference between a good result and a great result. A checkpoint just for you for an ultramarathon requires extra planning, but 10 minutes of pre-race planning can improve your result by up to half an hour for a 100km race that takes between 15 and 25 hours. Plus, you have an excuse to meet up with a loved one during the race who will put a big smile on your face during the toughest times. 

I’ve been running ultramarathons for more than 10 years and every race is an opportunity to improve my checkpoint and the routine I develop in the few minutes I spend in the hydration station. The best ultramarathoners spend a total of between 10 and 20 minutes in all the checkpoints of a 20-hour, 170-kilometre race like the UTMB.

The photo in the article is from the 2021 National Ultramarathon Championships where I finished 3rd, but everyone admired my checkpoint and Maria’s agility to set it up in minutes and give me just what I needed. If you’ll read to the end, I’ll tell you a tip on how to install it perfectly every time. 

Rule #1. Before you read the next few lines, the main rule is that your checkpoint is installed before you get to it. It has often happened that athletes get to the place where the checkpoint should be and it was not installed and the athlete wasted time. The idea is to do whatever it takes to gain time, not to waste time and linger in the cp.

Rule #2.The support team should have your flasks of water, isotonic, ready for both the checkpoint and the next leg of the course before you get to them. It is a mistake to spend time in the checkpoint just for this. 

What have I prepared in the checkpoint?

(As in the photo)

1. It is important that all gels (bars, baby food, etc.) stay on an envelope/pouch, so that when you leave the checkpoint it is empty and all nutrition is stuffed into your jacket pockets. This is your assurance that you’ve got what you need for the next section – leave that area empty.

2.Hydration for the next section, in flasks. As with nutrition, it’s essential to take everything you’ve planned with you. Even if your vest feels heavy after you leave the checkpoint, don’t spill water, because you’ll need it. It’s clear that you have a clearer mind when planning than during the competition, so trust what you’ve set beforehand. I generally put 500ml of water in a flask + 500ml water + isotonic or Maurten 160 in another flask.

3.Electrolyte tablets. The first thing I do when I get into CP is take 1-2 electrolyte pills like this one (SaltStick).

4.Hydration from checkpoint / 4.1 – Plain water / 4.2 – Mineral water / 4.3 – Isotonic / 4.4 Orange juice (in the last few ultramarathons I gave this up because it gave me insulin spikes, gave me energy, but then I quit).

5. Wet towel, cold – for wiping on neck/face/hands/feet (preferably in that order).

6. Salty cravings casserole – for salty cravings.

7. Fruit to eat at checkpoint, only if I have a craving.

8. Liquid Cravings – liquid stuff I’ve had in training and possibly crave during the competition. 8.1 – applesauce, 8.2 – ginger beer, 8.3 – mango smothie, raspberry.

9. Simple carbs – Coke, Red Bull. Useful for the 2nd part of the competition, when often the nutrition plan needs to be adapted. Still you need calories to keep you going; for me at Istria 100 miles these were the solution after nothing else worked.

10. Extra pair of running shoes, with clean socks – if you need a refresher for your feet or if you’ve blistered.

11. Extra gear/sunglasses for the next section in the strong sun. I advise you to always have a spare t-shirt, a light coloured hat that protects you from high temperatures. During an ultramarathon you should look for comfort. Change if you’re sweaty, put on an extra layer if you’re cold. Use the check-point as a point where you restart your equipment and motivation.

12. Cold spray for legs or other muscle groups. Apply it at a distance of 20-25 centimetres, otherwise you’ll feel the burn.

EXTRA (ce nu se vede în fotografie, pentru că am adăugat după acel concurs):

  1.  A small bag of salty cravings (Tuc crackers, small pretzels, salty pretzels).
  2. A small bag of soft fruit (mango, melon, apricots, etc).
  3. Ice – in a heat insulated bag. It’s very useful for warm weather, to put in your trousers, jacket pockets to cool down. it’s great to keep your drinks cold.
  4. Bread, breadsticks. They go great with Coke.
  5. Ginger shot – useful for times when you’re throwing up and need to change the sweet/dry taste in your mouth.
  6. A phone/timer on to time your CP time.

USEFUL for the support team

  1. Cutlery
  2. Pans of various sizes
  3. Notebook/pencil
  4. 2-3 bottles
  5. GPS track on watch and route map in google maps
  6. Thick clothes
  7. Tape and marker to write on flasks containing

Routine in each checkpoint

Time spent at checkpoints can make a difference. You can finish a 100 km race 25-30 minutes faster just from the time you save at checkpoints. At the same time, checkpoints can get you back on your feet after a difficult moment during the race. However, you don’t have to linger at the checkpoints, but don’t rush either. Only stay extra minutes if you’re feeling tired and feel you need to hydrate and eat better.

I remember at UTMB 2022, at mile 100 I had the lowest point of the race in terms of energy. I knew Arnouvaz was coming up, a checkpoint where I find soup, water and what I need for the next few kilometres. I knew it was a long way to the finish and allowed myself to spend 4 minutes in this CP, where I hydrated better and ate soup with Tuc biscuits.  I did well, as there was a long climb ahead, and the extra 2 minutes of rest put me back on my feet. 

Here’s what you need to do for an effective checkpoint routine::

  1.  Before 1-2 kilometres before you reach CP, mentally review what you will do at that checkpoint.
  2. Before entering a check-point, make sure you drink all the fluids in the flasks you have with you. If you’ve planned your run well, you won’t have much to drink. Don’t throw water away, drink it instead.
  3. Pocket (or you can even hold) your empty packs until you reach the CP. Throw them at the feet of the support team.
  4. Before you enter the CP, hold out your hand and let the support team guide you to where they’ve set up your table; they should pull you by the hand to your designated spot.
  5. The support team should put a wet towel around your neck to cool you down.
  6. Let your support team know how you are feeling, what problems you have had.
  7. When you arrive, start a watch, time how long you stay in CP.
  8. Drink 300-350ml of water in CP with 1-2 electrolyte pills.
  9. Put your nutrition from the envelope (#1 in photo) (gels, bars, etc.) in your pockets for the next section.
  10. Continue to drink/eat to your heart’s content, but don’t overdo it, as you will vomit. I choose to eat a warm, salty soup with TUC crackers in it.
  11. Don’t linger in CP unless you need to.

The person who decides to help you at a checkpoint will have a different but equally intense journey, almost the same as you. He will worry about you, he will worry about whether you will (and will) make it to the checkpoint on time. It will sleep on the run, it will drive between different locations. There’s no need to be angry at the support team, as they want your best and that’s why they’re helping you.

Keep in mind that mistakes can happen during a race, but don’t let that demotivate you. A.D.A.P.T your plan to your needs and continue the race with a positive attitude, eventually you can make use of what the organisers have prepared for you at the checkpoints, in case the support team fails to follow the plan.

Tips & tricks: for a perfect checkpoint, I recommend setting it up with the support team the day before the race and taking a photo of it. The support person will know how to set it up based on that photo, and you won’t be surprised by a different arrangement of items. 

Running coach?

Let me teach you training, nutrition and competition tricks!

Antrenor Alergare - Hajnnal Robert
De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

UTMB roller-coaster


The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Article written and lived by:
Valentin Bălănescu

It’s Friday, 26.08.2022, 5.53pm, and after the pre-race moments of presenting the favourites and encouraging the participants, the famous Place du Triangle de l’Amitie in Chamonix has gone quiet. 

It is a profound silence, in a square that a few seconds ago was clapping its hands in jerky unison, a shift from one extreme to another, from agony to ecstasy, as all ultra races are. After a few seconds, the silence is shyly broken, one note at a time by Vangelis and his Conquest of Paradise, the official anthem of the UTMB. 

You can feel the energy of the song permeating the sea of runners. It’s the moment when I realise I’m HERE. This is the moment I’ve been dreaming of for 5 years. The moment I’ve planned for, trained for, injured for, recovered for, woken up early or slept late for, run dozens, hundreds, thousands of miles for, watched documentaries, read books, magazines, analyses for, it’s finally here! 

Start- Valentin Balanescu – UTMB

The road ends here! Or is it just the beginning?

I close my eyes and feel the vibration of the market, the growing impatience given by the adrenaline of the moment, and the images of the MIUT DNF in April, the last ultra race I participated in, flash through my mind. 

I’m not afraid of the 171km to come, but even as my mind is challenging me, I feel motivated and eager for the adventure that is about to begin. Then I see myself still in the square crossing the finish line, hand in hand with the kids as I promised them. 

Ultra has taught me that any doubt, the mind’s attempt to test your resolve, can be defeated by positive counterexamples. I am reassured and convinced that all will be well. 

Robert’s words come back to me:

“you’ll see that it will be just fine, if you don’t make any serious mistakes”. 

That would mean that in 36 hours I’d be back at the finish with the kids by my hand.

TrailRunning Academy - logo

Join us!

Training plans,

race tips,

the community!

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Gooooooooo! I’m somewhere between the last ones, on the church stairs, and from the steps, I can see the first ones breaking into a run. 

The crowd starts to move slowly, at about the pace of entering the subway at Pipera, Bucharest Metro Station, in the evening around 6 pm when everyone finishes work. After about 3 minutes they get to the start line, but it’s another 100 meters or so of walking due to the crowds.

There are only about 2800 runners at the start.

After crossing the start line the atmosphere is incredible, people are crowded on the sidelines, cheering us on and making an atmosphere I’ve never encountered before even in a football stadium. The whole of Chamonix is at the start, in the square where the route coasts and then strings along the centre to the exit of the town. When the cordon ends, I look at the clock and we’re already at km 1.54.

Déjà the early jitters have passed, I turn off the GoPro and concentrate on what I have to do. The first 8 km to Les Houches are flat and I do them in 54 minutes. Les Houches, just like Chamonix is celebrating, the whole town is along the route, with trumpets, vuvuzelas, music. Everyone is cheering us on and you have to be very strong to stick to the plan, as the atmosphere can steal you away immediately and you don’t realise when you’ve hit the gas.

Le delevert- Valentin Balanescu – UTMB

The start is as planned: easy, with the main aim that after 50 km I’ll be fresh and from there I’ll gradually increase the pace.

Even if the HR is a bit high, around 165, it’s normal considering that I didn’t warm up and I’ll definitely lower it on the next climb. 

From the climb, behind, you can see the whole valley and Les Houches, over which darkness is starting to settle slightly.

I’m in the middle of a never-ending Indian line that doesn’t seem to end either in front of me or behind me. The pace is steady, and the pace has slowed, so I can enjoy the incredible views around me: the white peaks of Mont Blanc, the reddish patches that the sun leaves on the crest at sunset, and the infinite greenery among which the path makes its way. 

I focus on nutrition and hydration, which over many races have given me problems. I am aware that if they go well, then the race is 95% assured. 

At Saint – Gervais, at the end of the first half marathon, I arrive in 3 hours 35, and I am super fresh. I walk economically, without pushing at all. All good.

First half marathon check, 7 to go!

Then an easy climb to Les Contamines. At least, it looked that way from the race profile, as I don’t know the first 81 km to Courmayeur. So I got the information about the route from the descriptions of friends who have already done the race or from youtube videos where I analyzed the specifics of the route. 

In reality no surprises, so I arrive at CP at km 32 after 5:25, easily covered. In CP they have noodle soup. I try it with bread and cheese: love it at the first bite. Although I’ve never eaten soups through competitions before, it fits very well and the last piece of the nutrition puzzle has just been found.

Besides from here to the end, the nutrition will be simple but precise: on the route – I alternate gels with either Snickers or Lidl’s chia and fruit puree, and in CPs: noodle soup, bread, cheese, oranges, watermelon. 

Meanwhile outside it has darkened, and the trail is very clearly visible from the fireflies ahead aka runners’ foreheads. 

The silence of the mountain is broken only by those walking in groups and chatting amongst themselves.

As the nutrition is going well and the reflex is already formed about every 30-40 minutes I eat and about every 10-15 minutes I take a sip of water, I can enjoy the clear sky full of stars. 

I’m not sleepy at all, although the hours pass one after the other so I don’t resort to caffeinated gels and, at Robert’s advice, I also stay away from Coke. 

After Les Contamines we pass through a park that looks like an amusement park and end up in an LED-lit Hoka tunnel.

I’m a little weirded out that I’m not in the mood to turn on my GoPro, but on the other hand I feel the moment giving me wings: #FlyHumanFly and the peace slowly increases until the climb begins and I temper myself. 

Next comes the climb to Col du Bonhomme, which is veeeeryyy loooong. It starts to light up and in the valley, you can see the long line of hundreds of headlamps. It’s the perfect time for a mountaintop breakfast and a breathtaking view. I sit on a boulder at the edge of the path, take out my sandwich, and watch the sunrise millimeter by millimeter behind the mountaintop as the column of runners passes me by.

There’s the stillness of the mountain, broken only by the murmur of rushing water in the valley, and all the pressure I’ve been feeling all week has vanished as if by magic. 

Imagine there’s no past, no future too! 

Although in CPs I move against the clock, now it feels like I would never leave the place, even though I’ve finished eating and don’t feel tired either. On the contrary, I feel the energy and once I get going I effortlessly overtake, one by one, a bunch of runners to the Col de la Seigne.

The view is dreamy and I don’t even know when I cross Col de la Seigne, Lac Combal, Arete du Mont-Favre, Checrout – Maison Vieille. I’m on schedule and everything is going better than I would have hoped.


Although it’s half of the competition I don’t know, everything went perfectly.

The first challenge comes on the last part of the descent to Courmayeur, when you enter the forest and for about 3km run on a trail where your feet sink into the dust. As you run quite hard the dust is kicked up into the air and you can hardly breathe. My eyes, lips, and throat are starting to sting from the dust which I think has even gotten into my bloodstream. It’s also gone through my gaiters into my shoes and although before this stretch I thought there was no point in changing shoes, now the dilemma has been solved.

In Courmayeur, Marius is waiting for me on a street that I can hear from a hundred meters away cheering me on as he sees me.

He runs with me to the entrance of the CP where I clap hands with the kids and forget about the dust that had just ruined my zen earlier. Ramona, my wife, helps me grab the drop bag, and refills the gels and smoothies for the second half. She cools me with my cold spray, I change my shirt and shoes and in between shakes I finish my protein shake and eat the noodle soup she brought me. 

I feel like I’m at Formula 1 and hurrying onward. 

I say goodbye to the support team on the way out and head off through the already burning sun towards Bertone. It’s probably around 25-27 degrees but with no shade, I’m melting. Luckily there’s a fountain on the way where we all rush to cool off. I get straight under the tap, wet my cap, and pour 3 glasses of water over my head. Restart!

The climb to Bertone is, due to the heat, the hardest of the competition, but I tackle it at a measured and steady pace. I don’t speed up, but I won’t stop either. 

Near Bertone, a group of tourists is watching the race live on their phones and I make the announcement: Kilian crosses the finish line and has set a record: he is the first to go under 20 hours. Blanchard is due to show up in a few minutes, he’s also entered Chamonix. I ask them about Robert and they tell me he’s 10th. 

Great, he was down in 11th and he’s in the top 10. He’s got time to move up 1-2 places 

Up at Bertone I find a bunch of runners stretched out in the 2 tents that keep the sun out. I eat 2 pieces of oranges, fill the flasks with water and move on. It’s a hot day all the way to Arnouvaz. From time to time the path climbs along the mountain and enters shady areas: a blessing! You just want to sit your butt on a rock and wait until the evening to go further. But I’m on plan and it would be a shame not to keep up the pace given that apart from the discomfort created by the heatwave, which I’m treating with lots of fluids, the rest is going better than I could have hoped.

I pass through Bonatti and Arnouvaz in the same scenario. The climb to Grand Col Ferret, the border between Italy and Switzerland, begins and the scenario changes. It’s shady and as we climb to the top the wind starts to blow harder and harder. Fog also appears on the horizon, so it’s time to activate the sheet. 

It’s déjà vu from last year’s CCC 100km race when we encountered the same kind of weather.

From here the descent to La Fouly begins, my favourite part where last year at the CCC I committed by pressing the accelerator pedal too hard. I learned my lesson and planned to be thoughtful, to run to my heart’s pace: no higher than 140 bpm. 

The kilometres go by one by one and after La Peule everything changes: the second race starts. A stone slips out from under my left leg and I feel the ligament stretch and an instinctive warmth engulfs it.


I stop, it doesn’t seem to be that serious, I can stomp and it doesn’t feel like anything serious. I move on. But as time goes by the pain slowly but surely increases. 

On the ascent to Champex-Lake it starts to hurt with every step I take. I realise that the goal has changed from sticking to the plan of finishing in 36 hours to finishing in a maximum of 46 and a half hours which is the time limit. I grit my teeth and think that I have almost 18 hours left for the remaining 45 kilometres. In Champex I don’t stay long, I’m afraid of getting cold and aggravated, plus I don’t have to, nutrition is still going well, I fill the flasks, drink soup on the go and eat 2 quarts of oranges.

Next up is the climb to La Giete which is quite steep. Last year this stretch to the end gave me the biggest problems, when the nutrition didn’t work and I was sick. Now the situation is different, so on the climb I walk steadily up to the bearable limit of pain, but without taking breaks. The problems come after Giete, where the descent is steep and the pain is unbearable because I can’t flex my left leg at all. I walk slowly, like a snail, using my sticks as crutches and making room for everyone who seems to fly past me.

From time to time I alternate the way I step on my left foot, trying as much as possible not to flex: either I step on my heels, lean on the sticks, or step sideways, putting my right foot forward and then my left without bending it.

An ultra race is a lot like a human life: it puts you in front of a lot of weights, it moves you like a carousel from ecstasy to agony and back again. There are times when a minute feels like a day and a day feels like a minute. Now it knocks you down being sure that you have reached the limit of your resources so that you immediately feel fresher than before the start. To be able to see through such a challenge it is important to be self-aware, to learn your reactions and know how to manage them so that you keep thoughts of quitting at bay.

Right now I’m in such a situation. 

Every step tells me to give up, that the pain is too much, that it’s not worth the risk, that time is flying and I’m moving slower than a snail and more than likely I won’t make it and in the best case I’ll finish after the cut-off and risk my health to boot.

To succeed in such a situation it is essential to understand that it is the mind that limits us. In the spirit of self-preservation, it is the one that creates all the scenarios in our heads to make us give up. But for every situation, ultra teaches you that there are solutions. 

To quiet the mind you have to prove it wrong, so I focus on everything that’s going right and debunk each counter-argument in turn : nutrition is excellence, I’ve never felt better than I do now. Even if my leg hurts I move forward and have found solutions to menage it as much as possible. Even though there are about 40 kilometres to go, only about 15 are downhill. Well, haven’t I done 15 kilometres of rough riding? Of course I have! Anyway the main goal from the beginning was to finish the race, so it’s ok even if the time one drops.

 Then I promised the kids we’d cross the finish line by hand and I’m going to keep my word.

Finish – Valentin Balanescu – UTMB

So they go mile after mile, hour after hour.

 I leave Trient and Les Tseppes behind and approach Valorcine. (Kilometre 156) Here, on the interminable descent, which seems like an eternity, it seems to me that time flies by too fast and I don’t move forward at all. It’s that feeling where it seems like an hour passes in a minute standing still. It’s the most difficult moment of the race because the idea that I’m not going to make it is creeping in deeper and deeper. I only have one more climb of almost 1000m and one more descent of that much in almost 20 kilometres and it’s already almost 09.00 in the morning, which means I have another 7 and a half hours. It seems like a lot for less than a half marathon but at the speed I’m moving on the descent it seems like a second.

The phone rings. 

It’s Ramona and she tells me she’s waiting for me and Marius in the CP. My first thought is that they are waiting for me in Chamonix and I tell them not to wait for me as I will be late. She tells me that she sees me on the app and I have to be in CP in 3 minutes and that they are in Valorcine. I can feel my spirits rising and the feeling is that I’m picking up the pace although I think it’s just a feeling, more than likely. After a few minutes I reach the CP and I hear Marius from a distance squeezing enough to wake up the last sleepy person in all of Valorcine : Valiiiiii, Come on Vaallliiiiiii! Until the capaaaat!

In the CP Mariu brings me a coffee (the only one I drank in the whole contest) and Ramo takes care of the leg which is the size of my boot. It even seems to be out of place from how it’s inflated. The cold spray plus the anti-inflammatories seem over about 10 minutes to take effect. 

Their encouragement has lifted my spirits and I’m determined to see it through. After Valorcine there are about 2-3 miles of flat false going well and it seems the leg is better, the pain is subsiding. The road curves away from the path along the asphalt and ahead I see Marius and Ramo waiting for me again. They accompany me about 500 metres to where the Col de Montets is. The 5 minutes with them have lifted my spirits even more so I tackle the climb full of enthusiasm. Even though my watch is dead, I climb pretty well even though the sun is already up and halfway melting. 

No matter, spirits are high and much easier than I imagined a few hours before I reach the top. Up there the sun is beating down, but the path is full of cheering tourists and even if the pains seem to be coming back slowly I reach Tete aux Vents. It’s 12:15 and here I’m sure I’ll make it to the finish: I still have 4 hours and a quarter for 10 kilometres.

By the end I’m definitely going to be the one with all the time in the world to finish. Luckily it takes me less than two hours, although a bunch of runners pass by me cheering me on and congratulating me for not giving up. Halfway down the road I pass the tables of La Floria terrace where I get a round of applause from people relaxing over a beer and among the cheers I hear a “Hai Romania! 

From here the line of spectators starts again, in groups of 50 metres at a time, cheering us on and congratulating us on our performance: Courage! Come on! Come on! Four kilometres!

When I get into town, I call Ramo and tell her that we have entered Chamonix. She tells me she’s waiting for me at Ultra Village, and the kids are waiting for me near the end so we can cross the finish line together. 

The last kilometre I probably won’t soon forget. It’s the essence of this race I’ve dreamed of for 5 years: on the one hand the pain I felt with every step, on the other the cheers of hundreds of people cheering me on from the sidelines, the joy of seeing the children again who jumped into my arms about 100 metres before the finish and with whom I crossed the finish line by hand, and the feeling of finishing the dream I started 44 hours and 16 minutes ago.

The turtle race has ended! Until the next one.

De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

I ran to Cluj for the Wizz Marathon

Article written and lived by 

I ran to Cluj for the Wizz Marathon

I never thought I would end up having a road marathon, the Wizz Marathon, as a training session for an ultramarathon.

Today is a sunny September Sunday. I’m walking to the start of my second marathon road race and the fifth marathon I’ve run on this surface. I set out to run in training mode, long run, medium to fast tempo, considering that in just six days I will be starting my first +100km Ultra. Until today, before any race, my nerves would get the better of me a few days beforehand and I’d be anxious especially during the night.

This time knowing that it was going to be a simple training run I was able to be more relaxed and get enough sleep in the last few days. Somehow I’m intrigued by the peace of mind I have, will I mobilize myself to be able to handle such a race?


I haven’t done much running on asphalt lately, I’ve done most of my volume on the trail and I’m a little skeptical about my ability to sustain the pace the asphalt and flat surface demands of you. I’ve had a few tempo runs in the last few weeks though that have run roughly within parameters so I figure it’s important to enjoy the race, the runners on the trail, the beauty of Cluj-Napoca and the spectators in Cluj who are always there for the runners and support them warmly. 

 I already arrive on the course and see two volunteers scrambling for a “U” loop. They greet me and I answer them and ask if they are cold. They tell me they are waiting for the sun to come up because it’s cold. 

Other runners are also heading to Cluj Arena, where the start is at 8:30. The energy is good and the enthusiasm is present in everyone. I grab a water from a stall and head to my warm-up area. Twenty minutes later I’m warmed up and fitted for the start. The announcer invites us to the start area and from the back of the column I set off full of good energy on the course.

It starts off slower than last year, which I am happy about. I’m not a speed runner, I’m a steady and stubborn turtle, but a “speed runner” I never was and I don’t know if I ever will be again. I aim to run at a heart rate around 140bpm and I want to keep that as steady as possible. This marathon is also being run by my friend from Baia Mare, who turned 62 this year. He has been running 14km in the park every morning since he was 50. Day after day, year after year. He has also run a half marathon and thought until last week that he would also run a half marathon at Wizz AIR. But whoever signed him up seems to have mistakenly signed him up for the marathon. Before the race we talked and he was excited for his first marathon. 

It’s a big thing to do at his age. I admire him for his discipline but also for his courage. The marathon is a worthwhile experience at any age.

  The course is 21km and is run twice. It’s a slow and challenging route. It has 14 “U” turns and is done twice; so every mile you have to slow down, take the turn safely, and then push to get back into tempo. For me, who treats the race as a workout, it’s the ideal route, for those who run the race with full dedication it’s super exhausting. No matter how good a marathoner you are I think it’s impossible to run in a time under two hours and fifteen minutes. And here I’m talking about the best marathoners in the world. 

  The world is good, runners are enjoying the race, people are chatting, cheering each other on, volunteers and spectators are vocal and supporting us with South American warmth. I see Sorin constantly because he allows me the route and I cheer him on every time. So does he and he gives me energy. 

There are other runners I know; I do the same with them. I like to encourage during a race because I love their positive reaction and that gives me strength too.

The run goes smoothly until mile thirty. I’m steady and my heart rate stays within parameters. I hydrate at every point and fuel on schedule. From here the sun starts to burn. I don’t know how many degrees it is but suddenly it seems like everyone is looking for shade. More and more people are running bare-chested, a sign that it’s a general feeling. And the half marathoners, who started two hours later but also the cross country runners who started recently, are looking for shade. 

  My watch shows a pulse of 156 so I slow down and wait for the pulse to drop. I’m feeling very hot. I do a few miles much slower and barely get my pulse down to 140bpm. It’s like at low speed everything is harder. I don’t know what to do! Should I try to up the tempo to make it easier or go for the pulse? I think that in six days I have an ultra waiting for me and decide to stick around. On a U-turn a runner in front of me, past fifty slips and falls. He hasn’t slowed down enough and this happens when fatigue is already taking its toll. He gets up and signals that he’s okay and starts walking. I reach him and ask if I can help him somehow. He tells me he’s relatively fine and that there’s nothing I can do to help him. I thought I’d stay by his side and support him until he gets back into rhythm. He tells me he’s fine so I walk away. 

The miles go by more slowly at a leisurely pace. Nea Sorin asks me if we have much further and I tell him there’s only five kilometres to go. 

  It’s getting hotter and harder to run at low heart rate because I’m slowing down more and more. I decide to pick up the pace but my body doesn’t seem to be listening. Somehow it refuses the commands. I wonder what I’ll do next week at +100k if it’s hard right now. “Niculai, get your head in the game, pull yourself together and let’s go!”. It’s the voice that’s berating me from the back of my mind. I grab another gel and two more glasses of isotonic and remember my training runs. I tell myself to give it a go, and I seem to manage to climb. But after five hundred metres I sink back into the easy run. And, stubborn as I am, I give it another go. This time it works. 

 I do the last kilometres at almost the same pace as at the beginning. I don’t look at my heart rate anymore because it doesn’t matter. I’ll soon finish and enjoy the feeling of the finish. I increase the pace more and more and get closer to the stadium. I pass more marathon runners but also more half marathon runners. The stadium feels better. I almost finish in the sprint and am happy to get the finisher’s medal.

  I keep moving and running very slowly to get my heart rate down and get my recovery right. I’m happy! I have finished a marathon again. I look at the result and see that I was six minutes faster than last year. Then I fought with myself and gave it my maximum. Today I enjoyed the course, I also suffered but I did better. Nea Sorin also finished the race with an honourable time.

  I am grateful and fulfilled. I never thought I would end up having a road marathon as a training session. I can’t wait for the Crazy Wolf Ultramarathon to see what it has in store for me. Every race has its own story and lesson to offer. Endurance running is an amalgam of joy, suffering, meditation, agony and ecstasy! 

TrailRunning Academy - logo

Join us!

Training plans, race tips,

the community!

De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

What running taught me

Devino membru activ TrailRunning Academy

Ai acces la toate articolele. Gratuit primele 15 zile. 

What running taught me

It was supposed to be the story of a race, Mogoșa Everesting but it's going to be about what running teaches us in everyday life

Articol scris și trăit de 

Ar fi trebuit să fie povestea unei curse, Mogoșa Everesting dar o să fie despre ce ne învață alergarea. 

Anul trecut, în 2021, pe 7 August participam la prima mea competiție sportivă, Mogoșa Everesting. Alergam deja din 2013 dar o făceam doar la nivel de jogging. Întâmplător am auzit la un post de radio local, din Baia Mare, o reclamă ce spunea: “Participă la Mogoșa Everesting și află care e Everestul tău. Termină cel puțin o singură urcare și coborâre și vei primi medalia de finish-er.” Mi-a plăcut mult mesajul și eram conștient că nu sunt pregătit să fac cele 18 ture pentru a strânge 8848 de metri în sus și în jos, dar mă întrebam oare care este Everestul meu. 

Așa am ajuns să particip și după mai bine de 19 ore, am adunat 11 ture adică Everestul meu era de 5401 metri și se întindea pe mai bine de 44 de kilometri. Mi-am dat seama că reușisem să alerg (e mult a spune alergare, mai degrabă să mă târăsc) un ultramaraton cu o diferență considerabilă pentru un om obișnuit, nicidecum un sportiv. 

Pentru cei care nu cunosc competiția, am să fac o mică descriere a traseului: lângă Baia Sprie, parte din munții Gutâi, este vârful Mogoșa ce are o altitudine de 1246 m. De pe acest vârf pornește o pârtie de schi ce se bifurcă la un momentdat în mai multe variante până la lacul Mogoșa și în altă parte spre stațiunea Șuior. Diferența de nivel dintre lac și vârf este de aproximativ 500m pe o distanță de maxim 2 km, cu o înclinație medie de peste 25%. Se face o urcare si apoi o coborâre pe una din variantele de pârtie de ski…și tot așa de 18 ori, până la capăt, cu un termen limită de 24 de ore. Brutal! Cine nu a făcut urcări si coborâri pe o înclinație de peste 25% nu poate însemna prea mare lucru, dar odată ce faci asta și începi să miroși respectul pe care ți-l transmite muntele, optica devine diferită. Iar pentru un om obișnuit, chiar e brutal. Da,cuvântul acesta descrie cel mai bine acest concurs. 

Mi-a placut așa de mult conceptul, atmosfera de la concurs, alergătorii care se încurajau și se felicitau unul pe altul când se înâlneau pe traseu, încât mi-am promis, că începând cu următoarea săptămână de după concurs, am să încep pregătirea și în 2022 am să particip foarte bine pregătit și am să fac toate cele 18 ture în mai puțin de 24 de ore. Și asa am și făcut. 

Am strâns într-un an de zile 399 de alergări care în total însumau 3814  km alergați cu o diferență de nivel de peste 90.000 m. Am citit cărți, mi-am ordonat viața, mi-am planificat antrenamentele, am participat la mai multe curse pregătitoare printre care și două ultramaratoane de 52 și 87 km. Totul pentru a fi pregătit pe 6 August 2022. Această dată era pentru mine un eveniment ce urma să fie foarte important în viața mea. 

Și așa cum spunea o vorbă: “atunci când îți faci planuri universul râde de tine”, cu aproximativ zece zile înainte de cursă am simțit că răcesc. Am zis, o răceală, trece. Am mai avut o grămadă și cum au venit așa au și trecut. Dar după o zi m-am simțit scanat de răceală și mi-am dat seama că nu-i răceală, că-i covid (eram vaccinat dar și trecut prin boală așa că știam cum te face să te simți covidul). Mi-am făcut un prim test și a ieșit negativ. Am fost fericit că nu-i covid și mi-am văzut în continuare de antrenamente. N-am vrut să ratez nici un antrenament. Am vrut să fiu 100% în ziua concursului. Dar după alte două zile am simțit că merge tare greu un antrenamet relativ simplu. Mi-am mai făcut un test și am ieșit pozitiv. Simțeam că lumea se sfârșește, că cerul se coboară în întregime pe umerii mei. Imi ziceam că oricum Covidul trece în cinci zile si văd eu cum mă simt și pe sâmbătă mă duc la concurs. 

Mi-a trebuit aproape incă o săptămână în care să discut cu cei apropiați, cu antrenorul meu, Robert, ca să zic până la urmă că sănătatea e mai importantă ca orice. Eu de fapt alerg pentru sănătate, alerg pentru că îmi place și pentru că îmi doresc  să fac acest lucru până la adânci bătrâneți. 

Modelul meu este un senior din Baia Mare care la 90 de ani aleargă în fiecare zi peste 4 km. Am realizat că alergarea m-a învățat să fiu reziliant și să iau lucrurile așa cum sunt. Că a fi sănătos este cel mai important lucru, că bucuria de a alerga e peste rezultatul unei competiții, că antrenamentele sunt frumusețea alergării și că ele sunt grosul călătoriei noastre de alergători, că-i important să știm să pierdem, indiferent ce pierdem. Sunt recunoscător pentru această lecție și imi propun ca pe viitor să mă bucur de fiecare antrenament, de fiecare cursă și de fiecare zi în care voi putea sănătos să mă vâr în pantofii de alergare și să pornesc pe cărări și străzi, să savurez fiecare pas indiferent că-i ușor sau greu! 

TrailRunning Academy - logo


Planurilor de antrenament,

sfaturilor de cursă,


De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

Animo campeon!* Transgrancanaria 2022

Animo campeon!* Transgrancanaria 2022

Gicu Petrovay's Transgrancanaria 2022 story

Join the Tribe!

At the end of each month, we send out a newsletter that keeps you up to date with important events in the running world, gives you training ideas, and motivates you for your next competition.

I almost always train with my headphones on and listen to podcasts. In all the years of running I have gathered and learned a lot, but there are some that have remained written in capital letters and that you will remember forever. Someone once said that in an ultra you have a moment when you know for sure that you will finish. It was the first ultra in which I had that kind of moment.

“I did half of the climbs. We still have that much!” I told the boys. As soon as I said that, I knew I would finish. I knew that the brain, the most important organ in an ultra, would take me to the end. I still can’t explain why and how, but I knew then and there that it would be fine.

I was climbing through a pine forest with Paul and Gabi and checked the data on our watches. It was morning, I had probably ended the worst night of my life. The rain was pausing and, being in the woods, the fog was less visible. All that remained was the penetrating and persistent cold, the cold from which neither my clothes nor my running protected me. But let’s start with the beginning.

Trans Gran Canaria is one of the largest trail races in the world, being part of a circuit every year, such as the Ultra Trail World Tour or the Spartan Trail Race. It crosses the island from north to south, from Las Palmas, one of the two capitals of the Canary Islands, to the south, in Maspalomas, a resort bathed in sunshine all year round. Being of volcanic origin, the center of the island is a massive mountain range, with many branches. What is specific to Gran Canaria is that on a very small area you will find many extraordinary types of climate and vegetation. Within a 30-minute drive, you can drive from rainforests to sand dunes, from the humid, rainy climate of the northern half to the southern desert. The race is almost 130 km long and almost 7000 m positive level difference.

I arrived on the island two days before the competition and from the moment I landed I had a feeling of “home”. I have connected with the place from the beginning and I was sure that I will return several times. I’ve felt this in just a few places. The program for the two days was busy, with many organizational trips related to equipment, nutrition plans and meetings with fellow riders. I managed to sleep well, one of the most important things before such an effort.

The start is a festive moment, a show organized for runners and thousands of spectators standing in line on the 2 km from Playa de las Canteras where it all begins. There are percussion bands, a choir singing the island’s anthem, and games of lasers and lights. We meet Robert and exchange the latest information and head to our starting places. Robert is set to race mode, I always liked that about him, that he can be relaxed and ready to run like a running machine for 14 hours at the same time. Before the start, a selfie with Paul and Bogdan. Last picture in which we look decent…

TrailRunning Academy - logo

Join us!

Training plans, race tips,

the community!

3, 2, 1 and we’re off!

I have started with Paul too fast, but we try to get out of the platoon because we know that there are areas that we will not be able to overcome. It’s 11 at night and the beach and the seafront are full, it’s a carnival atmosphere. Our tricolor T-shirts, with ROMANIA, written big on the back, produce effects, I hear various nice remarks from those we run with. We also meet a runner from the Republic of Moldova, and we wish each other success. We leave the city and start the climb. Las Palmas remains bathed in light, we let it sleep.

The silence begins.

It’s a kind of silence at an ultra that you can rarely find in real life. It is something that comes from within when you manage to isolate the noises from the outside and you are left alone with your thoughts. It’s meditation, it’s introspection, it’s giving up the permanent external stimuli that keep our brains plugged in every day. This peace is addictive, it’s one of the things that makes me go back to long races, despite the inevitable suffering.

We left in shorts and a T-shirt, but as we advanced into the night, the cold began to set. We’re on a tropical island, but something doesn’t look right. A gust of cold wind coming from nowhere, a valley from which the cold air from the base does not come out and enters under your clothes. The rain, which will be with us all night, begins slowly. As we climb the mountains, it gets worse, as if nature is trying to stop us.

Although after finishing an ultra, in the coming weeks I remember very clearly all the climbs, all the descents and the discussions with my colleagues, the night in Gran Canaria was completely different. It no longer has a chronological thread, it’s just a collection of images, some stronger, others more erased, a drunkenness from which sensations and feelings return. I see Aloe Vera forests and cacti, dormant villages, some coquettish, some dilapidated, pine forests, valleys full of boulders, a 25% climb with so much mud that I was pulling trees so I could advance, a ridge on that the wind was blowing so hard that I couldn’t go in a straight line, a lot of falls and an incredible amount of water and MUD. Above all, a penetrating freeze and a cold rain that enters under your clothes and freezes your blood.

But one thing worked during the night: nutrition. There were 3 supply and hydration points, Arucas, Teror and Fontanales. I vaguely remember them, at Fontanales I tried an unsuccessful hot soup from which I tasted and threw it away. Otherwise, gels and sticks for 30 minutes, water and electrolytes, and as the electrolyte flask emptied, I filled it with Pepsi.

In the morning we were caught on a steep descent, on wet rocks, and then an ascent as well, to the El Hornillo hydration point, a small point where we stayed for less than 5 minutes. I was still through fog and rain but the light of day gave me a boost of energy and I was slowly leaving the night behind. After El Hornillo, as we climbed through a pine forest, I had the moment described at the beginning. From then on I knew I would finish, abandonment was ruled out!

Artenara is the feeding point located approximately halfway through the race, at km 65, arranged in a hall, protected from rain and cold, equipped with food, blankets, chairs, doctors and, most importantly, the possibility of transport to start or finish. Because of this it was a difficult threshold to cross for many competitors because of the 262 abandonments in the race, 85 were at this point. After a night of cold, rain and torment, I understood perfectly every runner who chose to stop here.

For me, Artenara was a good time. I am satisfied with the design of a plan and its perfect execution. Even though the plan itself wasn’t the best, as I was going to find it on my own skin, it helped me move on and leave the torment of the night behind. I knew that in the southern part of the island there is an arid, desert area and it rarely rains. Left alone, I decided that the only thing I would do was cross the mountains, to reach the southern slope. It didn’t matter after that, I had only one goal. So ambitious for this new plan, I took all my clothes off, even though they were wet, and started implementing my plan. I found a steady pace and, helped by the fact that the rain was getting rarer, I increased the pace and started to overtake competitors. We climbed and then descended to Tejeda, one of the most beautiful villages we have seen so far, and after the point in the central square of Tejeda we started the climb to the campsite El Garañon, where we had our drop bag. It was the first climb in the race where I felt it was no longer working. The brain wanted me to go at a pace, but my legs couldn’t. We had a few breaks without rain and even sunshine, but once we reached the ridge, the strong wind, rain and fog started again.

The drop bag helps in the ultra both logistically, with equipment and food, and psychologically. I left the El Garañon campsite with new, dry shoes, and some of the fatigue and wear was left in the drop bag, with the old equipment. I did a reset and started the last marathon. The weather was already much better, it was really hot, and the mud was replaced by dust and dry boulders. All that remained was the strong wind. The most emblematic point of the route followed, Roque Nublo.

Roque Nublo Transgrancnaria - Jordi Saragosa

Roque Nublo is a 67 m high volcanic rock, located on a mountain peak, being the third-highest peak on the island. It is a magnet for tourists and is visible from several points on the island, especially from the south. I saw it from a distance and started the loop that went around it with a descent that went well, then a torturous ascent on strong winds.

The passing of Roque Nublo was a new psychological threshold. This is where my plan ends, this is where I set out to be. If until now my only goal was to cross the mountains, once I managed that, I was a little confused. The accumulated fatigue caused all the determination and motivation to melt as soon as we reached the hydration point at Roque Nublo. Another problem was that from here I did not know very well the profile of the route. I knew that only a descent would follow in the sea, but I missed the fact that there were 3 more climbs which, although not very big, at the stage of fatigue accumulated until then, became the heaviest climbs in the race.

Another thing that has been constantly deteriorating over the days has been nutrition. The gels and sticks were getting harder and harder to eat, and I started eating chorizo bread and cheese from the check points.

It was a mistake because, although they tasted good, they were not digested at all, as I would find out later in the evening.

After Roque Nublo we climbed to the highest point of the route, then began a long and stony descent, as if placed there to chop finely what was left whole of the muscles and ligaments. 

As after 100 km of the race the judgment is not the clearest, I was sure that there is only one intermediate point, at Ayagaures, and then the finish. I knew that the last point on the dam was an accumulation lake, a lake that could be seen in the distance at the base of the mountain. 

But the road took a completely different direction, and I couldn’t explain why. I only realized when I got down to the village that I had forgotten about the Tunte supply point. I got there so tired and demoralized that I couldn’t eat anything. I stayed very little and took it on.

This was followed by the climb that consumed me the most psychologically, crossing a ridge between Tunte and Ayagaures. In addition to the extreme fatigue, it was already getting dark, I could not see where the road passed the ridge, and my body was listening to me less and less. I tried to think a little, clench my teeth and squeeze out what energy I had left. When I reached the top, I put on my headlamp and had my first equipment problem in the race. Although the battery normally lasts 16 hours, due to the extreme cold of the previous night, it was now almost discharged and was operating in emergency mode. So, in addition to being tired, I was also blind!

After a few swear words and a few “God help!” I started the descent. I strategically positioned myself behind a girl who was constantly running and had a better head lamp and I set out to hold on to her as much as I could. Because I was running on a very rocky path and I couldn’t see anything, I hit my feet in every way they could hit. That girl got acquainted with the darkest corners of the Romanian language..

In the end it was a good descent, of 7-8 km, run slowly but steadily. I arrived at the dam at Ayagaures dizzy, as if I were floating. I don’t remember what I did at that point, I just know that I wanted to go with the sticks of a German, forgetting that I had mine folded back in my waistcoat. I had about 15 km to go and I was not well at all. My legs were moving at their own pace, I couldn’t control them too much, my brain was in a panic, and my stomach was completely blocked, I couldn’t even drink water. A theoretically easy climb followed, but for me it was the hardest in the competition.

I was lucky enough to clear my stomach on the side of the road at the beginning of the climb. I mentally noticed that the ultra no longer eats chorizo and cheese and I went on a little better. From there until the end I at least managed to drink water again. I passed the last peak and started the descent towards the finish. What was supposed to be a pleasure run became a final torment, because the route did not lead to a road or a path, but through the dry riverbed, full of boulders. It didn’t help that I had almost no light at all.

I forgot about all at the entrance to Maspalomas, the lights in the Parque del Sur and the applause of the spectators at the finish. In the cheers of the crowd, I was surrounded by a bunch of locals, I was congratulated by the race director and the mayor, and the local press crowded to say a few words to me. A few girls, probably local models, were crowding around to take pictures for Instagram, and a few kids were asking for my autographs!

Or maybe I don’t remember well… After the finish line, after the spotlights on the last 50 meters it’s dark. The race announcer can still be heard, but it’s quieter. I found two chairs that I sat in with Lutz, the German with the sticks from Ayagaures with whom I had run the last 10 km together. We took our medals and finisher’s vests, we also took water in flasks and, for the first time in 24 hours, we were without any specific purpose. I just stayed.

Technical part for runners, with questions from Robert:

My brain helped me the most in this race. I finished it out of will, nerves and determination.

Two things need improvement, nutrition and core strength. I need more strength in my torso and I need to learn to eat at ultra.

Practice nutrition during long runs, test several types of gels. Maurten, no matter how good they are, there are only 2 types of gels.

Probably the night running through a totally anti-running weather. I passed because I had a time horizon ahead, I knew it was just a stage, I had to go through it and get to an area where it is no longer cold and not raining.

I finished the race only because halfway through it I had the revelation in the first paragraph. It was a good time. I was still resting, the real fatigue started around km 70-80.

I didn’t use the external battery at all, but I should have charged my headlamp. I took too many gels and bars, I don’t know if I should have taken less or eaten more. The clothes were the most useful, the cold blouse I bought last year from Chamonix became my favorite coat.

Echipament Transgrancanaria 2022

    • Altra Olympus 4 shoes on the first 90k, then Hoka Speedgoat 4 to the finish
    • HG T-shirt, Compressport blouse, Uglow raincoat
    • Nike tights, Decathlon trousers
    • Salomon 10L running vest with 3 Salomon 500ml flasks of which I used 2
    • Compressport Pro Racing socks
    • Leki Carbon sticks
    • Petzl Nao headlamp + Reactive Lighting
    • Maurten, SIS, Decathlon gels
    • Isostar electrolytes

*) Anime champion! you hear from spectators lined up on all roads, in all villages and at all intersections, at night, day, wind or rain. The people you most likely meet once in a lifetime are there to encourage you. A remarkable level of civilization and sports culture.

De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

First Edition of Rarau Everesting

First Edition of Rarau Everesting

The first edition of Rarau Everesting takes place on 30 April. 130 runners will attempt between 1 and 10 climbs on the summit of Rarau.

Join the Tribe!

At the end of each month we send out a newsletter that keeps you up to date with important events in the running world, gives you training ideas and motivates you for your next competition.

The idea behind the Everesting concept couldn’t be simpler: run up a hill until you reach 8,848m – the height of Mount Everest.

The reality is a relentless endurance battle that will push you to your physical and mental limits.

Achieve a level difference equal to Mount Everest and you’ll become a member of the RARE Everesting 8,848+ Elite Club.

For your Everesting attempt to be approved, you must:

  • Accumulate +8,848 m level difference;
    Follow the marked route to the summit of Rarau;
  • Descend the marked route from the summit of Rarau (same)
  • No sleep – you must complete the challenge in one period;
  • Breaks (eating, drinking, recharging) are included in your time;
  • You must reach the summit each time;
  • You must get down safely and return to base camp;
  • Time limit 30h max;

Everyone who makes at least 1 ascent will receive the FINISHER medal

Between 2 and up to 9 climbs, you will receive an engraving on the FINISHER medal with your name, time, and total accumulated elevation in the competition.

For 10 climbs you will receive the above + the special RARAU Everesting 8.848+ Elite Club trophy.

For the first edition of Rarau Everesting 130 participants are registered.

Leave a comment on how many athletes will climb 10 peaks of Rarau in less than 30 hours?

Running coach?

Let me teach you training, nutrition and competition tricks!

Antrenor Alergare - Hajnnal Robert
De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

New World Record at 100 km 06:05:41 by Alexandr Sorokin

New World Record at 100 km 06:05:41 by Alexandr Sorokin

Alexandr Sorokin set a new world record for the 100km distance at Centurion Running in the UK.
Robert Hajnal

Alexandr Sorokin from Lithuania sets a new world record for the 100km distance.

He ran this distance in 06:05:41 in the Centurion running event. The old record was 6:09:14 and belonged to Nao Kazami.

About a year ago in CarbonX, Jim Walmsley missed this record by less than 10 seconds.

Alexandr Sorokin is also the world record holder for the 24-hour run, running 309.4 kilometres at the end of August 2021.

Romania’s record holder for the 100 kilometres belongs to Iulian Filipov

He ran the 100-kilometer distance in 06:41. Like Sorokin, Iulian also holds the national 24-hour running record with a distance of 277.47km.

Looking for a Running Coach?

Let me teach you training, nutrition and competition tricks!

Antrenor Alergare - Hajnnal Robert
On our blog

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on Leave a comment

Boston Marathon results: Updated list of 2022 winners from all eight divisions

Boston Marathon results: Updated list of 2022 winners from all eight divisions

The 126th Boston Marathon will took place on April 18. Last year’s event was pushed from April to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the 2020 iteration of the competition was held virtually.

Last year’s champions were Benson Kipruto (men’s open), Diana Kipyokei (women’s open), Marcel Hug (men’s wheelchair) and Manuela Schar (women’s wheelchair), Zachary Stinson (men’s handcycles), Wendy Larsen (women’s handcycles), Chaz Davis (men’s para athletics) and Misato Michishita (women’s para athletics).

On the same subject

Boston Marathon results 2022

Men’s Wheelchair

FinishRacer (Country)Time
1Daniel Romanchuk (USA)1:26:58
2Aaron Pike (USA)1:32:49
3Johnboy Smith (United Kingdom)1:32:55
4Kota Hokinoue (Japan)1:34:06
5Patrick Monahan (Ireland)1:34:38

Women’s Wheelchair

FinishRacer (Country)Time
1Manuela Schär (Switzerland)1:41:08
2Susannah Scaroni (USA)1:46:20
3Madison De Rozario (Australia)1:52:48
4Yen Hoang (USA)1:55:27
5Jenna Fesemyer (USA)1:55:59

Men’s Handcycles

FinishRacer (Country)Time
1Alfredo Delossantos (USA)1:08:40
2Dustin Baker (USA)1:15:52
3Steve Chapman (USA)1:21:33
4Edmund Pires (USA)1:24:34
5John Masson (USA)1:26:50

Women’s Handcycles

FinishRacer (Country)Time
1Wendy Larsen (USA)1:35:10
2Devann Murphy (USA)1:48:23
3Dianne Leigh Sumner (USA)2:03:43
4Corey Petersen (USA)2:12:42
5Jessica Hayton (USA)2:20:32

Professional Men

FinishRunner (Country)Time
1Evans Chebet (Kenya)2:06:51
2Lawrence Cherono (Kenya)2:07:21
3Benson Kipruto (Kenya)2:07:27
4Gabriel Geay (Tanzania)2:07:53
5Eric Kiptanui (Kenya)2:08:47

Professional Women

FinishRunner (Country)Time
1Peres Jepchirchir (Kenya)2:21:02
2Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia)2:21:06
3Mary Ngugi (Kenya)2:21:32
4Edna Kiplagat (Kenya)2:21:40
5Monicah Ngigi (Kenya)2:22:13

Para Athletics – Men

Note: These are the top five finishers from all para athletics categories. 

FinishRunner (Country)Time
1Michael Roeger (Australia)2:25:42
2Marko Cheseto Lemtukei (USA)2:37:01
3Chaz Davis (USA)2:45:45
4Ary Carlos Santos (Brazil)2:46:37
5Andrew Thorsen (USA)2:49:46

Para Athletics – Women

FinishRunner (Country)Time
1Lisa Thompson (USA)3:47:25
2Liz Willis (USA)3:56:31
3Melissa Stockwell (USA)3:58:36
4Jennifer Herring (USA)4:04:29
5Jennifer Byers (USA)4:28:03

Click here to see complete results from the 2022 Boston Marathon.



The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events. The B.A.A. continues to manage this American classic, which has been sponsored by John Hancock Financial since 1986. The Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity, and method of gaining entry into the race (via qualification).


When Guy Morse took the reins of the B.A.A. in 1985, he was given a rotary phone and an empty office in the old Boston Garden. The days of the B.A.A. Games at the Boston Garden and the B.A.A. clubhouse were long gone, but the organization held onto its marquee event, the Boston Marathon, and the B.A.A. Running Club as the only two visible pieces of its illustrious past.

As race director, Morse and the B.A.A.’s Board of Governors attracted a principal sponsor for the Boston Marathon in John Hancock Financial and, with John Hancock’s assistance, instituted a prize money structure to help bring the world’s fastest runners to Boston. The change not only brought faster runners to Boston; it brought more runners to Boston. Since 1986, the men’s and women’s open division course records have improved a combined eight times and the field size has grown from 4,904 entrants to 30,000 in recent years. The Boston Marathon also attracts approximately 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event.

For the 100th running of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 1996, the B.A.A. worked for years ahead of time in cooperation with the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon course to appropriately commemorate the milestone. Through a one-time exception to field size constraints, a record 38,708 runners were given entry into the Centennial Boston Marathon. This single-time field size stood for seven years as the largest in marathon history.

Ten years later, the Boston Marathon partnered with the London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City marathons to collectively launch the Abbott World Marathon Majors. This series links the world’s most prestigious marathons and offers a $1 million prize purse to be split equally among the top male and female marathoners in the world each year. In 2013, the Tokyo Marathon joined as the sixth event in the Abbott World Marathon Majors series.

The progressive actions of the B.A.A. throughout the years have been reflective of the vision of the B.A.A. Board of Governors. Since the B.A.A.’s inception in 1887, the Board of Governors have voluntarily led the organization through good times and bad.

Through its dedicated leadership, the B.A.A. has demonstrated its commitment to and support of the Greater Boston area, especially the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon route. In 2013, the B.A.A. renewed its financial commitment to the towns of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, and Brookline, the cities of Newton and Boston, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, pledging a total of $2.7 million over a three-year term, with contributions increasing annually.


The runners of the selected charities of the B.A.A.’s Charity Program for the Boston Marathon raise more than $15 million annually and serve areas of need within Greater Boston. The funds and positive impact are important to the success of the B.A.A.’s mission, and the B.A.A. is proud to support these charities and their fundraising endeavors. With special regard to the field of Boston Marathon qualifiers, the B.A.A. has integrated its charity program into the race in an effort which recognizes the running community in and around the Boston Marathon, and the year-round philanthropic endeavors of the Boston Athletic Association. The Charity Program for the Boston Marathon began in 1989 when the American Liver Foundation became the first charity to receive official entries into the Boston Marathon. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute came aboard in 1990, and since then the program has grown to support at least 30 charities each year.

Looking for a Running Coach?

Let me teach you training, nutrition and competition tricks!

Antrenor Alergare - Hajnnal Robert

Did you like what you read?

If what you’re reading helps, buy a digital subscription. It’s the most direct form of support for our work in training, during the competition and afterwards when we write these articles. 

Runner by runner, we’re gathering a community that contributes and supports us in meeting the needs of other runners through our own stories of how we train, how we compete, how we relate, how we can change those around us through sport.

De pe blog.

Citește și:

UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

Posted on 1 Comment

Iulian Filipov: “Sport is in a symbiosis with family life.”

Iulian Filipov Morfelden-Walldorf

Iulian Filipov: “Sport is in a symbiosis with family life.”

Andrei Ivănescu

Andrei Ivănescu

Iulian Filipov proves that often the only limit is the one we set for ourselves: you can have a family, a nice career, not have been a competitive athlete and still run the 7th best 24h performance in the world.


Iulian Filipov is a specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He originally wanted to become a policeman, but in his last year of high school he decided to pursue medicine. Now, amidst attending national and international conferences in the field in which he excels, he has also stepped into the sports spotlight after breaking the national 100km road record.

Find out from TRA’s interview about how he got to practice this sport at a competitive level and, more importantly, how he managed to break a record, making history for Romania.

Iulian Filipov Record National 24h


I’d like to start directly with a clickbait: Iulian, how long have you been running and what are your best performances? Just so we know what we’re talking about right off the bat.

I started running in February 2018, but it was all about relaxing, short runs of up to 8-10km, without any performance goals in mind.

Of the results achieved so far, my PBs are as follows: marathon – 2:37:35, 100 km – 6:41:07, 24h – 277.475 km. 

Iulian Filipov, record national 24h

In the early fall of 2020 I believe you officially made your debut in performance sports, specifically the ultramarathon, flat niche. How did you feel during the race when you realised you were about to break the Romanian records for 100km and 6h?

Indeed, I realised that I have considerably better times in flat running than in trail running and set myself the goal of running 100km in under 7h, and my first competition was in Morfleden (Germany), where I ran 100km in 6:59:04 on a 400m track. Based on my training times, I knew I could run under 7:37h (which was the best 100km time in Romania), but my goal was to run under 7h, and I wasn’t convinced I could. 

After 6h I realised that I could achieve the desired time. Unfortunately there were no split times at 6h, neither in Germany (where I had run 88.4 km) nor in the Netherlands (where at 6h I had 90.74 km).


You seem to have an innate appetite for endurance. First your career as a doctor, which we know requires exceptional effort, hard work and focus, and now (very) long distance running. Where does all this inner drive come from, and what fuels it next?

 Indeed, determination and strength of concentration are attributes common to both running and operating room endurance. That’s not to say they are any kind of role model. The truth is that most of the time I’m really lazy. But if I have strong motivation, I generally succeed in achieving what I set out to do, and I hope to confirm this in the future.

7th fastest time in history over 24h. The first Romanian in history to finish 100km under 7h, and in September came the next fantastic result: 100km in 6:41h. From reliable sources, I heard he even got a cold. What records do you still want to break?

My best time at 100km seems to have come when I was least expecting it because of a cold. I coughed quite a lot in the first 60 km, after that I felt really good and as the atmosphere on the Winschoten course was great and the course was very fast, it resulted in a very good time. I want to run over 160 km in a 12h race, over 290 km in a 24h race and under 2:30h in a marathon. Knowing me, the last goal seems the hardest to reach.


Iulian Filipov was number 1 at the 100 km Ultramarathon in Morfelden-Walldorf, Germany. The athlete from Brasov won the competition in 6 hours, 59 minutes and 4 seconds. Filipov managed to break the national record for 6 hours running and is also the national 100 km record holder. The exceptional performance is all the more valuable as the man from Brasov has only been running for two years.

Iulian Filipov record 100km

After so many incredible figures, let’s not talk about the training figures. I’d still like to ask you, as between athletes… how’s your recovery? Any tips and tricks, for those who have little time but don’t neglect this aspect?

In training I try to have one or two long runs of 40-60 km per week and a minimum of one interval workout, and I try to keep the volume as close to 180 km per week as possible. Sleep and nutrition are the most important controllable variables influencing recovery, especially when limited time doesn’t allow you to introduce other procedures that facilitate recovery.

On nutrition I can honestly and openly say that in the fight against sweets I am a glutton and an absolute loser, no matter how much effort I put into wanting to tip the scales towards a better BMI (Body Mass Index). As for sleep, I try to squeeze in 15-20 minutes of power nap between appointments in the second half of the day after hospital work.

Clearly, you can’t do it all alone. The saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think it can also be applied to athletes: you need to have people close to you who support, understand and, above all, appreciate you. How important was and is the support of those close to you on the road to performance?

The reality is that when you have the understanding of those close to you (or, why not, tolerance at other times) your sporting activity is symbiotic with your family and professional life. That’s not to say it’s easy to cram time for loved ones, profession, sport and recovery into 24 hours. It is a perfectible exercise whose drive lies in everyone’s desire to place themselves at a certain level, be it social, professional or sporting. And if the energy put into it finds a favourable contextual framework, I believe it can be done.

Did you like what you read?

If what you’re reading helps, buy a digital subscription. It’s the most direct form of support for our work in training, during the competition and afterwards when we write these articles. 

Runner by runner, we’re gathering a community that contributes and supports us in meeting the needs of other runners through our own stories of how we train, how we compete, how we relate, how we can change those around us through sport.

Call for comments! 

Posted on Leave a comment

ISTRIA 100miles by UTMB®

ISTRIA 100mile 2022

ISTRIA 100mileS by UTMB®

Are you ready for a 170-kilometer adventure in Istria, Croatia? We’ve put together a series of photos from the 100-mile route around the Croatian peninsula. The route goes from sea level to 1400meters, through villages paved with cubic stone, vineyards and olive trees hundreds of years old, picturesque hills.

Live update

The Winner!
Alexandra & Vlad, the media team in Bucharest thanks you!
Favoritul #1 pe locul #1 cu doar 20km până la finish. Hai Robert!
CP Buzet (km 100). Robert ajunge primul, urmat de Roberto Matrotto (IT) după mai mult de 34 minute.
O noapte ploioasă îi animă pe concurenții #Istria100miles. Robert este așteptat în punctul de control - Poklon (km 52) în aproximativ 20 de minute (23:22, ora României). Acolo va fi întâmpinat cu o supă caldă pregătită de echipa de suport, dar și cu „merindele” pentru următoarea porțiune din traseu.
Robert a intrat în CP la km 35 aproape umăr la umăr cu urmăritorul său Sange Sherpa. Cam atât a petrecut Robert în acest punct.
Robert Hajnal la Istria 100mile 2022
Robert ajunge în Plomin - practic până aici a fost încălzirea 🙂
Plomin Luka checkpoint - primii concurenți urmează să sosească
Echipa de suport este în așteptarea lui Robert la Plomin Luka - km 15,6
ISTRIA 100mile 2022
Start race
Robert Hajnal ISTRIA100mile 2022
#1 la câteva minute înainte de start

Antrenează-te cu Robert!

Stabilește o video conferință gratuită!