It's the start of the pre-season for outdoor sports & activities here in Europe. This means that we're all making plans for 2016 and getting into shape to be able to fulfill them. Perhaps you've already heard that trekking and hiking in Transylvania is quite spectacular and you're thinking to include it in your adventure trip or holiday for this year.
Trekking in Transylvania has always been a favorite activity for Romanians for a long time now. In the passing years, more and more trail running competitions have surfaced and gained in popularity. From short distances to marathons and ultra- marathons, there are races out here for all levels of experience.
Here's my list of the best 6 trail running competitions I enjoyed running in Romania.
6. Apuseni Marathon, 28th May 2016
Apuseni Marathon msg systems offers the trail running lovers four routes that traverse small mountain villages, hills, rivers and peaks of the Apuseni mountains. Trail running afficionados of all ages are awaited at Muntele Băișorii mountain resort base camp, to join one of the two technical challenges, the 43,7 km marathon or the 21,1 km half marathon, plus the 7,2 km cross or the family challenge where children accompanied by parents run together and share the joy of the outdoors.
More info & registration: www.maratonapuseni.ro/en/
Why go? The views from the Apuseni Mountains are unique even in Romania.
5. Via-Maria-Theresia Marathon, 13th August 2016
“Via Maria Theresia Marathon” Competition has 3 components: Marathon, Half-Marathon and Mountain-Biking, but spectators and the ones who only want to join the hike are also welcome.
The Maria Theresia road is located at approximately 1760 m high altitude, with 7 different access points on its track. However, the Start line will be at the former Brimstone quarry in the Calimani Mountains and the Finish line at Piatra Fântânele, in Bistrița-Năsăud county.
The participants are expected at the Start line an evening before the competition for a technical meeting where we will announce thorough details about the track and the competition. We can recommend hosting places to all of the participants, we are providing the mean of transportation between the start and the finish lines and we put at their disposal a mountain trail that is unique in the country.
More info & registration: www.via-maria-theresia.ro/competitie/?lang=en
Why go? Run on a historical trail, multiple course and various sports options.
4. Eco-Marathon, 7th May 2016
Official description: There are two races you can do: Marathon - approximately 42 km, 2.400 meters elevation gain, 9 hours time limit; Cross - approximately 14 km, 600 meters elevation gain, the same as the first loop of the marathon. There are a number of touristic attraction in the area such as Cheile Gradistei (Gorges), Rasnov Fortress, Bran Castle, Fundata, Brasov City, Poiana Brasov mountain resort. Because the parking area in the center of Moieciu de Sus is very limited we recommend those who arrive by their personal cars Saturday morning to park them in the area before the main entrance in Moieciu de Sus. On the right hand side of the road, before the entrance to Moieciu de Sus, is a place marked by the organizers where you can park your cars.
More info & registration: www.ecomarathon.ro/?lang=en
Why go? One of the most popular trail running competitions in Transylvania, spectacular views, great atmosphere, multiple options to spend the time before/after competition.
3. Piatra Craiului Marathon , 2nd October 2016
Official description: Piatra Craiului Marathon has just celebrated its 10th edition. When the time has passed? It seems like yesterday, 45 pens wrote the first lines of the Carpathian Mountain running history. Hundreds of questions, emotions and thoughts took the start in what in only ten years, has become an incredible movement. Week by week, the mountain runners caravan explores the nature and beauty of the entire Romanian Carpathians arch. For me, for you, for us ... the MPC is a new morning, it's another life. There's one track with a length of 41 km and a elevation gain of 2.200 meters.
More info & registration: www.carpathianman.ro/event_page.aspx?crt=4&mnu=41
Why go? One of the first trail running competitions in Romania, a spectacular community, a breathtaking scenery in the Piatra Craiului Natural Park.
2. 2x2 Race, 19th August 2016
Official description: INOV-8 2X2 RACE is the only race in Romania that has the complete track at an altitude above 2000 meters, being extremely technical and surely one of the most difficult mountain ultra-marathons in the world.
The course has 45km length and 4200m vertical climb and takes the competitors on the two highest peaks in Romania, Moldoveanu (2544m) and Negoiu (2535m), on top of the spectacular ridge of the Fagaras Mountains.
On August 20th 2016 at 6:00 a.m. (GMT +2), the start is programmed to take place at Balea Lac, heliport area, in front of the Paltinul Chalet.
More info & registration: www.2x2race.com/en/2x2/
Why go? Although it's one of the younger races, it's definitely one of the hardest. Do this race if you're looking for a challenge and an epic, high altitude track.
1. Marathon 7500, Bucegi National Park, 14th July 2016
The Nature Protection and Tourism Club (CPNT) organizes, between 14th to 17th of July 2016, the 8th edition of Marathon 7500 – a competition that involves running 90 kilometers on the marked trails in the beautiful Bucegi Mountains, measuring over 7.500 meters of height gain, in a time limit of 35 hours.
For those discouraged by these numbers, we’ve prepared the Hobby section, where teams run “only”45 kilometers with 3.700 meters height gain, but with only 14 hours to finish.
Marathon 7500 is, first of all, a mountain race, which only goes on marked tourist trails, with additional markings only where necessary.
More info & registration: www.marathon7500.ro/?lang=en
Why go? The 90 km track, with 7.500 meters elevation gain is the toughest of the traditional trail running competitions in Romania. If you think you can handle 25+ hours in the outdoors, brutal ascents, technical, never ending descents, than this is a race for you.
What's your favorite trail running competition?