A good result in the Ephesus 61k event in Turkiye

The trail racing season started for Mirsie last weekend. This was the Ephesus 61k event. It started and finished in Selcuk in south west Turkiye and which went through the ancient city of Ephesus. Built in the 10th century BC it’s a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mirsie admittedly wasn’t in the greatest of form and suffered from stomach cramps during the race. Nevertheless she finished second in her age group and in the top ten of female finishers. Result! She said afterwards:

“I had done very little training… however it was a very pleasant trail with lots of beautiful wild flowers and olive groves…. A lovely atmosphere.”

She’s now off training in the Greek National Park of Mount Olympus to get ready for her Istria 100k UTMB race in Croatia next month.


Races in 2023

We’ve been enjoying some unseasonal warm weather, first in Greece and now in Turkyie. I’ve been enjoying taking it easy and putting in some smaller runs and doing more hiking.

I’ll start building up my training as I prepare for these races in 2023:

  • Istria 100k by UTMB, Croatia
    Saturday, 15 April
  • Ultra-Trail Snowdonia by UTMB – 100K
    Saturday, 13 May
  • Val d’Aran 100k by UTMB®
    Friday, 7 July

There are several other trail events which I’ll fill in with as we continue to explore southern Europe. More on these as they happen!

Mount Olympus National Park, Greece

Exploring the Accursed mountains of Kosovo

The last couple of days have been spent exploring around Peja with Kevin and Ruth. They are authors of the popular travel blog: travelwithkevinandruth.com

We’ve been to visit the White Drin waterfall and local caves in the Zhelb mountain. The caves date back over 2 million years and were formed by an underground river. They’re inhibited by a huge colony of bats and were previously inhabited by humans. In fact parts of the cave network have recently been closed off as the remains of two young children have been discovered. They’re thought to date back over six thousand years.

Yesterday we met the hugely knowledgeable and charming mountain guide – Nol – from Balkan Natural Adventures. https://bnadventure.com/ He provided directions to several local Via Ferranca routes on the rocky massifs of the Rugova Gorge. He hired us the kit we needed to tackle them and we set up with a slight feeling of trepidation.

We loved Via Ferranca! Progress up and across the mountain was slow as we unhooked and hooked ourselves in to the cable bolted to the mountain face. With the sun in our faces and feeling courageous we ascended the rock face to 1,000m. The day ended with a celebratory meal enjoying various local Pec specialities washed down with Peja beer.

Today we’re back in the mountains with Kevin and Ruth for a hike to enjoy the autumnal colours and some steep ascent.

Mirsie races the Julian Alps 100k event in Slovenia

I travelled to Kranjska Gora in Slovenia to race the Julian Alps 100 mile event on 16th September. It was to be the last event of the season and, as it was part of the UTMB World Series, it was a big one!

Mirsie at the start of the Julian Alps 100k race

However as we arrived the weather turned bad with heavy rain the day before the event. It also began to snow on the mountain peaks. On the advice of mountain rescue the organisers called off the 100 mile event just three hours before the start. Instead I then opted to race the 100k event that evening. Expecting it to take around 24 hours we started in the dark at 9pm in heavy rain, with spirits lifted with the rousing tunes of the local brass band.

Julian Alps 100k

As we steadily climbed to higher altitude during the night we experienced all kinds of weather. From heavy rain and wind to extreme cold and snow. Conditions became increasingly dangerous with numerous call outs to mountain rescue to help with broken bones and hypothermia. Once conditions worsened further the rescue helicopters were prevented from flying. At that point the organisers had no option but to call off the race. We were shepherded to the next check point and then bused back to the start. A disappointing end to the event but completely understandable in the circumstances. Time to rest, travel on and begin to plan for 2023.

Mirsie makes the podium at the Ucka Trail Race, Croatia

We turned up at Mošćenička Draga,, a beautiful fishing village in Istria, Croatia to watch the Golden Trail series Croatia national final. On the off chance they might accept a couple of late entries we asked and they said yes! I entered the 16k race while Mirsie took part in the main marathon event. It was a lovely sunny day and 300 competitors across several races started from the harbour. Mirsie was delighted to find herself finish on the podium not once but twice! She was third female overall and first in her age group. Congratulations!

David finishes the Ucka Trail 16k
David finishes the Ucka Trail 16k

A concert in the Dolomites

Occasionally while hiking in the mountains we spot an opportunity to do something different. In the small town of San Martino Di Castrozza, near Trento in the Dolomites we were offered tickets to a concert featured in the I Suoni delle Dolomiti Festival. The cappella singing group – Accent – performed a mix of covers and their own melodies to a full house of locals and tourists. They were brilliant! Charismatic, funny and sang in great voice. More on their YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/AccentVocal

Taking part in the UTMB TDS race

I started the TDS race from Cormayeur at midnight Tuesday AM (23rd August 2022). The race is designed to test you every which way: mentally and physically. It’s beautiful all the way.

I found it challenging. Physically I felt fine but mentally it was difficult due to lack of sleep. As I ran through my second night of continuous running I felt I was sleep walking. Due to the challenging ridges I felt it best to stop racing after 100k and 24 hours and 37 minutes. David met me at Beaufort feed station with the van and within half an hour of arriving there I was sound asleep.

The 90 mile TDS event may be shorter than the 100 mile UTMB race but it is a notoriously tough race. It’s extremely well organised one with clear route navigation and plentiful feed stations. I’m now very familiar with the route and better understanding the challenges involved in completing it. Would I do that race again? Yes I would!

Exploring the mountain trail from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to le Passeur de Pralognan

A lovely hot run up the mountain with a pause to watch the paragliders launch themselves from the mountain top at 2,567m. It was very steep and tough going from the start yet with beautiful views back down towards Bourg.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned

Mirsie competes in the Montreux Trail Festival: MXTREME 110K

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
Its called MExtreme for a reason. It was Extremely tough, up in the remote Swiss Alps, This event was part of the Montreuxmountain running festival. The race started in Bex and finished in Montreux. It was a very challenging race with a small field of just 400 competitors, (half of them did not finish).. With 8,000m of ascent it was a beautiful course with extremely beautiful views. I hadn't trained enough for this race but managed to complete it safely and in one piece. My finishing time was 25h.22m. My leader board position was 9th female and 49th finisher overall...Time to recover now. 🙂❤🏔🏃‍♀️☕. PS. The last four miles my watch battery died.