Marek M (Pol) – A 2021 Beast

After the first edition of 2020 aspired to be one of the most demanding running events in Romania. This year’s novelty – the BEAST run, i.e. 180 km with a total elevation of 9600 m+ – even before the start was said that it could be the most difficult race in this country. Was that really the case? Read Marek Matuszewski’s report.


I rested after the run, so it’s high time to scrape something into our running diary. The relationship will be long, because the run was long and I experienced a little on it. At the end of last year, I was interested in an article on the runandtravel.pl portal (http://runandtravel.pl /bucovina-ultra-rocks-2021-romania/) about the festival organized in Romania – Bucovina Ultra Rocks 2021.

The website of the organizer Bucovina Ultra Rocks cool, distances too. Well, if I have to go that far, I sign up for the longest BEAST distance of 180 km. It was only after registration that I learned that the word BEAST means Beast!!! The first red light came on, but I’m not a wimp.

Closer to the start, I start analyzing the route, conditions, weather and threats. I turn on more red lights – a lot of elevations, because almost 10,000 up., heat, and wild routes and not necessarily friendly animals, such as teddy bears and shepherd dogs guarding pastures.

Full of fears, I set off with my family in a car on the way to Romania. We divide the route into two days. The Carpathian route to Romania near the border with Moldova is very nice scenic, winding. After 12 hours from Chyrowa near Krosno we reach the starting point in Campulung Moldovenesc in the evening, the day before the event.

Fortunately, I have a daughter Blanka with me, who gets along well in English and arranges my briefing at the competition office. I get the number 16, which as I understood well is awarded according to the ITRA ranking and this Performance Index, everyone has on the starting number – I find out that I have 556.

At breakfast at the hotel I eat a hearty meal. Next to the table sit two runners from Romania – you can see that such cut-outs. They eat a little cake and apricot, and I eat a bun with ham and scrambled eggs. I sit scared and stressed, to which Gosia says to me: Don’t break the kitten, you have fuel in you, and we’ll see how long they get on this apricot.” As it turned out later – she was right.

52 madmen from Romania and 2 Poles set off on the Bucovina Ultra Rocks 2021 tour

On July 30 at 9.00 – without any acclimatization – I set off on a 180-kilometer route full of fears, with a full backpack and a full belly. Together with me, 52 other madmen from Romania and another Pole Stanisław Olbryś. Together with Stanisław calmly, somewhere at the end of the stakes, we start the expedition.

I get to know the colorful life of a new running friend and so after 9 kilometers I leave him and turn on my cruise control. It is mega hot, in front of me the first heavy 50-kilometer section with three peaks of about 1700 m + (it’s like at the beginning to pass the 3xŚnieżka run). Only on Śnieżka a man runs on the trail, and here…… MASSACRE.

The trail is wilderness, meadows, gorges and confluences on partially dried streams. I count the sharp soil on a wet branch, marking the thigh with a beautiful bruise. It hurts, but I know it will stop, because everything will hurt after a while.

The tour resembles the one from the old Ultra Babia Góra festivals. Twice I quite efficiently pass the peak of Rarau (1649 m above sea level.m), and the last of these heavy ascents is the vertical ascent of Bogolinn (1748 m above sea level.m). This entrance is Armageddon – for a distance of 4 kilometers I climb to the top 1000 meters higher. From that moment on, I try to move with the locals, because the night is approaching, and I am a little afraid of the local moderately friendly animals.

At an altitude of about 1600 meters in a sincere remote area and forest, we pass a lonely horse. I’m shocked, and the Romanian woman in front of me says it’s NORMA… Not for me. Night falls, and the group in which I run slows down and stops at a well-stocked point.

Remark! Bear on the route!

I move on my own quite briskly, trying to catch up with the other runners in front of me. From a distance in the dark I can hear gunshots, honking, whistling. I reach a noisy nutritional point for 64 km of the route. She serves him as a volunteer Oxana with her family. Oxana knows how to speak Polish because she cooperates with the company where Gosia works. We sincerely greet each other and I can finally exchange a few words after “ours”. Unfortunately, I learn from her that a bear was seen at a distance of 12 km and that’s why they make so much noise. Damn, what to do?! Should I go alone or wait for slower runners? I decide that I’m going on the road alone. Oxana advises me to make noise, that is, whistle every now and then and tear myself. Well, I push after the night, because it’s cooler and I whistle, I yell, I talk to myself like an abnormal man.

It’s ok. Until I crawl out of the forest into a clearing with cows, which is guarded by a bunch of huge shepherd dogs. I give a step, and they approach me and eat. In fear, I call Gosia and sit in the forest waiting for the slower ones. And so 30 minutes passed in the wait. Coming. The ones I left behind before. I follow them, they shine lasers on the dogs’ eyes, they give Romanian commands, and somehow we pass three groups of shepherd animals. The positive side of this situation is that I don’t want to sleep out of fear and emotion.

I reach the repack. There I dress up panties, because these so far something to me wżynają in du.sko. I eat soup and ready to wait for the runners who will move from the point further into the night. But there are no volunteers…. Some declare that they are finishing, and others are sick. I’m not going to “steed” anymore and I don’t want to move alone at night. So I wandered another 20 minutes until the park of runners I knew set off on the route.

When it became clear we reach the highest peaks on the route, such as over 2000 m +. Of course, at the most important moment, one of the folding poles breaks down for me. He stays on the highest approaches without poles. At the top, the merciless heat kills me and pulls out the last layers of energy. I’m trying to run, but I don’t really think it’s where.

Finally, I reach the long-awaited Cabana Retitis shelter. However, these are not such shelters as in Poland. There, in one room on the table are spread out things for us, and against the wall there are two sofas. I cut something in there, load the water bottles, seal the first bubbles with gel patches and lie down for 20 minutes. However, before I squinted, a park of runners I know reaches the shelter. They talk loudly, so it’s after my dream. In sign language, I ask when they move on. I find out that they end up here. Well, it’s beautiful! I was probably the last one on the route. From Gosia I learn that I am probably 16th and it is hard to say how far away someone is in front of me or someone else behind me at all.

A friend from Romania gives me his one stick, because his other one is also destroyed. The stick is 10 cm shorter than mine, but still better than the wooden one found on the route. I move alone in fear and apprehension of the next night. I want to get as soon as possible to the only large town on the 145 km of the Vatra Dornei route. There will be a repack and there is the only point where I can meet Gosia. Somehow, even in a decent form, the second day passes.

I’m looking forward to the evening to make it cooler. Before it gets dark, I meet four volunteers who are making noise in the forest because a bear was seen nearby again. About fuck… They suggest that he get a muse from his phone, which I do quickly. Unfortunately, with darkness comes a terrible storm. The trees bow so much in the wind that they literally say good morning to me. Through wet glasses I can not see anything. It gets cold and foggy. I’VE HAD ENOUGH. I find that I am going down and going by car with Gosia to the hotel.

Miraculously, I grope down the ski slope straight to a point in a warm hut, which is also a nutritional point. Gosia hugs me in the middle of the slope, and I declare to her that I have had enough and it’s my end. Unfortunately, Gosia does not accept this. He tells me that I will regret it, that there are probably only 11 of us on the route, that I will eat warm pizza, that it will stop raining, that he has new poles for me, that there is another parka sitting on the point and they will definitely come out with me. And most importantly – for me from Oxana has such a Romanian device for scaring off animals. It’s a pistol like a stun gun that sparks, shines with a laser and makes noise. And so my dream of a crib burst like a soap bubble.

In a hurry, I put more bubbles, eat something there, and Blanka gets along in English with a park of young runners to take care of her daddy at night. I ripped with these two on the route. They brew like crazy. I can bend so much from 7 km, and then thank you for the fight, because I will not reach the finish line. I get along that it’s OK, that somehow I can still manage on my own. The truth is that I am in a mega crisis.

I have to lie down somewhere, but where? Here is the forest, the forest and the wilderness. Finally, I choose a clearing and spread the NRC film on wet low bushes. I call Gosia to wake me up in 15 minutes. I wrap myself in gold magic foil and try to fall asleep. And so after a while I hear some noise and movement in the bushes. I get up at lightning speed and fuck from there. In this way, for the second time I did not manage to fall asleep at all on the route.

In fatigue in the dark and with a worse working flashlight (I did not take the battery from the repack to spare) I wander mercilessly. I somehow manage to reach the last theoretically higher peak of Giumalau (1857 m above sea level.m). Somewhere from the middle of the summit, the problem begins – the mountain is covered by a dark cloud. It blows terribly, it rains and you can’t see it for a meter. I follow the GPS track from the watch and check the altitude so as not to fall from the top. Finally, I bang my head on the tent of the checkpoint. There is no one in it, but you can see that someone knew what was going to happen, because the tent was secured with weights and closed for four triggers. I go to it for a cham, because in it I have the only opportunity to put on everything I have in my backpack. I’m trying to bounce back with a timing device, but the battery of this device has probably sat down from the cold. On all fours, after some time, I leave the tent and grope to find my way down. Somehow I manage to do it, but….. 200 meters lower I realize that I left Gosia poles on top. I find that I do not go back there again and descend from the steep peak without them. The lower it is, the milder the weather.

Unfortunately, at 6 am the organizer’s phone rings me. I do not understand the guest’s tooth and I find that he probably calls, because I had to confuse the trail from the last peak. I don’t know how, but somehow I agreed (on the phone) that my daughter would call him in a moment. They wake Gosia and Blanka up and in nerves I tell them to call the organizer. Blanka agrees that I have to send a dump of the GPS track. After a moment of nervous waiting, I get a message that I am on the trail, and the Lord called because he was afraid that I was actually lost on this Giumalau, because a volunteer called him that in this terrible weather he overlook.

In pain, I reach the finish line area. I have corns on my whole feet. I’m exhausted and it gets hot in the morning. Just before the finish line, Gosia and Oxana come out for me. Everyone is super proud of me.

Running to the finish line I am greeted like a winner, and it turns out that I am the last. I’m in 9th place out of 52 weightlifters who went to the start of this wyrypy. All nine, including two women, are invited to the stage, and the fans look at us with admiration and applaud for a long time. Even these two runners from the hotel admire me, because they – as Gosia predicted – went off the route. On the apricot they did not give advice. This run is a real HardCore – and I’ve known my limit of endurance and my fear.

Bucovina Ultra Rocks 2021 Player Decoration

This run is completely different from those organized in Poland. Personally, I consider completing this race to be my personal greatest success. I recommend Romania to everyone – it made a great impression on me, definitely better than the one I had before leaving. I feel like I’ll be back here again, but probably not for this BEAST!

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