Having participated in the two latest editions of Xreid where we ran across the Hardangervidda plateau, I was pleased when the announcement came that this year the venue would be Senja. Norway’s second largest island with lots of raw terrain and plenty off peaks to climb. The route was planned at 122k with a total elevation off 5.500 meters. The predicted winning time was 15-hours in the press release and later adjusted to 18-20 hours. It turned out a little bit different…
Kierat came up about a year ago when I was browsing around for races. Noted it in the back off my head as a possibility but it was when my running and travel buddy Jakob found out he wanted a Western States lottery ticket and wanted to use Kierat to get it that it ended up in my calendar.
The race has a different approach than most other races and are basicly a 100km orienteering race with 3500 meters of elevation on paper. What you end up with in terms of distance and elevation is up to you on the basis of route choice and your abilities to follow that route while racing. You are given a map with the checkpoints plotted maximum 6 hours before the start, which gives you enough time to plan and mark your route before starting. You are also allowed to use a GPS and others maps if you want. To get the Western States ticket, you have 27 hours to complete the course, but 30 hours is the official time limit.
I was going to Warsaw on a work trip and had planned a longrun in the weekend in preparation for Kierat two weeks later. After a bit of searching on routes that would be decent without to much of the hard stuff I somehow landed on finding a race nearby.
After a lot off searching I found a site who gave me the best results for races in Poland. (http://www.maratonypolskie.pl/)
Ultramarathon Kampinoski was perfect for the run I was planning, 55 km on mostly forest tracks without to much technical terrain. Entry was a bit difficult since the sign-up page did not have any payment options for foreigners. The organizers was quick with replies to messages on facebook and entry was secured. Information on the race webpage was only in polish, but google translate managed to do a decent job. Any of my other small questions where handled by email and facebook. The only thing I had to do was to collect my bib at a sports shop i Warsaw and be at the race HQ early on race day.