Ultra Hike for Health in Bulgaria - a blog by Maria Assenova

On the 14th of July I participated in an ultra-marathon, a 100km trail running around Vitosha mountain near Sofia.

The competition started at midnight, when I took my stand at the start line with more than 500 competitors, ready to run and walk all night, all day long. An hour before the start rain poured out over Sofia, predicting a very muddy trail in the forest. And so it was! Hour after hour in the darkness, the light coming from my head torch illuminated only steep muddy hills in from of me. The 50 km middle station welcomed me with the first sun rays, some fresh cucumbers and a chocolate (a very delicious combination indeed!) and a calling pain in my left leg. I tried not to pay attention to it and continued further until I was not able to walk at all.

These kind of ultra-distance competitions are not only a physical challenge, but are an inner ,fight’ with yourself. Especially when every painful step in the mud confirms the irrationality of your action, only the inner voice “I can do it” makes it happen at the end. I retreated at the 85km after 15:30h of struggle in mud and pain. My legs gave up before my mind just 15km before the final. This was my hardest race ever and the hardest decision to stop walking so close to the goal. But despite this fact I felt happy cause after all I was able to make 2 trail marathon distances at once and I want to dedicate my achievement to the Hike4Health cause.
Because sport is not only a competition, competitions are not only for professionals, and the ordinary people could run, and yes, they could run also 100kms. Because sport in its pure form, is after all everyone’s can Hike 4 Health especially for such a great cause – the medical facility in Ol Maisor!