LINDA TEKELIOVÁ SHONE ON ISTRIA: IT WAS A MASSACRE
17. 04. 2019
Her nails had fallen off and she could not stand on her feet at all. It was worth the toil, though! Linda Tekeliová from Kilpi Racing Team dominated the rough 100 miles of Istria race in Croatia at the weekend and she finished first in her category. Together with her racing partner, René Kaleta, they managed the portion of four marathons in a single day in 18 hours. “The conditions were terrible, I had not experienced anything like that,” 41-year-old Linda described the situation. Thank God she was wearing Kilpi sportswear, as she had to fight strong wind and even snow on the mountain peaks on the Istria peninsula, a renowned holiday resort in Croatia.
How do you feel after such a tough race?
“I'm OK, only my nails have fallen off and I have blisters all over my soles. (she smiles) I still haven't realized that we made it.”
What was the worst part?
“The summit of Vojak peak. It was snowing heavily, the gale was blowing, simply horrible. The conditions were truly awful. I had not experienced anything like that before. Not even when I took part in the 24-hour race on Lysá mountain.”
How did you distribute your energy and strength?
“I and my partner saved our strength at the beginning but then we went full speed. The terrain in the other half was awful, we had to wade through water four times while we still had some 80 kilometres to go.”
That must have been cruel...
“That's why I have the blisters. Running down the hills was harsh, there was mud everywhere and the slopes were steep. It was probably the most demanding race I had ever experienced. I am happy that all went well in the end, though.”
Was it mainly about having a strong will?
“I think that my head is well-trained after all the years of racing. I don't give up when I feel a stab of pain. As far as the nails are concerned, I already felt them separating from the matrix in the course of the race. I knew I could not take my socks off as it would have made it even worse. I just changed the shoes sometime in the middle of the race. An idea was running through my mind: ‘It hurts a lot but I will somehow make it to the finish line’.”
You have to be used to things like this, don't you?
“My health is always the top priority. If I had felt I could hurt myself, I would have withdrawn from the race. The pain is a part of it. One knows it is something that heals in two weeks.”
Did you have enough information about the race in advance? Like what the route would be?
“Not at all. We had to move at snail's pace for the first twenty kilometres, we could go neither left nor right as there were too many people. They got stuck. The terrain was varied; it was a pity that we could not enjoy it very much, as we had started at 4 A.M. and it was all dark. When dawn came, I really enjoyed myself. The countryside was beautiful. It was rough on Vojak, too. It was snowing, the wind was howling, simply a massacre.”
When did the greatest crisis come?
“As far as the physical condition is concerned, we had no crisis with Rendík. I had expected it to be much worse, there was not a single moment of us not having any strength. It is all about training. You must work out hard in order to be prepared for all the races. Even the harshest ones. Moreover, we have pills against cramps and various gels for regeneration. We are really careful from this point of view.”
What does it feel like running in a pair?
“We have never argued. I never take it as a matter of life and death. My approach to each race is that I want to show that I can make it. And also draw on the training that I have. So it is not about winning, it is just that I love running.”
What is ahead of you now?
“There is the 113-kilometre Scenic Trail in Switzerland in two months. Then there are other races in the Czech Republic, like the Beskydská sedmička. I have received offers to take part in other trails abroad, so I will see. The most important thing is to draw new strength.”
How did you get to running?
“I have loved sports since my childhood. As a child at school, I would take part in school races and I would win most of them. My only problem was asthma, so I did not do sports on the top level. Which is maybe good. Who knows what my health condition is. It is probably good that I started later. I have been running actively in the mountains for the last seven or eight years and I no longer have any problems with breathing.”