MARTIN NYTRA GAINED MORE THAN A PRECIOUS SILVER MEDAL AT HOCHKÖNIGMAN ULTRATRAIL
06. 06. 2019
The route of the race had been marked in advance, so during the Friday morning warm-up I was curiously examining the first climb and it was clear to me that this race would not be a walk in the park. I had ascended 170 m in the first 2 km and I was still looking at all the surrounding hills from below. At noon I quickly picked up my number and went to sleep. The race was scheduled to start at midnight, so I needed to accumulate as much energy as possible.
The atmosphere at the starting line was absolutely electrifying. The music, the fans, the other racers... you could cut the tension with a knife. However, this time I was somehow sure that I would do well.
3, 2, 1… GO!
The guys in the leading group wasted no time and set out at an incredible pace! Not for nothing had I trained the pace, so I kept on their heels trying to shadow them as much as possible. We ran through the first refreshment point without slowing down for a moment and I started to realize that I wouldn't last long like that.
The second refreshment point awaited us after 22 km and 1,500 ascended meters. We ran through it in a time that was slightly below 2:20. Monča was waiting for me there with the bottles of Perpetu and a tablet and I raced on. I slowed down for less than a minute only. When I was running out of the refreshment point, I started feeling cramps in my calves. Too fast a start - that's an “ultra-ideal” condition with "only" 64 km to go.
I slowed down a bit and swallowed some magnesium. Suddenly I noticed that there were only three of us in the lead, we all seemed to have run too fast at the start and two of us had already given up. That gave me some hope and I went on. At about 34th kilometre we went in the wrong direction and lost the precious headstart. I always wish I had never been born when this happens. Well, there was nothing that could be done about it. Things like that sometimes happen in the course of the race. We reached the snowline on the 40th kilometre. I think no one will believe after this winter that there was no glacier in the Hochkönig area before. I had the snow everywhere - maybe even behind my ears. However, thanks to the snowfields, I returned to the lead on the 46th kilometre. I had another refreshment arranged at the 56th kilometre where Monča was waiting for me with prepared super drinks from HammerNutrionCZ. I sat for a while, replaced my bottles and set on.
When I was running out of the village, I met the first people who greeted me immediately and wished me a "good morning". What? Good morning? I realized I had been running for 7 hours already! In the slope, I joined Ivan (a fellow runner) and tried to force the pace. There were only three more hills and 30 km to the finish line and I had no doubt I would make it. I just had to hold on and try to fight for the best ranking. Ivan was a racer, body and soul, and he was not going to give up without a proper fight, though. After several attempts to get in the lead and gain some headstart, we found out that neither of us would give up and we ascended the last peak together, side by side. We enjoyed the views and we even stopped at the refreshment point to have a handful of gummy bears, which was a great luxury. We knew that nobody could steal our 2nd and 3rd place and all the stress had fallen off us.
On the way down we were criticizing and saving our strength for the final stretch. Is it really a victory to sprint at the finish line on the 86 km route? Not for us; the shared moments and new friendship meant more to us and we unanimously agreed that we would cross the finish line together.
And then we saw the city in front of us and heard the fans... And then it came! There was only the finish line and "millions" of cheering fans driving us forward. We crossed the finish line together in 11:08:04. I had tears in my eyes and I was incredibly happy that it was over. A shared 2nd place at such an event was a dream that had come true and concurrently a proof that everything is possible!
And now one more incredible thing! In those 11 hours, I did not eat anything solid but a few gummy bears. I managed the whole race with 1,5 l of Perpetuem and 2 l of Fizz tablets. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have been able to eat anything solid and I would have thrown everything up at such a pace! So I really want to thank HammerNutrionCZ for their support without which I would not have anything to write about now. And of course, I mustn't forget to thank Kilpi for providing me with clothes that were able to withstand such tough conditions!
But the biggest thanks go to my family, the Farník family and the organizers, as it would not have been such an amazing event without any of them!!!Martin Nytra