Hercules Half-Marathon 2018: running in Cernei Mountains

I know, I know, I look like I went for a walk and somehow accidentally found myself caught in a trail running competition. The only thing missing from the picture is a dog.

It was actually taken during last weekend’s trail running race I competed in, the Hercules half marathon.

This was one of the most beautiful trail running races I had the opportunity to compete in. It takes you across Cernei mountains – Domogled national park, near Băile Herculane, one of the oldest spa resorts in the world. The weather was perfect, the view is amazing, and it’s a very “runnable” competition – the half-marathon has only 1,000 meters elevation.

Whatsoever, I was feeling tired – probably more mentally exhausted than physically, though the 6-hour drive in the previous day certainly didn’t help.

At the beginning of the race, I fought the guilty feeling of not being at my best game, and instead decided to stop pushing myself and just enjoy the moment. I wondered what’s the worst thing that could happen if I would just walk the entire race, instead of running it, and come in last. Well, I realized that’d be no big deal, as I’d still get to benefit from a few hours of walk in the nature – that always does wonders to recharge my batteries.

So I only got into a running flow in the second half of the race, when it was all downhill from there. The fact that I came in fourth in my category and 10th woman overall, after 2 hours and 49 minutes, was only because of lack of competition, and certainly not because I earned it.

My advice? If you ever want to compete in this race, take some extra days off so you can properly rest after the long road to get there. Unfortunately, this time of the year is the most hectic one work-related, so it was not a luxury I personally could’ve afforded, but I don’t recommend this to anyone else.

Check out the tons of photos here, so you can understand the beauty of this trail race.

P.S. huge congrats to my friends Carmen Albișteanu and Andrei Țale, who won the marathon race.


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