Marathon Piatra Craiului 2011 - Second Encounter

by Radu Milea

Before I start this post about this year`s edition of Marathon Piatra Craiului, I belive it`s better to go back 1 year, and read about the ground stone for everything I have done this year. It changed me not only as a runner but also as a person!
So, after last years MPC I was very excited about running marathons again. What I did all year was for this ultimate goal. A lot of training and preparations in order to get better and better.
I was nervous and very excited about the race for the last 2 weeks. It was the only thing on my mind!A lot of questions, ideas, emotions kept me a lot of nights from sleeping.
The night before the race was better than I expected, because I could sleep until 4 in the morning. We went to the starting area early. I got my place in front of the starting line. So there I was, back again where it all began.

This time I knew it won`t be like last time. I have more experience and I am better prepared, both mind and body are ready for the challenge. I met with a lot of friends in the start area and after some small talk with my friend Balan, the organizers started counting: 10, 9, 8, 7....1, START!
I started fast and was in the first groups. I knew that I have to keep it up!The only problem was that I was feeling heavy, my feet were not responding very good to this speed but I pushed myself until the first CP at "La Table".

There I took a gel and drank some water and everything went ok after that. I need to thank Flori for her help with refilling my water bottle.
On the climb to "Saua Funduri" I was alone for most of the time. I knew that I can climb very good and so I did. Before the race I told Daniel that I can reach "Saua Funduri" in less than 2h. I was very happy to see my time: 1:58:57.
I knew that my weak spot is the steep downhill from "Saua Funduri" to "Marele Grohotis". On this steep downhill I was passed by Zsolt Kovacs and George Robu and in my back was Gica! When I saw him, I started running as fast as I could but in my back I heard someone running very fast, and to my surprise, it was my friend Andrei Tale!In my mind I thought that if Andrei is in my back and George passed me then I`m not doing a good race. So from that moment I started running even faster. Cosmin and Bulgaru were waiting for me before "Spirlea". I changed the water bottle and drank some RedBull and I was on my way.Thank you guys for the great support and for the nice pictures!
I never looked back from that point because I knew I had to do my race. I was lucky that I saw Zsolt in front so it was a good motivation to catch him.
I reached "Plaiul Foii" in a very good speed, passing Zsolt and seeing some other runners in front, including George.
I knew that I am fast on the climb to "Diana" and that I am not afraid of it! The only problem was that I started having some muscle cramps on the inside of my right foot (because of the hernia), so I walked for some meters, took a gel and drank some isotonic. Zsolt caught me and I was with him for the first part of the climb.
We were seeing George and 2 other runners in front. My cramps were gone so I started pushing. After half of the climb I caught George and after some more meters another guy that was not feeling very good!It was such a relief to reach "Diana"!

I hate the downhill from Diana, and this time I lost again time like last year..George caught me, but we stayed together and after some more minutes Zsolt came with a big speed and passed us!I asked George if he wants to finish with me the same time and when he said yes, for me was a morale booster. After the last CP, I took the lead, with George very close to me. We had a big tempo from there and caught Zsolt. We asked him to join us but he said his batteries are dead. We entered Zarnesti and sprinted for the finish! Everybody was cheering and it felt damn great! The official time was 4h39min58sec, 8th place in 18-29 category and 14th in the Open Category! (I have the same time as George, but probably he passed the gate a bit in front of me).
My objective was somewhere around 4h30min so I am very pleased about my performance, not to mention that I beat my time with more than 1h! Until next year this will have to do! But I promise you "my friend" that I will come better prepared next year! You can bet on this...
The organizers out done their selves again, giving us everything in a perfect way!
MPC really is the trend setter for other Mountain Marathons in Romania!Perfect job Lucian Clinciu....


P.S. Daniel, don`t be sad, you will be better prepared next have to!

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