New races are usually not sold out long time before they start. Ještěd SkyRace managed to do that last year. This year, the race has been announced as a Czech Championship in SkyRace, divided in categories Adults, U20 and Junior. However, the race is not only for professional runners, but also for hobby runners and enthusiasts, who want to see the best of Ještěd ridge and its neighbourhood. The participants will compete on a technical track with a large amount of interesting trails and considerable cumulative elevation gain, which will surely appreciated by all mountain and run lovers. And it will not be "just" a run! For both the spectators and the crews, entertainment will be available, including concerts of popular bands, DJ’s, bars, food, fun for kids and much more.
- JEŠTĚD SkyRace® - Saturday 15th April, 2017
- Ski resort Ještěd – the main parking area near Skalka chairlift
- Track – 25.5km+ with positive cumulative elevation gain 1600m+
Honza Dušánek, the main organizer of the race, gives us more details in a short interview:
This is the second year of Ještěd SkyRace. The first year was very successful. What’s new this year?
We’ve kept all the good things from last year and are simply trying to smooth things which weren’t so great.
There will be some changes on certain parts of the track because we want to make the race even more attractive by slightly increasing its difficulty. For example, having great feedback for these sections, we’re definitely going to keep the initial warm-up run up the black slope, the classical part of “Ája’s pass” and the well-tried section from WINTER SkyRace 2016 where racers climbed Ještěd on big rocks from the starting point at Ještědka chalet. According to the feedback, that was seen as the most beautiful section of the track.
We’d also love to avoid the complicated double-cross on Ještěd. To manage to do this, we decided to change the track, so that “greyhounds and hobby runners” don’t mix up. I believe this year everybody comes to the finish using the right track.
The are going to be a few changes in the entire site and in the entertainment programme. The final ceremony and concerts of bands will now start earlier, so the gaps are not so big and there is always something to do.
The layout of the site will also be modified in a way which will make the race even more attractive for both the competitors and the spectators.
Nearly 25 kilometres long track with 1600 meters of cumulative elevation gain – sounds not as a track for hobby runners, though. Who is the race for, then? How much experience do the participants need to do it and not collapse halfway through the track?
I have to disagree here. The track is demanding but it’s no bloodletting ritual where the organizers would brag how difficult track they’re able to build, counting scalps of those who can’t make it.
For top racers, this is a varied fast track where it is possible to race. The result of last year’s winner, Tomáš Lichý, proves it.
Yet the track has been designed for hobby runners, too. I wanted them to enjoy the beauty of the Ještěd ridge, see interesting trails, more difficult run-ups, technical run-downs and some “runnable” traverses. So I believe everybody will love the race. The top ones will do it in two hours, some will need more time, that’s perfectly natural.
Another benefit of the Ještěd ridge is that it is so easy to get back to the resort if anyone happens to wrap it up before reaching he finishing line. Don’t worry none.
But I want to mention one thing. I’m happy a lot of my friends and people around me got inspired by JEŠTĚD SkyRace. They have started doing more exercise and explore the wonderful mountains and woods around. Look at the attendance sheet of our monthly run-ups, that’s simply fantastic! Hang on in there, my friends!
How about foreigners? Is anyone coming from abroad?
This is the opening event of the skyrunning season and at the same time it is the Czech SkyRace Championship. So none of the top Czech athletes is going to miss. From abroad, we have a few very interesting names from Poland. Come to see if they can shuffle the card pack. I also believe that some athletes might get interested after reading this interview at Adrex.com.
For details on the track, rules, maps, programme schedules and whatever else related to the race you might think of, see www.jestedskyrace.cz.
Here is a video from last year for you to get the picture of the difficulty and the wonderful atmosphere: