bozotkutya (bozotkutya) wrote in runners,

Race report - Bieg Katorznika, Lubiniec, Poland

 The story goes back to two years ago when a friend of mine did this race and posted about it on her blog, showing the huge horseshoe-medal she brought home. Given my inclination for anything badass and hardcore especially military-style, I was sure to go next year. We planned the trip, but life got in the way and we didn't make it to the race. This year, we started planning in advance, registered in time (it fills up months before) was hoping nothing would want to happen this time.

Time really flew by and it was August 14th. I took the bus into the city where I met my friends and the four of us started our way to Lubiniec, Poland about 500km(300miles) from Budapest.  The ride was nice, we drove across Slovakia, saw beautiful mountains, villages, lakes, but could hardly wait to arrive in Lubiniec. Got there late afternoon, parked the car on the big field (campsite for the race) and pitched our tents. There were some fellow campers already there, but a lot of people only came the next day.

Went to check in at the race center, and after some funny interaction with the organizers and volunteers - due to the language barrier- we finally got our goody bags, T-shirts and race bibs. After that was sorted out we decided to test the waters (literally) so dipped in the lake and went to see the public part of the race course. It was quite shocking to see the the red and white tape indicating the course disappear in the thick reed along the side of the lake. There was one guy with us and he was registered to run in the very first wave whose job it would be to cut their way through the reed. Poor guy looked a bit shocked :)
(that's me in the middle)

The rest of the day was spent chatting accompanied by two bottles of good wine :) then everyone went to sleep. In the morning we sadly realized the weather had changed and it was all overcast and was raining on and off, but it couldn't ruin our mood. Had a coffee and breakfast in our tents and started getting ready for the race. I decided to wear an old tech shirt, an old pair of cycle shorts and my old pair of Adidas response shoes. Many people put on all sorts of protective gear, but I decided to go with the gloves only (it was a good idea)

The first wave started at 10 am, so it was soon time to go and see our friend start. After a longish Polish bla-bla we didn't understand a word of, off they ran, right into the lake.  It was deep enough to make running impossible, but shallow enough to make swimming almost impossible, given the number of contenders. They fought their way forward in the water while the fastest  ones already attacked the reed. Unfortunately, we could only follow them until the first landing where they climbed from the lake and ran off on a trail only to jump back into the water a hundred meters later. There they disappeared and we could only hear their screaming and laughing from the distance :)

Women started at noon, so we had some time to eat, chat and discuss tactics :)  We agreed it would have been nice to stay together and help each other on the course.  Time passed really quick and we went back to the start/finish area to see our friend finish. He came very soon, looked a little exhausted, tackled the last two obstacles and ran for the finish line and his well-deserved medal

There was little time for celebration, congratulated him, had a photo taken of the three of us girls, and went to the start. Not too many women appeared compared to the great number of men, but there was a moderately-sized crowd :) After some nice but completely foreign words off we went. I tried to stay in the crowd as the farther you swift from the rest the harder it is to keep moving in the current they make. I tried swimming, but it didn't work and I also got kicked in the stomach a few times, so used a powerwalk kind of style to move forward. By then I had already lost sight of my friends :(  After maybe a hundred meters in the lake we reached the reed where there was only a very narrow path, like a corridor, and the leaves made a really good job cutting into our arms while we were marching in the muddy water up to our waist :)  It didn't last long, the course went out of the lake and we ran a little on the side then jumped back in again. Lake, grass, rinse, repeat.  After a longish lake episode, we emerged to a forest trail that turned out to be right next to a swamp-like creek (or a creek-like swamp) It looked like an incredibly muddy river, about waist deep at most parts but full of debris, roots, tree trunks and alternating depths. The course went in a zig-zag fashion crossing this "river" a hundred times which meant climbing out and jumping into this mess :)  Once I thought I could simply jump in, but unfortunately, I managed to get my leg caught in the root of a tree and heard my knee crack as it was forced to bend forward almost. I felt the shooting pain, but pulled my foot from the hole and went on, though limping a bit, but the cold water seemed to soothe the pain. While marching in the mud, I caught sight of one of my friends in front of me. Turned out she was waiting for me so we could go on together :) The bottom of the water was very uneven with all sorts of stuff in there, I'm quite convinced you could even find a dead German soldier :)))))))) so we often tripped or got hit by something. The climbs out got increasingly difficult as we tired and the soil became more and more slippery. Another -very  short- trail run later came the lake again, swimming-crawling about a hundred meters to a pier where we had to climb out up on  a rope-ladder and jump back in the water on the opposite side. My poor friend thought the water was less deep, so she got a good gulp of the water in and coughed up tons. On we went in the water, under the pier then out to the land again. And then came the real swamp!  Sticky, deep, black stuff that wouldn't let you go once you got trapped in it. There were two cases where I had to literally pull my friend's leg out of the slimy mess. It was really hard even to stay upright and not lose ones balance at every step. At the end of this part, we had to climb over a fence and into an old abandoned building.
The entrance and also the exit was funny, we had to climb in through a window at ground level, no lights, total darkness apart from a tiny light coming in from across the room. Ran there and out through a similar window
(my friend)

 Back into the building, up on some stairs and out a door, or more precisely, out through a hole where a glass panel had been :)  

My friend shouted we were close to the finish, so I ran hard among the trees, climbed a wooden obstacle and realized it was the finish area in sight. The last two obstacles were a mud-pit and a bench

(random people)

, I attacked the mud-pit hard, jumped over the bench and grabbed my friend's hand so we could cross the finish hand-in-hand.


Some military personnel gave us our medals and congratulated - he was totally surprised we were Hungarian - and off we went to the side to shower, but first dipped in the lake to remove most of the mud. The shower was really badass : bare showers by the lake, all open, a military truck pumped the water from the lake  :)

Distance: ~8K
Time : 1:43

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