First UTMB trial – the Vasilia – Selvili Tepe trail

I have long loved the trail that runs along the upper ridge of the Besparmak Mountains from the village of Boğaz on the east to the Village of  Karsiyaka(Vasilia). The trail (mostly tarmac these days) is about 25km with two peaks of about 900m to cross. It also passes by the well known castle of St Hilarion and the little know 4th castle of Besparmak (if you follow the trail East from Boğaz then you pass by the other two castles – Kantara and Bufavento).

IMAG0735

Therefore, when I was looking for a training route for UTMB it was ideal. Yesterday, became a little trial for UTMB.

I tried to start early as the expected temperature by midday was 41C. I failed! By the time I was parking my car just outside Karsiyaka it as 7am. At that time it was a cool 27C but by the time I was up at Selvili Tepe and started my first downhill run of the day it was already 35C.  Once I was down and started my second ascent it had reached 41C.

This is an ideal trail for UMTB, the net altitude gain is about 1,000metres in about 10km. I repeated it twice for over 2,200m gain/loss and about 40km of running in about 6hrs with all the breaks… The biggest challenge of the run is the lack of water supply. As a result you are forced to carry a heavy backpack at the start.

Run map and profile

vasilia run map

Vasilia run profile

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About Devrim

For the past 20 years, I have been a runner, having been a regular participant of the London marathon during the late 90s & early 2000s and others such as the Istanbul and San Diego. But when I moved to Cyprus in 2003, things took a turn for the worse. Suddenly 42 kilometres was no longer enough. I needed an activity to counter-balance work. That was when I discovered the concept of ultra-running. An ultra run is anything more than 50 kilometres. However, the need was such that I started with 250km long self-sufficient desert ultras. I have now completed 4 desert ultras in some of the most gruelling conditions, ranging from +60 to -20 Celsius, from the high planes of Atacama in Chile to the depths of the Gobi in China, from the sandy dunes of the Sahara to the ice fields of Antarctica. In 2011, I completed a desert ultra series, having run 1,000 kilometres across 4 deserts in 9 months carrying all my own equipment, water and food on my back.
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