Mountain Running in Macedonia at the Krali Marko Trails.

07 Apr 2014 03:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview
Sv Arhangel Mihail
Credit : TREX

Hello, on October 12th 2014, you’ll be organizing the Krali Marko Trails 60 km. Can you tell us where it is located?

Krali Marko Trails is a mountain race organized on the slopes of Babuna and Dren mountains – near the city of Prilep in Macedonia.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

This year will be fourth edition of the Krali Marko Trails. We started slowly, organizing an 18 km race first year – purpose was to attract more people to run in the mountains.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Prilep and its surrounding is a fantastic place with many natural beauties, especially strange rock formations – attracting all lovers of nature, but mostly rock climbers.
The UNESCO – World heritage so it is forbidden to drill the rocks – only free climbing and bouldering is authorized, protects the area.

Along the route, we run near that interesting rocks and also we pass near three old monasteries. The most famous is monastery Treskavec from the 12th century, which is located between rocks near the top of Zlatovrv (Golden peak).

Terrain is mostly dry, stones, sandy-soil, grass, small bushes. There are few patches crossing thru small pine forests. The most difficult part is climbing to the rocky Kozjak peak, the highest peak on Babuna Mountain (1747 m). There are also technical parts descending from Kozjak peak toward Krstec village.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

On our races most of the runners come from Macedonia where there is small but strong trail running community. The other runners come from surrounding countries – Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey and some adventurers from around the world, eager to discover new places and people (from USA, Australia, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy…).

Our goal is to organize good and friendly event, not expensive but intended to people who really respect the essence of trail running and people who want to discover something new – some new areas and something new about themselves – about their limits and to push them forward.

Krali Marko 2013
Credit : TREX

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

It’s a small race – we don’t have a lot of money for this – but with lots of love and sacrifice, and in cooperation with the municipality of Prilep we manage to organize this event every year.

We also organize a 16km Trail race.

I’m not sure what will happen next year. This is truly adventure for us. Our wish is to organize a longer race next year (90 or 100 km).

Krali Marko 2013
Credit : TREX

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

The race is in October, a period when the weather is usually dry, pretty warm – 15 to 20°C. It may be some rain – you never know… put it’s pleasant.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

The race is organized during a holiday in Prilep – Day of Liberation and it’s a lot of other event, festivals, music, dance… After the race will be award ceremony and party – maybe some local music band or DJ.

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Prilep before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Prilep is famous by delicious local cuisine. There is always some good red Macedonian wine and – of course – good local beer.

If you have more time to spend in Macedonia, we can help you to visit other interesting places near Prilep: Prespa or Ohrid lake, Pelister (Baba) mountain, or the ancient Stobi archeological site. But the most memorable thing will be the warmness and hospitality of the Macedonian people.

Karli Marko Trails 2012 - Near the end
Credit : TREX

Interview with Trajce Pankovski, race director of Krali Marko Trails races. When he is not running or organizing races, he is a software architect. But most of the time his mind is in the mountains, on the trails. He is a passionate mountaineer and a bit of rock climber too. Lately, he and his friends formed an association TREX – to organize and promote all adrenaline outdoor sports in Macedonia. TREX is also organizer of Krali Marko Trails.