I’ve missed the mountains! Between work based in London and a 2017 race calendar devoid of mountain races or expeditions, I’ve spent precious little time in the mountains.

On Monday I flew out to Bulgaria and drove to Bansko, at the foot of the Pirin mountains range. It’s still a few weeks till the start of the ski season, so this eastern European mountain resort was still quite quiet, except for groups of industrious workers getting shops fitted and stocked for the start of ski season.

For each of the days I was there I ran in a different direction: through town, along the river’s bank, through mountain trails and up high on the mountain in snow. The old town is beautiful, but the most spectacular runs were to be had away from town, far from civilisation up the mountains. On the way out of town one day, I was wary of territorial stray dogs and adjusted my route to avoid any roads or tracks they were protecting. On another day I found myself at about 1700 metres above sea level, running through snow in a relatively isolated area and spotted what looks like wolf paw prints fresh in the snow. I like to think I did the sensible thing by turning on my heel and running back the way I came, fast!

On Sunday evening I went for a city centre run back in London. I felt fast. Seven miles flew by without pushing hard. I even stopped for a couple of photos and did some intervals up and down staircases. The result: 5km PB and 10k PB! I guess the mountain running has helped!

I’ve had a look at Bulgaria’s running scene since I’ve returned to the UK and it looks like the routes I was running form the start of one of the Skyrunner ultrarunning series next year – watch this space…

Keep running up those hills!


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