Race Preview: multiNavigátor - Pilis Trail 2020
Updated: Jan 25
Date: 7th March 2020
Start Times: 8am, 9am and 10am
(Piliscsaba Focipálya, Piliscsaba, 2081, Béla király útja 2-4)
Distances: 50km/1800m, 25.3km/770m and 10.5km/300m
We will state it flatly. The multiNavigátor- Pilis Trail is what started our love for trail running in Hungary and was an inspirational race for the development of this website. This is the race you should be signing up to. It is packed full of adventure, challenge and reward in equal measures and is not to be missed. It isn't easy, as you will see, but the Pilis Trail's lovely community feel and genuine love for both running and the countryside rounds off what I think is at the core of trail running here in Hungary.
Arriving by train at Piliscsaba Station you will walk down a peaceful street towards the start area. This is a village sports centre, well used and loved, and the base for the race. Registration is easy and, if previous years (and every race ever) are anything to go by, there will be the usual nervous milling around (vitally important!) and stretching before the start. This, though, is tinged with a heavier dose of anticipation than can usually be felt.
Anticipation of what, you might ask? The short answer to that would be hills, and steep ones at that. Everyone will have read the numbers - 10.5km with 300 metres elevation, 25.7km with 770m elevation and 50km with 1800m elevation!! - and wondered how and why would anyone do this to themselves? From the very start, with the climb up to Nagy-Kopasz-Hegy, the Pilis Trail is punishing and barely runnable, made tolerable by the feeling of escape from 'dingy' civilisation to the rich forest. Runners are given a sense of unbridled potential moments from the start after crossing the railway line you are surrounded by nature ready to 'Spring' into action... and also from the possibly sadistic encouragement by the stewards at the top ready to scan your chip.
The route itself is almost entirely on trails on leaving Piliscsaba, away from any evidence of modernity except for the hiking 'flashes', route markers and the small tables laden with refreshments (chocolate, fruit and water) for the runners at surprisingly isolated locations. The feeling of the race really changes according the to weather: one year RCHU encountered snow, ice and slippery leaves (surprisingly, the worst!), the other year mud and sludge, so bring your ankle gaiters and trail shoes! In addition, whilst well thought through and partially manned with stewards, the route wasn't perfectly signed and a little inattention could cause one to lose one's way, but that is all part of the fun, right? Right?!
Ok. We admit. Our enthusiasm for the Pilis Trail might not be getting though. With all the 'the hills are hard' and 'the trails are muddy and poorly signed' you may have got the impression that the race isn't for you. But let's tell you about the other element of the anticipation filling those faces you will find on the start line of this race: the expectation of wonder. The Pilis Trail is rewarding in ways that few other races so easily accessed from Budapest are. The isolation of the forest, the relentless requirement for focus and renewal at the top of every peak and the views across the Pilis Hills make the experience for each and every runner of the Pilis Trail truly and indescribably special.
Rail - The easiest way to get to Piliscsaba from Budapest Nyugati is by rail. Take the Z72 (38mins) or S72 (45mins) from Budapest Nyugati Station. Tickets should cost only about 650 Ft