Race Preview: multiNavigátor - Pilis Trail
Date: 30th March 2019
Start Times: 8am, 9am and 10am
Distances: 48.2km/1850m, 23.5km/750m and 10.5km/300m
We will state it flatly for you here. The Pilis Trail is what started our love for trail running in Hungary. This is the race you should be signing up to. The Pilis Trail has adventure, challenge and reward in equal measure, with a lovely community feel and genuine love for both running and the countryside at its core.
Arriving by train at Piliscsaba Station you will walk down a peaceful street towards the start area. This is a village sports centre, obviously well used and loved, and the base for the race. Registration is easy and, if previous years are anything to go by there is the usual milling around (aka. pretend stretching) before the start. This, though, is tinged with a heavier dose of anticipation for the race than can usually be felt. The complex array of emotions emanating from the faces of participants, ranging from the slightly anxious to resolution and finally, from the slightly mad or exceptionally fit, happiness at the prospect of the race!
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, 23.5km with 750m elevation and 48.2km with 1850m elevation!! - and wondered how and why would anyone do this to themselves? And from the very start, with the climb up to Nagy-Kopasz-Hegy, the Pilis Trail is punishing and barely runnable, made bearable by the feeling of escape from settlement in the forrests which surround you and the eager, pleased and possibly sadistic encouragement from the stewards at the top.
The route itself is almost entirely on trails on leaving Piliscsaba, away from most forms of civilisation except the small tables laden with refreshments (chocolate, fruit and water) for the runners at surprisingly isolated locations. The paths taken really change 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 trail shoes! In addition, whilst well thought through and partially manned with stewards, the route isn'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 ain't for you. But let's tell you about the other element of anticipation filling those faces you will find on the start line of this race: Wonder. The Pilis Trail is rewarding in ways that few other races so easily accessed from Budapest are. The isolation of the forest, the requirement of constant renewal at the top of every peak and the views (oh, 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