To participate in the distance race you definitely should get acclimated! On a short distance it can be possible to go through without getting acclimated but not on a long one. I have participated twice, the second time my partner was stronger than me but he wasn’t acclimated – that was our big mistake.
It is also very important to think carefully about water supply on the distance. The streams are frequent there, so the problem is not the lack of water but the fact that it is mountain spring water, so it is like distilled water. Bring electrolyte containing pills such as isotonic pill with you. As for me, Rehydron suited me the most when I had been participating in the race for the second time: at that time, I took three times less water than when I participated for the first time, but I was feeling better. The first time I had been running with a hydration pack, the second one – I used water bottles, bottles are the better option. My advice is to put coke in the bottles with a screw cap, because sport water bottles with valves leak due to the pressure.
Now a few words about the distance itself. After the pass there is a good route, it slightly goes down, so it’s easy to keep a quite high speed. It’s important not to miss the turn to the village Khurzuk. Then comes a slight but tricky rise. Sun is pretty cruel there, during our marathon we were starting to walk and couldn’t understand why. We only came to our senses in the water of a stream – we’d got a heat stroke. Be careful!
Otherwise, on the second pass we needed all our clothes on. We didn’t limit ourselves with all the necessary equipment we had taken and we had never regret it: it is very cold to go through the pass in the evening or at night. The pass is not technically complicated but the altitude is pretty high, so it is very difficult to climb without being acclimated – there will be a need in taking breaks. On the way down follow the track precisely, even if it seems illogical to you. After the descent you need to cross the river. I’ve always come there at night and couldn’t choose to best place to cross the river in the dark. When I came to the river in the daylight I made sure that organizers had chosen the best place for crossing the river. You will see the North camp from a long distance. On the way to the camp there is the ravine, where the river flows, using the bridge is problematic there. It would be great, if the organizers marked the right place to cross it. On the way out of the camp it’s also needed to search for the bridge, but then it’s following the navigation: going along the good road, then leaving it and going up straight to the pass. The way down is easy, but you should be careful in the dark on the paths used by cows.
The following pass isn’t complicated as well, it’s only needed to be attentive at the way down, because the path is overgrown with grass and it’s hardly possible to see where to take a step. As soon as you get to the road, there will be the marking for another distances.
Now a few words about the arrival and a footwear. During the arrival process it was good to have a chicken soup in a thermos, I brought 1,5 liters of that and it was nothing left. Think about the arrival carefully to have all the necessary stuff on hand in order not to waste time. Also it is definitely essential to have a second pair of footwear: feet get wet and slowly start to swell. The track is rocky and feet hurt.