The aEWR 2017 Paradox: Hotter, Yet Faster


710 athletes applied for participation in four races – it’s a new aAWR record. The number of participants has increased by more than a third. The competition results also improved: six new trail records were set. A great contribution to it was the participation of world class athletes.

112 km of patience and caution

As always, team Elbrus Mountain Race competition preceded individual races and proved to be the only aEWR race in which the number of participants lowered. 20 teams of 45 athletes gathered at the Azau glade to run the trail. The total number of aEWR participants, including the teams, made up 755 – it is a new total amount record and a simultaneous start record.

Teams running the Elbrus Mountain Race. Photo by Artyom Emelyanenko

This year’s winners, Dmitry Gaukov and Maxim Davydov, got the result of 21:06:56, but it’s only a half of the goals that had been set. Yakov Frenklakh and Konstantin Ivanov still hold the record; their best time is 18:27:27, this result was achieved last year. It’s partly due to the fact that Gaukov and Davydov’s revenge had to be done in the absence of their key competitors. Ivanov was taken ill, and Frenklakh did not have a teammate to run with. There were no other competitors of such a high level, and Dmitry and Maxim could run at a steady pace, having increased the gap between them and the others. It was the heat that hindered the athletes: if they decided to try setting a new record and run very fast, it could come at the price of their health. Two teams had to fall out of the race.

Running under such conditions made team work even more important: athletes needed to take care of their partners.

Dmitry Gaukov and Maxim Davydov finishing the Elbrus Mountain Race. Photo by Alexander Bivol

Perhaps, that is why the teams in which there was at least one lady achieved better results. Last year, first six places were taken by teams consisting of men only.

This time, Mariya Nazarova and Alexander Kuts (23:11:09) stole the silver medal from Petr Arinichev and Vladimir Khamurzov (23:29:39).

Nadezhda Korolyatina and Anastasiya Galitarova were close to making the number of men and ladies sharing the podium equal, but mountain acclimatization left the ladies, who were participating for the first time, 4th (26:28:49). The Elbrus Mountain Race veterans Irina and Alexander Safonov came 5th (29:20:08).

The “Devchata” team covering the rocky part of the 112 km trail. Photo by Danil Kolodin / Fun’Da’Mental Agency

Challenge day – record day

The competition day of August 5 lasted almost 24 hours. Traditionally, those who were about to run adidas Mountain Ultra started first, at 4 am, and finished at 3:47 am, August 6th. Those who came later finished in the morning too, 3 hours and 13 minutes later.

The trails proved to be challenging: there were 26 people who fell out of the races (no race avoided such an issue). One person did not manage to cover the 11 km trail, 3 men and 3 women didn’t conquer the 34 km race, 2 women and 12 men fell out of the marathon. Even the Elbrus Mountain Race 2016 winner Yakov Frenklakh got to this list. Five men failed to run the 59 km race.

Athletes were able to feel that the competition would be difficult when they got to the starting line. Only those 93 sportsmen that ran the 59 km trail avoided the heat of the first part of the route; all the rest were attacked by direct sunlight right upon dropping off the buses that delivered the participants to the location.

Speed style triumph

Perhaps, that was why athletes decided to stick to different strategies even before the start.

Natalya Erbet shared her zumba energy with others, and many joined her in this workout, though there were lots of people who preferred a more traditional way to prepare for the race.

Natalya Erbet warming up the race participants. Photo by Alexander Bivol

The unity of participants split further when the 617 athletes running Elbrus 11, Elbrus Trail, and Elbrus Marathon simultaneously, divided into runners and walkers.

Of course, those who ran Elbrus11 started running from the very beginning – the trail is too short to walk. There were 269 people who applied for participation in this race; just like it was last year, it became the most massive aEWR 2017 competition, and the majority of athletes were ladies. Natalya Erbet stuck to her energetic style and came third (among the people of the same age group). Speed was the motto of that competition day. Oleg Grigoryev set a new trail record – 1:39:27. Last year’s winner Sergey Khomenko came second (1:46:55), and Egor Belousov came third (1:54:08).

The Elbrus11 winners at the height of 3185 meters, near the beautiful Syltran lake. Photo by Danil Kolodin / Fun’Da’Mental Agency

Among women, Anastasia Tchelysheva managed to defend her shortest trail champion title (though it took her 5 minutes and 21 seconds more to run the trail than last year), her current result is 2:12:11; Aygul Mingazova (2:17:06) and Viktoria Golovina (2:25:48), who came second and third respectively, achieved better results that those ladies who were on the podium last year.

Anastasiya Tchelysheva, the winner of the shortest race, Elbrus11. Photo by Danil Kolodin / Fun’Da’Mental Agency

Thus, those who wanted to win had to overcome the pressure of two factors: the heat and the growing competition pace.

It was even more obvious in the case of the longest individual trail, the 59 km race. The leaders of this race finished at about the same time when the winners of certain Elbrus11 age groups reached the finishing line.

The champion is Dmitry Mityaev. His new trail record is 7:13:54. It’s 1 hour and 37 minutes faster that the result of last year’s champion Alexey Zavodskoy.

After this triumph, Dmitry became the only one who won the individual races of all International Trail Running Association categories held by aEWR.

Your rival is your tower of strength

Dmitry wouldn’t have been able to run so fast if it wasn’t for the competition with the famous French trail runner Sébastien Chaigneau.

These two factors were highlighted by the winner when he was commenting on the triumph: “What helped me run? Well, first, it was my previous success in all individual races. Second, it was competing with Sébastien. It makes you try harder when you have a strong rival; it’s interesting to run if you don’t know whether you’ll win today. The fact that Chaigneau participated in the race influenced my performance – I started running faster than I should have; now I understand it. I kept this good pace, because we were running separately.”

Dmitry Mityaev, an adidas Elbrus World Race regular participant. Photo by Artyom Emelyanenko

Chaigneau is an experienced tactician, so he started with only a small gap dividing him and Dmitry: he came less than 2 minutes later than Mityaev. According to Dmitry, it’s the least comfortable position for him: “I prefer to catch up. When you outrun someone, you get more motivated, get more adrenalin. When you are being outrun, it lowers your morale. So the only option is to catch up.”

The distance between them increased when it got really hot.

“The pace was quite fast, and it was difficult to keep it under such hot conditions. It’s always difficult to run if it’s hot. It was also obvious that I hadn’t managed to acclimatize properly. Five more days were needed”, Sébastien Chaigneau said; he came 31 minutes and 56 seconds later than Dmitry.

It was the first time Sébastien Chaigneau had participated in aEWR, but he already wants to come back next year. Photo by Danil Kolodin / Fun’Da’Mental Agency

Despite the competition, both athletes managed to enjoy the beauty of nature: “The trail is excellent; it’s the most beautiful trail of all that I have seen here. It’s worth running it at least because of the views. Still, I’d recommend that novices start with the 34 km one”, said Dmitry. Sébastien is of the same opinion: “It’s very beautiful here; the nature is stunning. I think that the best way to get to know a country lies through its nature.”

This time, Alexey Tolstenko, who came second last year, was the third to finish: his result improved by 3 minutes and 33 seconds (8:55:13).

Elena Lebedeva, the champion among ladies, who came second last year (when all participants were considered), did not conquer the podium this time and left it to men. With the record of 9:46:34, she made Irina Safronova an ex-champion. Irina improved her result by 8 minutes and 33 seconds and came second, with 54 minutes and 4 seconds separating her from the winner. Elena Anosova came third (12:48:51).

Elena Lebedeva is about to set a new Elbrus Mountain Ultra record. The photo is provided by the participant

The 34 km trail of lady heroism

Three minutes after Chaigneau finished the race, the Elbrus Trail competition got its winner too: it was Artyom Popov with the result of 3:48:13; he was followed by Sergey Perelygin (4:22:25) and Ilya Tyuvaev (4:28:45).

The Elbrus Trail winners at the flower ceremony. Photo by Artyom Emelyanenko

As to this race, no records have been set. Perhaps, that is due to the fact that last year’s winners decided to participate in longer races this year. However, Ekaterina Mityaeva’s 2015-th record of  04:31:28, (which she has failed to improve in 2016-th – 4:44:49) was beaten by Elena Nurgalieva, an 8-time Comrades Marathon champion. Her result is 4:30:21. Surprisingly, she was not satisfied with her performance: “Unfortunately, I did not manage to run everywhere I wanted! The elevation and hypoxia hindered me just like any other participant! But I realized that running in the mountains takes more training in the mountains in order to acclimatize properly and learn how to pass challenging route sections! Running down the mountain proved to be a catastrophe!», Elena said.

Ekaterina Savkina came second (4:56:00), and Elena Mitrofanova came third (5:20:19).

Elena Nurgalieva having a rest after the challenging competition. Photo by Artyom Emelyanenko

Irina Vidyasheva’s performance (she came fourth) was also notable. Hardly having passed the 14th km point, she had her ankle injured. She was offered first aid at the station – Alexandr Shishlov and Roman Barckar sacrificed their own speed spending time to help Irina and Irina continued her efforts to get a medal. Her result is 5:40:07 – she is the leader of her age group. We wish Irina, who ran such a long trail for the first time, to recover soon and regain her good condition.

Mariya Nazarova also demonstrated great stamina. Only a day passed after she came second in the 112 km Elbrus Mountain Race, and she was ready to run the next one. Her result is 6:03:25 – she is second in her age group.

Amazing Mariya Nazarova had enough strength to run two races successfully. The photo is provided by the participant

Another year, another competition

As we have already said, last year’s Elbrus Trail leaders decided to run longer races this time. It’s one of the aEWR trends: many participants choose more difficult races when they come again to compete. Dmitry Mityaev ran the 59 km race. Anton Suzdalev and Dmitry Bregeda also contributed to the aEWR 2017 marathon records.

Anton Suzdalev ran the race within 6 hours! The 46 km trail record is now 5:58:55. Less than half a minute was the gap between him and Dmitry Bregeda (6:00:24). Vitaly Shkel came third (6:07:07). Last year’s record (6:42:56, set by Kirill Rusin) was beaten by all the three medal winners.

Anton Suzdalev uncorking a bottle of champagne like a pro. Photo by Artyom Emelyanenko

Ekaterina Mityaeva improved the ladies’ race record by 29 minutes and 1 second: her result is 6:46:33; Svetlana Buravova came second (7:33:53 – this result is better than both ladies’ and men’s second results achieved last year). Tatyana Bregeda won the bronze medal with the result of 8:04:31 (if it was like this last year, she’d have been second).

Ekaterina Mityaeva on the way to another triumph. Photo by Alexander Bivol

Goals and Meals

aEWR 2017 races mean not only challenges, but pleasant moments too. RockTape expert taping must have helped many athletes avoid injuries and recover faster. At the 3 km point, there was cold shower available – it helped prevent heat consequences. At the 6 km point, there were smoothies provided by Electrolux. Lots of fruit meals awaited athletes at the food station.

The food station was full of smoothies provided by the Electrolux company. Photo by Artyom Emelyanenko

The thing that was valued by the majority of participants was the trail marking line that was always visible regardless of athlete state, pace or being distracted by the beauty of the surrounding nature. Upon finishing, they heard the pleasant voice of Andrey Arikh announcing the names of everyone who reached the finishing line. There were the media representatives, TV channel teams, and a journalist of the Kabardino-Balkaria republican radio. Then they were offered smoothies, ayran and national Prielbrusye meals.

Enjoying the meals, many participants discussed their plans to come here again, because some had questions that needed answers, and uncompleted goals, while others voiced new ideas and plans, and wanted to aspire for more.

The ADIDAS ELBRUS WORLD RACE competitions are annually held in the first week of August and include 5 races: Elbrus Mountain RaceElbrus Mountain UltraElbrus Mountain MarathonElbrus TrailElbrus11.


 The general partner: adidas Outdoor

The competition organizer: Alpindustria company

The competitions are held under the auspices of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic Ministry of Sports, the regional Emergencies Ministry department, and the local authorities.  

Official website of the Race: ADIDAS ELBRUS WORLD RACE

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The article is written by Ilya Desyaterik. Photos by Alexander Bivol, Artyom Emelyanenko, Danil Kolodin / Fun’Da’Mental Agency; some photos are provided by the participants.