Schmaltz sandwiches and folk music

Jelendol (Slovenia), 23 August 2009

 Tek po Dovžanovi soteski

Runners of all ages raced along a disused railway track deep in the Alps.


The 8km "Race along the Dovžan Gorge" does not really travel along a gorge, it's more or less a deep valley.

However, the only way to get to the event is through the Dovžan Gorge, a protected natural monument very close to the old shoemaking town of Tržič near the Austrian border. Few tourists venture to this area at the foot of the impressive Karavanke mountain chain.

From Tržič, it's 3km on the road to the narrowest section of the gorge, where a spectacular road tunnel was cut into the rock at the end of the 19th century. A scenic footpath shows you around the huge boulders in the"Kamniška Bistrica" River.

Another 3km and you come to Jelendol. Formerly a centre of the timber industry it's nowadays a sleepy village with a small football pitch, a boules field and a handful of buildings, squeezed into the limited space between thickly forested mountain slopes.


Jelendol, a village near Tržič



On race day, it was a nice and cool morning after heavy rain had cleared the skies. Four musicians playing alpine folk music welcomed the competitors at the registration. For an entry fee of 8 Euros participants got a T-Shirt, and after the race schmaltz sandwiches, apples and freshly-made pancakes. Most T-shirts were large enough for those who indulge regularly in hearty alpine food.


Pancakes after the race

Reward: pancakes


All races were held on an out-and-back course on a dirt road that follows a disused railway track through the forest. The railway had been built in 1903 for the transport of timber. The route travelled very mildly uphill on the first half of the race, and then downhill to the finish.

At 10am, 67 young athletes competed with great ambition over distances of 550m, 1000m and 1500m. The youngest runner was 3 years old.


Tek po Dovžanovi soteski - children's race


Half an hour later, the gun went off for the 166 participants in the 8km main race. Both winners of last year's edition defended their titles in style. Tone Kosmač, one of the best road runners in Slovenia, celebrated victory in 26:31. Neža Mravlje, winner of this year's Radenci Marathon, led the women home in 32:06.


Results Tek po Dovžanovi soteski 2009:


 1.  Tone Kosmač (33)  26:31
 2.  Marko Pintar (37)  27:19
 3.  Matija Oblak (18)  27:31





 1. Neža Mravlje (30)  32:06
 2. Petra Race (34)  33:17
 3. Manca Šolar (19)  34:30




Race details: 14th Race along the Dovžan Gorge

Map: Jelendol


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