New partner race: Kernavė – Vilnius Ultra Trail from Lithuania.Estimated reading time: 5 min.
Another edition of this race starts very soon! June 15, 2019 you can run a historical 82km trail between lithuanian capitals: Kernavė and Vilnius. Check what Domantas Cibas (Race Director) says about his race.
The Kernave – Vilnius Trail Race started 5 years ago with only a few enthusiasts who were determined enough to take on the challenge of running from the medieval capital of Lithuania – Kernave, all the way to the current capital – Vilnius. Since then the race grew and now we are offering 3 different courses for all levels of runners:
– The 10K Fun Run is the shortest and the most dynamic course in our race offering a great introduction to trail running for beginners, but at the same time, challenging enough for seasoned runners too. It takes the runners to some of the most beautiful and steep trails at the very heart of Vilnius.
– The Trail Marathon is our marathon-distance course oriented towards season and experienced runners. The 42km course takes the participants through more technical trails offering steep climbs and very fast downhills, along the Neris river.
– The Kernavė Ultra is our longest and the most demanding course, only for really experienced and determined runners. Participants will start at the medieval capital of Lithuania – Kernavė, which is now a UNESCO site. Runners will pass through the medieval castle mounds, where the oldest stone-age campsites were discovered, and then will head through the old oak-tree forest with some very technical and fast trails, followed by a very picturesque path along the Neris river, where 82km course joins the 42km course.
Every year we try to improve the courses to make them more interesting and more challenging, so every year there are some small changes to each of the courses 🙂 Most of the trails go through forests, and include technical climbs and descents throughout the whole course. Trails are fast, with only a few places having loose gravel, or mud (of course, this greatly depends on the weather conditions).
We will take care of getting everyone to the start on time 🙂 We have buses that will take all the 82KM and 42KM runners from the finish area to their start point in Kernavė (82KM) and in Šilėnai (42KM). So participants only have to worry about getting to the finish area in time before the buses leave for the start area.
The race center is located at one of the biggest parks in Vilnius – Vingio parkas [click for map]. It is located very close to the city center and surrounded by the river Neris. Getting there is quite easy, by public transport, taxi, or using the local car-sharing service CityBee.
– For public transport I recommend using the Trafi mobile app. It not only gives you real time public transportation options, but also allows you to book cars from CityBee and Spark, or get an Uber.
-For taxi, best options are Uber, or Bolt (previously Taxify). Taxify is usually a bit cheaper and quicker.
Accommodation: mainly through Airbnb, or Booking.com as there are a lot of good options available around the city center, which will make getting to the race and back afterwards quite easily.
I highly recommend to have a few free days after (or before) the race to have time to do some sightseeing in and around Vilnius. First of all, the old-town of Vilnius – it is a UNESCO heritage site, so you should definitely take some time to stroll along the narrow streets with lots of cafes, pubs and restaurants. The least that you should visit are the Cathedral, with the Gediminas castle right next to it. Then get on top of the Three Crosses hill, which is visible from the Cathedral square, from where you will get the best panorama of the whole Vilnius. And if time allows, go visit the Republic of Užupis – the bohemian and very colorful part of the city. Afterwards, you should go for a pint in one of the pubs around the town hall 😉
Because our race is Kernavė – Vilnius, I also highly recommend visiting Kernavė. The time in the morning before the start is definitely not enough to see even a small bit of Kernavė 🙂 This small town has great significance in the Lithuanian history, as it is not only the first medieval capital of Lithuania, but also, the site of the oldest stone-age campsites found in Lithuania. In Kernavė, you should visit the hill-fort mounds, which, like the old-town of Vilnius, are a UNESCO heritage site. The recently updated history museum in the center of Kernavė has very interactive exhibitions covering the history of Lithuania and the surrounding regions – really worth visiting. As Kernavė was the capital in medieval ages, way back when lithuanians still were pagans, there are a lot of pagan worship sites in the surrounding forests. So after spending some time in Kernavė, on the way back to Vilnius, just before the Dūkšta town, you will pass a really old oak forest. There you can have a stroll among the giant oaks, visit the ritual stone with some ancient runes, and climb on 3 hill-fort mounds along the footpath. The 82km course runners will run through a part of this area during the race 🙂
I think for a short visit, this would be more than enough. But, if you have more than a couple of days to spend, there is way more to see around this part side of Vilnius – Trakai, another historical capital of Lithuania with an amazing castle surrounded by lakes from all sides, which together with Kernavė and Vilnius make the “capital triangle”, the Neris Regional Park has many trails to explore, and it might be especially interesting for some people, as you can still find some old Polish/Lithuanian border posts from 1930s. So there’s definitely lots to see and visit!
Pics: material provided by the Organizer.