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Monday 5 September 2016

(ENG) GRUT-2016. I know what you will do next summer!

After five hours of crawling through the traffic in a bus with no access to food or water (not counting a small bottle of gas water, which I managed to take from Suzdal as a trophy - nice addition to the wooden medal), preceded by several hours of taking photos in an open hot, preceded in turn by a 10K "including some trail sections", the last thing I want to think about is running. In fact, approaching my apartment I'm not capable of thinking anything but a shower, some (real) food, some fresh water and a good sleep. But the very first thing that invades my mind as I enter the apartment is "I want to do it again!" That is, the Golden Ring Ultra Trail (GRUT). I just want to go there again.

GRUT-2016 (24 Jul 2016) was the second one (after GRUT-2015). The race organizer, Michael Dolgy, has an ambition to turn Suzdal into the Russian capital of trail-running. And he is pretty much close to it, if you ask me, I spent there a weekend and both days felt like being part of some kind of a family-reunion of (trail-) runners. The atmosphere of GRUT is surely unique.

Main distance "menu" featured trails of 30km, 50km and 100km (T30, T50, T100). For those who are "trail-innocent" there was a "city-run" of 10km (with "some elements of trail", as described by the organizers).

1. The start-kit could be collected in advance in Moscow (which was a good idea, because collecting it on the expo in Suzdal meant waiting in a line). The kit included the bib (chipped), a T-shirt, a bandana, the route map, a bag, pasta-party and bliny (pancakes)-party tickets, as well as some sponsors' stuff.

2. One day before the start the start/finish gate is ready. You can see some tents on the background - those are runners who prefer staying closer to the start line (the T100 start time is 5:00 AM),.

3. Instagrammers love the GRUT-banner ))

4. The pre-race expo is crowded. Meanwhile, the sky is getting stormy.

5. Evgenia Rumyantseva demonstrates the running apparel of her own design. Very nice and stylish. Girls-only, though ))

6. The sky is getting more cloudy. The rain is approaching. 

7. And here it goes. The rain was short but heavy.

8. The expo-tents now are packed with wet runners. 

9. By Sunday morning the sky is clear. The day's going to be hot.

10. The soldiers are not real. Just part of the fun ))

11. Time to gather for the start. The 10K, T30 and T50 races start at 7:30 AM.

12. Ready, steady, go! The ground is still soft after the rain...

13. ...but the course changes to asphalt as we leave the hotel area.

14. The Suzdal kremlin,

15. Oops. What goes on?  

16. Ah-a. These are the "elements of trail". Just a down-slope with a narrow path. No one overtkes, as the rule is to stick to the course for the sake of the environment. 


18. While we were snaking around the beauties of the Suzdal kremlin, the leaders of the 10K race are already on their way back. The first among the men is Sergy Konyakin...

19. ... and Julia Kryukova is the first among women.

20. This bridge was built by the GRUT organizers as a gift to Suzdal.


22. This is not litter,  but the marking of the course. May look excessive on the 10K, but some trail-runners on the longer races happened to get lost (despite the marks). The next day the race organizers collected all litter along the way (including the 50km loop, which T100 runners run twice).

23. "It will be a city-run" they said... "It will be fun" they said...


25. Now when the "elements of trail" are over, we can enjoy the views of the old town.

26. There are some funs ))

27. More of them closer to the finish.

28. .

29. After the finish runners are welcomed by local blacksmiths ("kuznets" in Russian).

30. They burn out a finisher's distance on the wooden medal.




34. Some more photos from the race.

35. Evgenya Rumyantseva runs T100 !.

36. Foot-cramp.

37. Just pull your toes up.

38. and go further. Blue bib means T50.

39. T100 runners make a U-turn after a loop  of 50km (that's after the fininsh gate) .


41. White bib - T100.

42. Some finish-line photos follow.







49. I was glad to meet Michael Bogatyryev, who is a (super-)long distance runner with diabetes. Michael shared his experience in managing distance running on insulin.

50. Empty bottle stucked under the backpack shoulder-strap is not very comfortable, but was inevitable to avoid littering on the course.

51. A kids-run finisher is planning his future 50Ks and 100Ks (I missed the kids-run, because I was busy checking-out of the hotel).

52. Another couple of little runners..

53. And this is Anton Golovin victoriously finishing his T100. To the right you can see Michael Dolgy, the race organizer.

54. Some more fninsh-line photos.








Disclaimer: running may be addictive, consult your doctor before starting running. GRUT is addictive from the first dose.

If you are planning taking part in the next GRUT, please feel free to contact me for advice on logistics etc. via the comment box below or at

P.S. Here's my video from GRUT-2016.

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