“THE E4 RECORD” – A running journey through one of the hardest touristic routes on the Balkans


My name is Kaloyan Peychev. People call me “Kofe” and I set a new speed record of the E4 tourist route! Well, what can I say… 240 km with 13 500 meters vertical climb 5 mountains – Vitosha, Verila, Rila, Pirin, Slavianka 51 hours and 8 minutes We did it! Well, for almost 2 full days I managed to experience complete spectrum of different feelings, emotions and… at the same time all kinds оf amazing views It is very simple left, right, left right But is very simple only on words, It’s a whole different story when you start doing it and you pass the 100 km you then find out that it is not that simple… How hard it is to prepare for ultra distances ? How hard?
Yes… ho hard it is? It depends on how big your balls are! Is there anything easy when it comes down to ultra distances? Well, no… because every race has it’s own specifics and differences.. and no matter how many similar distances you’ve ran in the past There are always particular moments that there is no way you can predict and prepare for. During 1 hour you can go through huge range of emotions which just living your ordinary life you can experience in 1, 5, 10 years but here you can experience those feelings in hours and even minutes… The moment since Stefan and Kaloyan contacted me Since the first day at least once a day… that E4 requires tremendous respect! Stefko, what was the funniest side of the event? Well…. I don’t think there was a funny side of it… Actually, for us was really amusing but i don’t think Kaloyan felt the same way after all… he had to run 240 km with 13 500 meters of vertical climb On the other hand… when we waited for him at the aid stations anxiously looking at the time and the GPS locator For me the most interesting part of the challenge was when I paced him and actually I don’t regret the fact I coundn’t go for the record with him, as planned after all I gained a lot of experience for the future. When I climbed Black Peak I felt really happy, because that was the first tough obstacle and then I could completely focus on the next obsticle which was Verila mountain and I was very much looking forward to running there during the night… because running through Verila mountain during the day is defiantly a nightmare! For me, the experience I gained, being on an event like this as a pacer, as a person behind the scenes, there are many many details that needed to be taken on the account at every single aid station so when Kaloyan arrives, these 3-4-5 minutes at the station everything he needs to be well prepared and ready for him To be honest…E4 is much more than some random guy running 240 km Go GANG! What sat behind Kaloyan’s E4 record was the 50 person team The energy we had came from everyone! No matter what they say … taking a piss is a bliss! At 11:30 AM we must be at Macedonia hut 11:30??? Yes! According to the plan we should be there later?! A? At 11:30 WE MUST BE THERE!!!! So we must hurry up! For me the hardest part is maybe between Ribni ezera and Macedona hut and then the descent to Predela pass From Ribni ezera to Macedona hut there are 5 consecutive mountain tops There are many sharp ascents and descents So the displacement is constantly changing The average altitude is around 2500 meters on very rocky terrain even on the descent from the tops there is no actual trail, but just rocks… Macedonia hut was a crucial stage of the challenge because at that point I already started to feel the fatigue That feeling that makes you feel tired that tells you “you need to stop and rest” When you start fighting your brain and start having those conversations inside your head “No, I am fine”…. …”We need to keep up with the targeted pace” The moment when you try to trick your brain is really important! At Predela pass … the brain started to get a little ahead of me Maybe I recognized the situation 2 years ago when I made my first record attempt where I had a good 1 hour scheduled nap and after that I felt really great and I told myself: “Ok, I need an hour of sleep to recharge” so I can continue stronger in Pirin mountain where I had to climb to around 2500 – 2800 meters is a hell of a psychical and physical challenge During the last few years I got really interested in sports nutrition and did a lot of experiments combining different foods in order to tempt the people I am working with at ultra races and challenges Daniel: Natalia what are doing right now? Natalia: Duck pate with blueberry jam Daniel: So Kofeto will have a yummy snack at the aid station? And the pacers too! The pacers are as much important as Kofeto! …and the whole team of course! We are going to have french province cake, aren’t we? Yes! Stefan: Can you please leave a small piece for me… Cause I won’t be coming… There will be plenty of cake! Emil: If you want some now, put it in your pocket! So you are trying to tempt the
vegetative nervous system? I am tempting the brain! Experimenting with different foods I am trying to make it feel comfy and relaxed We are all dreaming and aiming for the “Perfect Sunday” sleeping late, freshly baked pancakes and walking around at your house still having your pajamas on.. All I’m trying is to recreate those feelings through the food we are serving at the aid stations. There is still work to do To recreate fully – The Pefect Sunday feeling! Isn’t there an aid station here? Zlatin: Yes, but no stop included! Daniel: mobile aid station… Zlatin: When do you have to eat? Now… Now? If it’s now, have a bite for 5 minutes and we go Of course… How so without a rest…?! I have never thought I’d give up. No matter what! Unless, if I don’t brake my leg somewhere The E4 terrain is dotted with places where you can brake not only your leg but the whole body So I tried to focus on my strides and steps to minimize the risk and I think it worked The result of a sporting achievement is a component of several things 30% physics 30% psyches 30% tactical and strategical skills and 10% luck… Actually, these 10% luck that’s the commonly held opinion that you just have a lucky day I personally believe even the luck can be ordered! It comes down to the unconditional faith and the ability to work with the flow I was asking myself… when climbing Vihren peak 2-3 weeks before the challenge… What kind of person are you to do things like that to yourself? To go through all that misery alone… and many people are able to do it… the word I have for this is RESPECT! Somebody has eaten with my toothpick! Tsveti: You are very funny! Well, it’s almost over I’m very angry… no, actually I’m very happy Tsveti: There’s nothing to be angry for Yes, I learned a great lesson Just one cup of tea, a gift from Tevno ezero… …did the whole job! But who would have guessed that… Now we know it! Yeah, those are the small things that are always different… and come from everywhere. And if we knew that in Macedonia hut, probably I would have been here three hours ago! But nevermind… Natalia: Ice, ice! Ice! And you said that we are not going to find ice!? They are bringing ice already! Daniel: Natalia makes ice if she has to! No, I can’t make ice… Kofe: In my opinion every woman is capable of making ice! You haven’t lost your sense of humor, so get up and go! Daniel: You are making them nervous now! Yeah, we entered dangerous territory! Yeah, it’s better to keep our mouths shut… Why this backpack has to be so heavy? Natalia: Because you drink a lot of water. If you had learned to drink less water it wouldn’t be so heavy Yeah, like the joke with the donkey – I just taught it not to eat and it died Have you stepped out of the shade… today? Kofe, do you want to ask me how many pills I took so I can laugh right now? Kofe: And me? That’s why I told Stefan that we share the pills – one for me and one for you. Harry: Come on boy, see you at the top! Expectations vs reality? Well, the only difference in between are…. …measured in time Generally, I never tried to visualise the feelings and emotions that I will experience during that run Those feelings and emotions … they just can’t be described You can’t read about these things in a book and experience or imagine them fully You just have to do this or something similar so you can live it I was so pleasantly surprised We all gave 100% from ourselves for the team, for me and for the idea That feeling of togetherness we had just can’t be described It’s unique! I definitely missed that thing on the Big E, where I was seeing so many beautiful views and I experienced so many emotions, but I just couldn’t share them with anyone… That was a big emotional hole in me which I called loneliness, but maybe it was the impossibility to share the experience with others That feeling definitely was not here on E4 and it fulfilled my soul! E4 with one word? In the format we did it… I can call it a PERVERSION! It’s all about effectiveness, big balls and what price you are ready to pay for it! Stefan: right now I’m after a mountain race and the camera man wants me to climb a hill and speak, but I won’t comment that… Wait, I have to find a word… Let’s do it from the beginning… Natalia: Listen, you know we had a lot of arguments that I don’t understand what you speak? Aha… Yes?! ….because I speak fast?! No, you have to open your mouth and say the whole words clearly without swallowing them Yeah, ok, I am used to talking in front of a camera! Don’t worry That’s why I was walking in front of you and I couldn’t understand anything You didn’t hear me well…! Going to the mountain and howling like a wolf… It’s very strange to me Daniel: It’s really authentic! Daniel: Natalia, show us what you have here, we want to know? Natalia: No, no, I want to show you how they didn’t have enough food for 20km! Harry: This is enough for a mini Himalayan expedition! Look! Daniel: Where is the Rakia? And the memes will start!!!

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