100 Miles of Istria – License to thrill!

A tall, skinny man walks inside the headquarters of Advendure. He is wearing a black tuxedo and sunglasses with black lenses. It’s close to midnight and no one is there at that moment. This mysterious figure walks through the main hallway, straight to the elevator that leads to the top floor. The elevator is the only entrance to the chairman’s office but in order to have access there you have to know all the passwords or have a special permission by the chairman. It is said that nobody ever saw the face of the chairman of Advendure. They even say that he has never gone out of his office from the moment they launched the website. Even if you manage to get inside the office, his two sidekicks, Dimitris Troupis and Takis Tsogkarakis will stop you from going closer to him, so I really wonder who is this man dressed in black.

 

 

The man, now, stands in front of the panel that is located next to the elevator doors. An electronical voice is heard from the panel’s speaker.

  • [Please enter 7 digit password]

The man enters the code: 2FAST4U

  • [Password: Correct. Please repeat the phrase “Long is the way and hard” after the bib sound.]

BIB.

The man, now, says the secret phrase in front of the receiver that lies with the keyboard, underneath the panel.

  • [Voice recognition: Correct. Please step in front of the scanner for the last security control.]

A metallic cover, to the right side of the panel, opens and reveals an eye scanner and a fingerprint detector.

  • [You have 5 seconds to place your left eye in front of the eye scanner and your right palm onto the fingerprint detector.]

The mysterious man follows the instructions.

  • [Access granted!]

After a few seconds a green light flashes over the elevator doors which are now opening. The man enters the elevator and presses the button that goes to the top floor. I, really, wonder what he wants to do, so late at night, inside the chairman’s office.

 

The elevator doors open. Straight ahead there is a big wooden desk with a luxurious leather chair that no one is sitting. To the left, there is a very big fireplace made out of marble. Over the fireplace there is a lion’s head hanged and in front of that there is a thick carpet that probably has been made from a tiger’s fur. To the right side of the office there is a black, leather sofa where Takis Tsogkarakis is sitting.

 

  • Takis: Dimitris Troupis where have you been the boss was waiting for you. And why, the heck, are you dressed in a tuxedo?
  • Dimitris: Well, all the time I’m wearing shorts and compression t-shirts and trail shoes and I really missed being a little formal…
  • Takis: Whatever…

 

Soon after that, a giant TV screen behind the desk is turned on. It displays the logo of a 100 mile trail race 100 Miles of Istria

 

  • Boss’ voice: (He’s heard through the TV’s speakers) Welcome, my loyal children! There is a reason of great importance for this late night’s meeting. Does either of you two know what the “100 mile of Istria” is?
  • Dimitris & Takis: No!
  • Dimitris: I think one of our guys went there a couple of years ago but I cannot recall his name.
  • Boss’ voice: Yes, exactly. I had sent a special agent on a covert mission, back in 2016. He went there to infiltrate inside the organizing team of the “100 miles of Istria” but soon after the race his cover was blown and I had to cancel the whole operation. One month ago he was assigned the same mission but last week I lost track of him. The organizing team of the “100 miles of Istria” is the front window of a Croatian organization that tries to take over the world and so far their plans are becoming real. Last year their race was included in the Ultra Trail World Tour and now they are only one step away from ruling all human kind!
  • Dimitris: What was the special agent’s name?
  • Boss’ voice: Theoharis Lezpouridis.
  • Takis: What else do we know for this race Boss?
  • Boss’ voice: Pay close attention to the screen! My secretary, Ioanna Drakatou, will reveal all the details you need to know.

 

An athletic, woman’s image is displayed on the TV.

 

  • Ioanna: Hello boys!
  • Dimitris & Takis: Hi Ioanna! You look great!
  • Ioanna: Thanks boys but leave the compliments for another time. We must find our missing agent now. Please, focus!

 

The “100 miles of Istria” is a 100 mile race that is held each year, during April, in the peninsula of Istria, which is located North of Croatia. Former special agent, Alen Paliska, is the race director but we strongly believe that he’s the mastermind behind everything because he runs the whole place! People say that he is a kind person but our Intel proves he is up to something big that has nothing to do with kindness! So, he better not fool you two!

 

 

The race includes four different courses, the red, the blue, the green and the yellow one. The red and blue courses are the longest ones, 168 and 110 kilometers respectively, and they stretch throughout the entire peninsula of Istria, from East to West, while the green and yellow courses, 67 and 41 kilometers respectively, start from the mainland of the peninsula. All four courses end up in the city of Umag, which is right next to the sea. In fact, the finish line is next to the waterfront and you will, also, find Alen there. Our Intel revealed that he’s obsessed with seeing the pain and struggle on the athletes’ faces as they cross the finish line after so many kilometers.

 

 

The red course starts from Labin which is a very beautiful town on the eastern side of Istria. All athletes are driven there, from Umag, by chartered buses and the race starts in Friday noon. The total elevation gain for these 168 kilometers is 6.539 meters and it doesn’t sound that much. Nevertheless, our Intel says that this course is very demanding and shouldn’t be taken lightly! After a few kilometers from the start, on trail roads, the route starts heading to the mainland through dense forests. The terrain is very technical in the first half of the race so you’d better be prepared! The light will go out very soon on Friday, but before this happens you’ll be given a unique opportunity to enjoy some breathtaking panoramas and spectacular views! Unfortunately, you will have to cross the highest mountain of Istria during the night which is not that simple with all the rocks and stones in your way and the cold, strong winds blowing whenever you reach a summit! In Buzet aid station, which is the main aid station where you’ll find your drop bags, our Croatian contact will be waiting for you as you may need some help. The place is said to be crowded with Alen’s guys there! They go up and down scanning everyone’s bib number before leaving, so be careful. You may think that it’s all milk and cookies after Buzet but the truth is that you’re in for a big surprise! Crossing lots of medieval towns throughout the peninsula, for the rest 80 kilometers, is very strenuous! Each one of these towns is located on top of a hill which means that you’ll be going up and down quite some time. On the bright side, you’ll get to see wonderful landscapes and get to know some of the residents living there. Just remember not to let anyone find out your true identity! You are just ultra-distance runners.

 

 

Blue course is not that long but it gets very tough from the moment you set off from Lovran, another seaside, little town on the east side of the peninsula. The race starts at Friday night so you’ll have to rely on your own powers to climb 1.400 meters in the first 8 kilometers! From that point on, the course is similar to the red course with only one exception. After leaving Buzet you’ll take a “detour” that leads to Oprtalj. Our Intel couldn’t find enough information about this particular trail so you’ll just have to assume that it’s going to be hard! The course merges with the red one, again, 30 kilometers before the finish line so it’s still going to be up and down until the end. The total elevation gain for the blue course is 4.394 meters and it is 110 kilometers distance until you reach Umag. Remember everything you learned in your basic training at the boot camp and you’ll be fine!

 

 

The green course and the yellow one are basically the last part of the red course, starting only from different points. The green course is 67 kilometers long and starts from Buzet on Saturday. Although this course includes long and flat parts, where you can run a lot, there are, also, steep climbs and technical, rocky trails that require caution! After all, the total elevation gain for this course is 2.441 meters so the green course will be a real challenge for you! Last but not least, the yellow course starts from Motovun, also on Saturday morning, and follows the red course on its last 41 kilometers. With 1.129 meters of total elevation gain this course is a little mix of what all the other runners will face in the red, blue and green courses. Umag won’t be very far but the last 10 kilometers through some fields will test your patience!

 

 

Once you reach the finish line in Umag try to locate Alen Paliska without being noticed. It’s crucial to find a way to infiltrate inside the headquarters of “100 Miles of Istria” and plant a bug into their phones. It’s the only way to find what happened with our missing field agent Theoharis Lezpouridis. Moreover, the last two years “100 miles of Istria” is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour calendar which means that everything is upgraded. Two years ago, Theoharis was speaking of an outstanding organizing team that was taking care of all the details. I don’t, really, know what he meant by saying “all the details” but this mission cannot tolerate any mistakes! So expect nothing less from Alen and his team.

 

We managed to register two runners from Greece and we booked their accommodation for four nights during the days of the races. The organizing team offers the opportunity to choose between two 4 star hotels using their website. This is your way in! Blend with the other runners and everything will go according to plan.

 

If something goes wrong, Advendure has nothing to do with it so you will be, truly, on your own.

 

Take care you two!

 

Theoharis Lezpouridis

Photo copyright: 100 miles of Istria, Daniel Cerovac

 

 

 

ΕΠΟΜΕΝΟΙ ΑΓΩΝΕΣ

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