On June 4, a crowd of foreign and Slovenian ultrarunners gathered again in the center of Kranj to compete at the I FEEL SLOVENIA12RUN running event (6 and 12 hours run). At the same time, the second national championship for 12 hours and the championship of Bosnia and Herzegovina for 6 hours were held.
Almost 140 runners from more than 20 countries (Taiwan, Tunisia, Denmark, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Finland, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina and others) stood at the start. The competition among men for 12 hours was very strong, as the best foreign ultrarunners took part in the race, such as Andrzey Piotrowski (Poland), Marco Visintini (Italy), Pascal Rüeger (Switzerland), Michal Šuľa (Serbia), Pavle Kruljac from Croatia, winner of SLO12RUN 2022 Uroš Srnec (Slovenia) and many others. The Greek ultrarunning legend Yiannis Kouros was also the guest of honor this year.
The winner of the 12-hour run is the Italian Annalisa Fitti, while the Swiss Pascal Rüeger celebrated among the men
Annalisa Fitti won the women's 12-hour race, covering 132.950 km, second place went to Romanian Mara Guler (126.250 km), and third place to Slovenian Marjeta Gomilšak (123.120 km).
Among the men, Pascal Rüeger (161.250 km) won the 12-hour race, Pavle Kruljac from Croatia came in second, who also set a new Croatian record (150 km), and Slovenian Domen Kozjek (131.170 km, winner of SLO12RUN 2021) took third place.
After 8 years, the race have got a new record holder. The Swiss improved the race record set by the Italian Marco Bonfiglio in 2015 by more than eight kilometers.
Yiannis Kouros and Janez Černe, Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Kranj, awarded awards to the best in the 12-hour race. As befits the town of Prešeren, the winners of the 12-hour race also received a men's top hat and a women's Urška hat.
The winner of the 6-hour run is Stevanović Mladen (85.590 km, BIH), while the Slovenians Marko Tomažin (77.760 km, winner of SLO12RUN 2021) and Aleš Debeljak (75.015 km, winner of SLO12RUN 2022) took second and third place.
Italian Silvia Luna (81.900 km) stood on the highest podium in the 6-hour run among women, the second was Hungarian Krisztina Megyeri (73.040 km), and the third was Berny Čeplak Poznič (66.230 km, SLO). The cups were awarded by the deputy mayors of Kranj, Janez Černe and Manja Zorko.
The title of national champion was won by Marjeta Gomilšak and Domen Kozjek. Medals for the national championship were awarded by the president and director of the Athletics Federation of Slovenia, Primož Feguš and Nejc Jeraša.
This year's partly modified route made many records possible; the men's 12-hour race record and the 6-hour race record for both men and women fell.
Foreign runners also boasted new records. The Swiss Pascal Rüeger improved the Swiss record at 12 hours, the Italian woman set a new record at 6 hours, and Mara Guler set the Romanian national record at 12 hours. Pavle Kruljac was happy with his success, as he set a new Croatian record for 12 hours. The Bosnian record for 6 hours also fell.
The atmosphere in the start-finish area and along the route was spectacular, as the crowd of fans and spectators cheered and encouraged the runners all day.
"I'm glad that the international ultramarathon elite gathered in Kranj, and I'm especially pleased because it was a record-breaking race. In addition to the many national records of runners from abroad, the race was also a record in terms of the number of competitors and the number of spectators. The praise and reactions of all the performers already testify to the fact that the race was placed at the level of the world championship. Thanks also go to all the volunteers who took care of the runners all day and to the spectators who cheered, because the atmosphere in Kranj was truly exceptional", summed up Klemen Boštar, the director of the event, who, together with Maja Rigač, are considered the driving force of the SLO12RUN.
The route is circular, 1,250 meters long, asphalted and runs through the streets in the center of Kranj; the route is also certified by AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races). The course has been partially changed, compared to previous years, as the organizer wanted on the one hand to provide competitors with a fast course to break records, and on the other hand to listen to the townspeople, with the desire to provide as much access to the city center as possible.
The 12-hour version has the IAU silver label (International Association of Ultrarunners), which proves that it is a top-level race that is also internationally known; and the 6 hour race has a IAU bronze label. The quality of the event was also recognized in Slovenia, as last December the mayor of the municipality of Kranj, Matjaž Rakovec, presented the organizer with a plaque from the municipality of Kranj, which further confirms the excellence of the event.
In 2015 and 2016, the event was held in Trboje, but in 2019 the organizers moved it to the center of Kranj, making the race even more recognizable and attractive for both runners and spectators.
Saturday evening is traditionally reserved for thematic conversation. Marko Roblek and Niko Rakovec discussed the future of the ultramarathon with guests from abroad and Slovenia (Janez Černe, Domen Kozjek, Michal Šula, Yiannis Kouros, Andrzej Piotrowski, Mara Guler, Mirko B. Miklič, Maja Rigač).
The organizer of the race is the Athletic Club Ultramaraton Slovenia, the co-organizer is the Kranj Culture and Tourism Institute, with the support of the Municipality of Kranj and the Athletics Federation of Slovenia (AZS). The partner of the event is the Slovenian Tourist Organization (STO, I Feel Slovenia).
IAU Communication Committee
Photo by Damjan Koncar and Tadej Pisek / FOTOSTREL