#271: Do you even MOW, bro?

When Elvir, the race director, called me and asked for permission to put my photo on the poster of the first Malinska Outdoor Weekend, everything kinda stopped. I don’t know what have I done be honored like that, but I am grateful to heaven and back that I was given such an honor. A real honor. Not because I am someone important, but because my photo faithfully conveys the feelings towards Kvarner Trails races and running in nature in general. I’m not even a serious competitor. I “just” really like trail running. It makes me truly happy and I don’t worry about the result. But MOW is something bigger, so let me explain it a little.

MOW – Malinska Outdoor Weekend

I wouldn’t like to get into who came up with the idea of ​​making it a weekend event, but I believe that ultimately it is the product of several brilliant minds and even more diligent hands, so that the Malinska Trail, the final race of the Kvarner Trails series, becomes something more, that is, part of a fantastic gathering throughout the weekend. And indeed, all those who decided to come running, hiking, Nordic walking or mountain biking had the opportunity to listen to two phenomenal lectures. The first was on Friday immediately after the race bib distribution for the Malinska trail and it was about the cycling adventure through Iceland, held by the race director, Elvir Sulić, and the adventure photographer Ivan Vranjić. Of course, they also introduced us to the idea of ​​ANWA, or Ad Natura World Adventures, in which Elvir and his life partner Darija Bostjančić and their friends and family describe the wonderful places they visited. Listening to this lecture was a real treat that made us all want to pack a bike, a kayak, tennis shoes… or whatever and just go out into the nature. Ivan and Elvir took turns in the lecture, which was opened by, in my humble opinion, by the one of the best presenters of sports events, radio presenter Dražen Zima, otherwise the permanent presenter of Kvarner Trails sports events. I must say that Ivan’s photography is amazing and that the man is incredibly talented. The entire presentation exudes a love for an active life and connection with nature. I have been friends with Elvir for some time, but I believe that I only now realized how much experience is behind him and his team. If you ever get the chance to attend his presentation or anyone from ANWA, don’t hesitate for a second.

Malinska Trail

After the lecture, we went to rest, and the entire action takes place in the Malin hotel where we stayed (pet friendly, btw). Tomorrow we still have to run, although I decided to go for a shorter race of 14K in order to spend as much time as possible with these wonderful people who I see whey too rare. I kind of envisioned this race as the end of the season and actually a kind of celebration of a pretty good year. The day was slightly cloudy, like the last year, but quite warm and without precipitation. Last year I ran the long distance, which is honestly more beautiful and varied, but I can’t say that the short one lacked anything. It’s one sweetie with just a bit of elevation and actually a great speeder. The first portion is lungo mare, the waterfront run, where concrete and gravel alternate, followed by beautiful single tracks through the forest right next to the sea. It is quite unusual, but it is easy to get used to the fact that grass and oak are a meter from the sea. There is no shortage of greens. Single trail is extremely fluid most of the time, but becomes more technically demanding with rocks more exposed closer to the sea. Then you enter the forest, and after the first refreshment stop, where the paths branch to the short and long routes, the race goes along the forest roads and single tracks. This is a fast race. The longer one is also the fast one, but this one is super fast and leaves enough time to hang out at the finish line, and for those who are starting or have just discovered Kvarner Trails races (or trail running in general), I would say a great entry level running event. Just enough to awaken the desire in you for the next year. After a slightly stronger winter base, you will want to attack Hahlići Trail in the spring (May 2023). Because the dates are already known! And I’m really looking forward to it. And yes, of course, after the race I threw myself into the sea, which was a pleasant 18C (64 F). A real spa. 🙂

But that second day of MOW did not only offer our favorite sprint race, but another event was held parallel designed and guided by Mirela and Bojan from Pomotiv Travel Outdoor, who on Saturday led a hiking tour through the hills and forests around Malinska Dubašnica. The atrium of the Malin Hotel was simply full of people! Full of wonderful people who share an outdoor mindset and love for nature. At the end of both events, after lunch and the distribution of medals for placing in the race, gifts were distributed as well through a raffle, so I would say that many people went home happy… somewhat due to the activities, somewhat for the Salomon and Suunto gifts that are the sponsors of the race (no… I’m not switching to Suunto from Garmin in case you were wondering).

Maja and I really enjoyed ourselves, although Maja had to go to the vet with Vita just after the start of the race. But we solved that too, and hanging out with the volunteers and participants was a reward itself for us. Nice to hear that we are their people! Some familiar faces, some virtual turned into the real contact, and some completely new. With the each of these races I try to prove less and less that I can do something, and more and more it becomes clear to me that this is an ideal opportunity to hang out with people I would like to see more often. It was nice to see Ingrid, Renata, Đurđa, Mirjana, Ivana, Denis, Marina and Martina, Iris and Daria, Elvira (of course), Kristina and Brian, Igor, Pavla, Maja, Jelena, Vanja, Andrea, Goran,… Yeah, I must have forgotten someone. So many phenomenal and kind people. For some of them I don’t know the names, but they came up and said hello!

Basically, so full of impressions, we went for a drink with the Kvarner Trail team and afterwards, at the end of that beautiful day we got a lecture by the true legend of alpinism, Mr. Stipe Božić, who treated us with his story of climbing the highest peaks on all continents, and I didn’t fail buying the book San o Everestu (Dream about the Everest), which the author signed for me. I can’t wait to read it! Stipe is interesting and intriguing. It’s actually amazing to me how he lived and reached a decent age, doing an activity that he says gives you a true 50% chance of not dying of natural causes.

Bit by bit around Krk

Sunday, our third day on the island brought packing and checking out from the hotel, going straight to the Veterinary Station in Krk, where where we were once again welcomed by vet, dr. Slaven Troha. He is really a friendly man, and it turned out that he studied with our veterinarian Mirna. We did it quickly and headed towards Veli vrh for a short hike in the hills with a considerable bura (cold and strong wind from the continent). Jugo (south east wind from the sea), which warmed us for the last two days, has now turned into the bura that was lashing us while walking on the ridge, and Vita was twisting like a leaf because of it. Poor pup. We sat behind the windbreak at Veli vrh and enjoyed the view to the East. A beautiful sunny day, thin cloud-speckled sky. Splendor. But we should go down for a little Baška tour while we’re here. Take a walk along that beautiful beach and sit down for a small menu, coffee and mead, honey brandy while enjoying the view towards the hills to the East of the beach. We also thought about checking the Moon Plateau again, but since Vita was still weak (she was not allowed to eat anything on Saturday), we opted for an easy walk, regardless of the fact that she would be running everywhere anyhow. But we had a date with Elvir in Malinska for a drink and to sit down at the recommended King’s Caffe for burgers (they also have vegan ones). Great club, great place and great service! They even have some of their own beer, and I will say that the stout is pretty good! OK, they also have Guinness, but I decided to try their recommended one. Namely, on the third day of MOW, Elvir and his team provided organizational support to Bojan, who organized a MTB tour around the island, and also about 500 Nordic walkers had their own event. The kids also had a cycling session, so everything was very active and interesting. I am truly delighted with Malinska, which somehow has been escaping my interest all these years. I would always go somewhere else. It is a peaceful, neat and beautifully decorated place. We had a drink with Elvir, hugged the team that stayed to help him on the last day of MOW and as the last stop before the trip we went to see DUBoak.

DUBoak is the maritime heritage interpretation center that Elvir suggested we need visit, and where the guide Dino gave us a rather interesting presentation of the heritage of Malinska and Dubašnica. How afforestation was big thing, extremely important for shipbuilding, but also for furewood, and many other important historical aspects. There aren’t really many artifacts, so the story that Dino presented to us was fantastic and the most important. For those who are more visual people, there is also VR virtual sailing, which could be interesting for kids, although I have to admit that I was also delighted. Thanks Dino! Great job and well done for Malinska!

Anyway, we had to go home. We were very lucky with the weather, so the rain started just the moment we left DUBoak. Really a wonderful weekend and a wonderful introduction to the next year. Thank you Kvarner Trails for a wonderful season, for wonderful gatherings, and I think about 2023 with the great joy. Lots of wonderful moments, wonderful people committed to a common goal, even when it was difficult and when they were saying goodbye to one of their own. See you!

You can find this article in Croatian as well.

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