Accept the challenge!

Ultramarathon course

Real length: 89 km
Altitude gain: +4350 m

Aid Stations (AS) : 9 (nine), drop bag at aid station 4

Control Posts: 11 (eleven)

Start-Finish: Șesu Cald, Buscat Resort

Time limit: 18 h

]track gpx

ITRA Points: 4
Refreshments points Km mark
1 Refugiul CAR 9 km
2 Corţeşti 23,7 km
3 Săgagea sus 32 km
4+9 Crucea Crencii 40,2 km
5 Şesu Cald 45 km
6+8 La Rascruce 61 km
7 Izv. Belioarei 67,1 km
6+8 La Rascruce 73 km
4+9 Crucea Crencii 83,7 km

Latest ultramarthon profile:

Refreshments points Km mark Point to point distance
0 Start Şesu Cald 0 0
1 Refugiul CAR 9 km 9 km from Start
2 Corţeşti 23,7 km 14,7 km from PA1
3 Săgagea sus 32 km 8,3 km from PA2
4+9 Crucea Crencii 40,2 km 8,2 km from PA3
5 Şesu Cald 45 km 4,8 km from PA4
6+8 La Rascruce 61 km 16 km from PA5
7 Izv. Belioarei 67,1 km 6,1 km from PA6
6+8 La Rascruce 73 km 5,9 km from PA7
4+9 Crucea Crencii 83,7 km 10,8 km from PA8
Finish Şesu Cald 89,7 km 5,9 km ftom PA9

Ultra marathon participation conditions

Compulsory equipment:

1. backpack/ waistband storage band
2. mobile telephone
3. water recipient
4. waterproof jacket
5. hat / headband
6. long pant/long tights
7. head lamp
8. survival blanket
9. track map / GPS device

Runners will be accepted at the ultra marathon race if they have already finished a number of long mountain running races until the start of msg Maraton Apuseni. Should a competitor be deemed unfit for the ultramathon race he or she will be directed towards the marathon race. Therefore, it is recommended you pay the registration only after you discuss in advance with the organizers.

The Ultramarathon Running Trail

Total Distance 89 km   Elevation gain: +4350 m   Aid points: 9  (PA5 Șesu Cald dropbag)  CheckPoints: 11 Start time: 00.00

Time limits: Șesu Cald (PA5, dropbag) – 8h, La Răscruce (PA6) – 10h30min, La Răscruce (PA8) – 14h (2pm), Șesu Cald (Finiș) – 18h

What’s new this year on the msg Apuseni Marathon trails? They cross the mountain as hikers like them: in a quiet scenery, closer to nature. And yes, they cross new places!

No more running up on Buscat mountain, but do not get lazy, it won’t get any easier!

As you’ve come to expect, the Ultramarathon race is made up of two loops, with roughly equal technical parameters. The first loop, the night loop, with a deadline of 8h, is however quite special, this year. The second loop, which we hope you will complete well within the final time limit of 18h, is the Marathon loop. The marathon loop also has new elements! Therefore, it’s good if you memorize the route, but also pay attention to constantly confirm with the new track too!

Why is the night loop so special?

First of all because it introduces a challenge: climbing the Muntele Mare (Big Mountain). It is the third highest peak (1826m) in Apuseni Mountains. Why is it so impressive, not even being 2000 m high? Easy to explain: because it doesn’t need to be higher. Competitions in the area wanted to encompass the peak, but couldn’t. It’s a whole plateau exposed to the elements, there are 10 km that also go over the Neteda and La Dube peaks and … there are no alternatives. Besides, it will be night, where the fog is dangerous. You will feel the desire to get to the forest as quickly as possible, but from the forest you will want to get out, seeking that safety of an open place.

Then, it is a truly mountain ultra competition and we dared to do it this way because not long ago CAR Cluj built a refuge on Muntele Mare (Big Mountain), a refuge that will also be PA1. There will be mountain people there and what they decide for your safety must be respected. But the most important thing will be to help each other and feel like a family.

Thirdly, you will reach places with a turbulent history behind them, Șesu Lupșanului and La Morminți. There is a terrace there that can be used as a shelter.

Last but not least, in the morning you will have views from unique angles over the Scărița-Belioara and Trascăului natural reserve.

And yes, the challenge requires at least a plan B, a backup route. But we’re optimistic that we won’t resort to it.

Now, about the “day” marathon loop.

It introduces a new section, going around Muntele Boului, crossing from the Tisa Valley to the Boului Valley. Why they call the latter like yhis, that remains for you to discover for yourselves. Being on the uphill running, let your imagination run wild!

What could we not miss? Obviously, the final ascent on Pietrele Mărunte, and for marathoners and ultra-marathoners, the circuit in the Scarița-Belioara natural reserve.

As for the structure, as in all previous editions, the route of the Half Marathon is common with sections 1 and 4 of the Marathon, linked together with a “strap”, but of only 2 km between the PC points above Știolne and PC Bocșești.

Part one, “the ultra loop”

The route starts with the forest road (military road) to Muntele Mare. Be careful, you are the only ones to follow the red lane (BR) ahead, and only at the second “marathon” loop you will turn left at the point called on the map Intersection1.

One thing that needs to be said and known from the start, because an ultra-marathoner always thinks in advance about what he is going to do and what to watch out for, the ultra track contains loops. When it comes to sections to be run twice, different directions to follow, a regular gps doesn’t warn you in advance about which direction to follow! So, firstly, after the section  from Start to Intersection1, you will go straight ahead.

Sunt 5km de urcare până când marcajele BR şi CR (cruce roşie) se despart, traseul nostru coteşte la dreapta pe BR, ocolind unitatea militară prin dreapta pentru a ajunge la PA1 Refugiul CAR. Trecând de unitatea militară, tot pe stânga este staţia meteo. Aşadar, dacă vedeţi în stânga o bilă mare luminată şi gps-ul de la mobil pare că şi-a ieşit din minţi, nu e vorba de niciun OZN. Dacă însă bila e în dreapta atunci fie e un OZN, fie aţi luat-o greşit. Pentru varianta doi regula e să vă întoarceţi la ultimul marcaj reflectorizant văzut.

It’s a 5km climb until the BR and CR (red cross) markers split, and our route turns right on the BR, bypassing the military unit on the right to reach PA1 Refuge CAR. Passing by the military unit, on the left you will find the meteo station. So, if you see a large illuminated ball on the left and your mobile gps seems to have gone crazy, there is no UFO. But if the ball is on the right, it’s either a UFO or you’ve got it wrong! If the second occurs the rule is to go back to the last reflective marker you saw.

From the CAR Refuge, the route abandons the BR to reach the CR and climbs to the summit of Neteda. From here it follows the La Dube peak which you leave on the right and basically from km 16 comes the descent.

Cross the Lupșii valley that forms not far away, turn sharp left and descend La Morminți. Here there is also a terrace where you can take a rest or a break. You’ve passed the more risky section, from here on even if it’s bad weather, it cannot get worse than a simple wet equipment.

In these mountains the taf make the roads and the animals make the trails. From La Morminți it’s a long and steeper descent on taf road. In 4 km you descend 500 m.

At km 20.2 you will pass by a large abandoned house, it’s good to know it can shelter you.

Up to PA2 Corțești km 23,7 the road is winding, and the only thing that takes you off the pace is crossing the Corțești valley. With the help of sticks used for support or a good rod, you can jump over boulders without getting wet. Use your “carrier pigeon” skills, since the volunteers are eager to know and even pass on information, you can hardly find a GSM signal out there.

You barely get rid of this section and you will have to cross a valley again, Creţoaia. Well, that’s harder, but the sticks are still the basis. There will be no problem if you get wet though, a long steep climb follows, the pair of descents from La Morminți, about 400 m elevation gain, crossing from Doștina hill to Răchiților hill.

After 8.3km you reach PA3 Săgagea. There is a terrace for hikers here too. You are on the forest road, on the right you can see the lights of Săgagea, it’s a speeding stretch with a downhill trend until PC Bocșești. The entrance to the known world is at km37.4, where the ultra loop route intersects with the marathon route at the Țicu hill branch.

The feeding point is no longer at Bocșești, but after one kilometre, at PA4 Crucea Crencii, at km40.

You will also ride this section once more until Stăuina Runcani, a very important intersection point because until PA5 Șesu Cald (basecamp and dropbag place) you will not go through Pietrele Mărunte but, more directly, using a shortcut, you will use the same route as you will descend during loop two, the marathon.

There are only 4.8km from PA4 to PA5, but it’s a sustained climb and it can take at least an hour. Up at basecamp, get ready and don’t forget that PA6, the next one, is La Răscruce after 15km. You can’t stay long, since there is a time limit there of 10h30min.

Part two: the “marathon loop”

From PA5 Șesu Cald, with a time limit of 8 hours, the marathon loop is on! Basically the marathoners have not started yet, get a head start and rest assured that when you have arrived you will receive encouragement from them, the fatigue being compensated by the animation on the marathon loop.

Attention! Start again on the forest road (military road) to Muntele Mare, but this time immediately turn left, descending to the Vadu Valley on the route you have climbed before. After 4.4km downhill you reach the first checkpoint, PC Valea Vadului. This takes you onto a section of previous years’ route, the place where cross course runners will now turn right.

PC Valea Vadului2 is not far, only 6km from Șesu Cald. Attention! No feed point for ultramarathoners!

From here turn right across the water and then follow a road that climbs obliquely up through the pasture to the left onto the ridge on Dealul Boinic. Then descend on the opposite side on a path passing through the Zăpodie/La Zăpozi huts, turn slightly left to go around the marshy area and cross the Tisei Valley. You reach the Tisa Valley CP.

From here comes the new section, with the Boului Mountain encirclement, no longer passing directly to the Știolne huts. Follow the Tisa stream downhill and at km55.9, where it flows into the stream with a worthy name, leave the Tisa and climb towards the PC above Știolne, at km59.4. The PC Valea Tisa-Boului team will be happy to guide you.

At the PC above Știolne the half-marathoners turn right downhill to Știolne, heading back towards the finish, but we climb. From the summit of Mount Româneasa, turn left on a gentle descent to a wide saddle where, at km 61, is PA6+8 La Răscruce, which you’ll pass again later!

WARNING! there is a 10h30min time limit on the first crossing.

From here, continue uphill towards the border of the Scarița-Belioara Reserve. Cross the reserve (a meadow, then rare pine forest) to the lip of the abruptness, above the deep valley called Groapa Mare. Carefully turn left on the path that follows the edge of the abruptness. Enter the forest to the left briefly, then return to the sunny side. You are back on the lip of the steep Groapa Mare, then re-enter the forest where you can see the traces of a former fire (path through downed and charred trees), descend the ridge for a while, then, turn sharply right on a winding path. BE CAREFUL not to dislodge rocks that could injure those further downhill!  You will come out of the forest in the clearing of La Cornu Pietrei, where you turn right and climb about 20 m to the pass.

From the Cornu Pietrei pass go down the road through the beech forest, then climb smoothly on a path through the birch grove and come out on the beautiful ridge of Dealu Brădățel.  You will descend with superb views down to the limestone cliff on the right on which the great Coșu Boului/Coșu Belioarei arch and the Groapa Mare stand out, and in front, Dealu Bilii on which you will arrive. At the edge of the forest you will find a path that takes you to the right, to the dry valley called Răstoaca and then left along it to PA7 Izvorul Belioarei, located at km 67.1, halfway through the marathon loop.

From here go down 1 km on the valley road to PC Valea Belioara/Colțul lui Balmoș, then cross the stream and climb a local path through the meadows, past old houses and stables, then obliquely right to the ridge called Dealu Bilii. Follow it to the right, then descend still to the right to the edge of the forest. Here you will find the tourist path marked with a red PR-point, which you follow to the left up through the La Stânci area, using the ropes placed by the mountain rescue members in the steeper area. You pass through the forest and three pools; in the 3rd, called “La Măteoaie” there is a spring where the thirstiest of you will be able to quench your thirst although, after another 15-20 minutes through the forest, you will reach PA6+8 La Răscruce again.  You are at km73.

Those of you who have not exceeded the time limit (14h) will continue on the path that “slaloms” through the junipers, then through the forest to Fântâna Popii – spring with “ciurgău”. After exiting the forest on the ridge, you descend not far through the junipers, marker ribbons will direct you to the right to PC Dealu Răfăileștilor, then left to Valea Mărginită. In the village, at a crossroads, you will find PC Săgagea, at km 77,8, from where you are directed on the hill with the two little churches, then to the right on the small paths that lead you to Dealu Țicului and enter the forest at the forest road.

Ajungeţi astfel la tronsonul pe care l-aţi mai parcurs o dată dimineaţa, nu vă îngrijoraţi. Urmaţi forestierul la dreapta încă 1.8 km până la PC Bocșești, nu departe de noul PA, unde sunteți la km 82,6 și unde vin dinspre dreapta și alergătorii de la proba de semimaraton.

Se vor traversa apoi vreo trei izvoare mlăștinoase și se va ajunge lângă alte câteva colibe și un gater: PA9 Crucea Crencii, km83,7. Vin 4km de urcare grea la Pietrele Mărunte, vă poate lua o oră să ajungeţi sus.

Se cotește la stânga în urcuș spre poienița Stăuina Runcanilor, se intră la stânga în pădure, curând la dreapta tot pe un culoar din pădure. Atenţie, Stăuina Runcanilor este locul unde în bucla precedentă aţi folosit scurtătura ca să nu urcaţi pe la Pietrele Mărunte.
Se iese în golul montan plin de ienuperi printre care poteca vă conduce la PC Pietrele Mărunte, km 87,7. Mai aveți aproximativ 2 km până la Sosire.

Se coboară lin spre dreapta, se trece pe lângă o căbănuță de lemn, se ajunge la „drumul militar” (Colţul Rotund) și pe el la dreapta, în coborâre lină,  ajungeți la Finiș.

Ați parcurs sau reparcurs unul dintre cele mai frumoase trasee de alergare montană, care v-a purtat prin locuri în care v-ați simțit „hoinari prin trecut” și prin care ați alergat „în ritmul muntelui”!

Vă așteptăm an de an cu dragul ce-l avem pentru toți oamenii care iubesc și practică mișcarea în aer liber și care respectă curățenia și liniștea muntelui!

Redactat: Dinu și Marlene MITITEANU

So you will get to the section you’ve done before in the morning, but don’t worry! Follow the forest to the right for another 1.8 km to PC Bocșești, not far from the new PA, where you are at km 82.6 and where the half-marathon runners are coming from the right.

You will then cross about three marshy streams and reach a few more huts and a gater: PA9 Crucea Crencii, km83,7. Afterwards, a 4km section of hard climbing to the Pietrele Mărunte, which can take you about an hour to get you to the top.

Turn left uphill to the Stăuina Runcanilor clearing, turn left into the forest, soon right again along a forest lane. Be careful, Stăuina Runcanilor is the place where in the previous loop you used the shortcut to avoid climbing the Pietrele Mărunte.

You will come out into a mountain hollow full of juniper trees through which the path leads you to the PC Pietrele Mărunte, km 87.7. You have about 2 km to the finish.

Go downhill smoothly to the right, pass a wooden hut, reach the “military road” (Colțul Rotund) and on the right, in a smooth descent, you reach the FINISH..

You have walked or re-walked one of the most beautiful mountain running trails, which has taken you through places where you felt like “wandering through the past” and where you ran “in a mountain beat”!

We look forward to seeing you, year after year, with the love we have for all people who love and practice outdoor activities and who respect the cleanliness and tranquillity of the mountain!

Written by:  Dinu and Marlene MITITEANU