Trail Kuršių Nerija 2019

Photos taken, and photos of me taken, during the 2019 edition of the Trail Kuršių Nerija (68km). This ultra has participants running along the whole of the Curionian Spit, starting from Nida City and finishing in Smiltynė. The course winds its way through Nida's forest and past its lighthouse, past views of the Curonian Lagoon and The Balctic Sea along a pristine coastline, as well as taking in the dark and dense forest of Juodkrantė City.

Any photos of me are creditied to Fotodyta

http://www.trailkursiunerija.com/en/

Click here to view the route

The race starts at sunrise. The start line is in Nida, .the westernmost point of Lithuania. To get here, the organisers offer a pick up from Klaipeda, across to the island on the ferry and a ride to the start line.

After passing the Parnidis dune it is you are taken through the forest surrounding Neringa and past Nida Lighthouse. This area is full of plants, lichen, fungi, insects, and birds and it can be hard not to stop to have a closer look as you pass each of nature's attractions.

Vecekrugo Hill

The site of the first aid station and the highest point on the Spit at only 68m.

Formerly a big sand dune that threatened to descend on the nearby settlements of Preila.

After the first checkpoint it is full speed ahead towards Preila.

Views of the Curonian Lagoon gradually start to pop into focus.

Preila City

Running along the Preilos Bay, with the Curonian Lagoon on your right and the picturesque houses of Preila on the left. Most of the houses are from the nineteenth century.


After departing Preila you take a sharp turn back inland. After going past Karvaičiai Hill which is situated near Pervalka, you head north through the middle of the Spit before arriving at checkpoint number two.

The Red Bull DJ at the second checkpoint

After serenading us at the start line the DJ made his way to the second checkpoint, which also served as the start for the 47km runners. He could be heard several kilometres before arriving at the checkpoint.

Along the beach

After departing the second checkpoint, it is straight onto the Blue Flag certfied beach. A twelve kilometre stretch of pristine coastline with a view of the Baltic sea.

After departing the third checkpoint there is a section of short, technical forest trail, which sends you up, down and side to side.

Hill of Witches

The Hill of Witches is a unique display of wooden sculptures located in Juodkrantė, showcasing the heritage of Lithuanian folklore. This area is dotted with devils, witches and other heroes created by wood carvers from all across Lithuania. The scupltures are a commemoration of the celebration of the Feast of St. John.


Juodkrantė

After the Hill of Witches you enter the city of Juodkrantė for a short section of yetbeautiful coastline.


After departing Juodkrantė,  it is back through the centre of the Spit, through yet more lush forest and trails with sights of gray gooseberries and cormorants. Eventually you will hit the fifth and final checkpoint which is just slightly west of Alksnynė.

After running past Alksnynė, the sights of the opposing port signify you are nearing the finish line in Smiltynė.

The Finish

And finally, the finish at Smiltynė!

Final thoughts

This race is now firmly at the top of the list of my favourites. The Curonian Spit is a truly magical place to hold a race and the sights, vistas and landscapes one gets to experience and take in are like other. The organisation of the race was faultless and the all volunteers, support and people of Lithuania were exemplary in their warmth, friendliness and kindness.

In summary, this race and this area of the world is a must do and must see for anyone and everyone!

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