I remember the moment I crossed the finish line at the 2019 Berlin Marathon. I began gasping for air and my eyes became watery. Soon after my breathing went back to normal, I realized that I could probably run a bit farther.

But what is farther? A month or so after the marathon, I started researching endurance races nearby. On a google search, I came across the Balaton Szupermarathon. The name caught my attention since I have visited Hungary many times and have fond memories of the country.

The race consists of running around Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in Central Europe. The race breaks down into 4 races, of about 50 km each, distributed over four consecutive days. This race format made the Balaton race a perfect next-step into ultra running.


Course of Balaton Szupermarathon

To prepare for the race, I continued with my marathon training program for about three months. I added mileage to my weekly runs and worked on strength exercises (from the Cool Impossible). About a month before the race, I ran 160 km of the Mauerweg, split over four consecutive days. After this final training push, I did mostly recovery runs until race week.

I flew to Hungary, got to Lake Balaton, and started the race with the wrong foot. On Day 1, I changed my water consumption strategy, to hedge some weight. Wrong move. I ended up mismanaging my water intake throughout the first couple of hours. I bonked at km 32, with 16 km to go. I walked and jog intermittently for the rest of the day. I wanted to puke. I wanted to quit. I made the cut of the day by 120 seconds. Physically (and mentally!), I was done with the race.

Running my First Ultra, Part I
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Running my First Ultra, Part I