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Welcome to my blog. I hope you get some inspiration to run somewhere new from my log of Ultra Running Destinations. These are all places I’ve visited, so can personally recommend them for an ultra adventure. Hope you have a nice stay!

Czarny Groń Mountain - Beskids, Poland

Czarny Groń Mountain - Beskids, Poland

I was lucky to get to work in Southern Poland in the city of Wrocław.  Wrocław is home to many international companies and is known for its picturesque large central square.  I visited here many times for work so got to explore the city by running and also to use it as a base for trips inside Poland and the Czech Republic.  It’s likely that Wrocław is not on your list of cities to visit in Southern Poland as Kraków, the second largest city in Poland, is much more well known.  However, especially if you are visiting Berlin, Wrocław is a relatively close 4 hour car drive if you are looking to road-trip to Kraków and also explore some excellent trail running in the Southern Beskid Mountains.

I found the Hotel & SPA Czarny Groń hotel in the Little Beskid Mountains as a base for my run.  I chose it because it sits right at the base of the Czarny Groń mountain and also is close to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp that I wanted to visit.  The hotel is only a 3 hour drive from Wrocław so I could get there not too late on Friday night after work.

The first thing I did on Saturday morning is visit Auschwitz.  This isn’t a place that you necessarily want to visit, but it is important to understand what happened there to ensure such things never happen again.  I got there right when it opened so I could join a tour group and be able to visit both areas. Despite having read about the concentration camps, I didn’t fully understand the scope until I saw it in person and could see the evidence firsthand.  A very moving experience and something I’d encourage you to see.

After the tour I headed back to the hotel and went out for a run.  Since the hotel sits at the base of the Czarny Groń mountain the trail starts just meters from the hotel lobby.  I didn’t have a lot of time because sunset would come quickly, so planned a shorter run of about 10.5 miles (17km).  My goal was to reach the peak of Laskowiec (3000 feet / 920 m) which is the third highest in this area of the Beskids.  The peak is where many of the local trails intersect as well (red, yellow, black, blue and green).  After visiting the peak and taking in the views, I headed over to PTTK Hostel.  The hostel’s website has the best description of the trails (use google translate) I found in the area.  Since Pope John Paul II is from nearby Wadowice there are memorials to him in many places, such as the Groń Jana Pawła II, and the blue trail even begins in Wadowice, his birth place.

This second evening I enjoyed a nice dinner at the restaurant and also relaxed in the spa.  The hotel has one the coolest indoor pools I’ve ever visited, and since it was later in the evening and off season, I had it to myself.

For day two, I found something that looked interesting on the satellite map that I could reach on the Main Beskid Trail.  It is a man-made lake at the top of a mountain used to store power. The PGE Elektrownia Szczytowo-Pompowa / Pumped-storage Power Plant also has a small ski resort and amusement park.  Distance wise, I also thought I could get there and back before checkout from the hotel, but given the terrain I ended up not having enough time.  Part of it was the nearly 4000 feet (1219m) of elevation gain in the 17 miles (27k) run, but also the trail was very muddy in places. The trail is heavily used by mountain bikers so was wide and mostly easy to run.  However, the closer I got to the reservoir the less used and more single track it became.

Poland is a large country so there are many great ultrarunning destinations options.  I’m glad to could visit the less well-known Southern Beskids and hope to visit other areas soon.  

Tracks

Start and Finish : Hotel & SPA Czarny Groń
Distance : 10.2 miles / 17k
Elevation Gain : 2,255 feet / 687m

Start and Finish : Hotel & SPA Czarny Groń
Distance : 17 miles / 27k
Elevation Gain : 3,812 feet / 1161m

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