In 2020, AdventureCORPS® – organizers of the world-famous Badwater® ultramarathon running races in Death Valley and across the USA – will host a six-day, point-to-point, 160-mile (260km) trail running stage race in the Republic of Artsakh, the democratic, Christian, Armenian homeland located just east of Armenia itself. Formerly known as Nagorno-Karabakh during the Soviet era, Artsakh is a fascinating, wonderful country that few people have even heard of, and even less have visited. AdventureCORPS aims to change both of those facts by bringing runners from all over the world to compete in the Artsakh Ultra™. The inaugural race will be held August 30 through September 4 of 2020, and the goal is to have 50 runners representing at least ten different countries participating. (Twenty runners representing four countries have already registered.) The event will be held annually thereafter and AdventureCORPS already has plans underway to develop additional endurance sports events in Artsakh in the near future.
The Artsakh Ultra race will be held primarily on the Janapar Trail, a hiking trail network which stretches from adjacent Armenia into and across Artsakh. The route is primarily held on jeep tracks, along with single track trails, some dirt roads, and about 10 miles (16km) of paved roads.
The race will be organized in a “stage race” format, in which runners will run a certain section of the Janapar Trail each day. Each day’s “stage” will be timed separately, and overall results will be calculated by adding all six days’ times together. The first stage will be 22mi / 36km; the next four stages will vary from 26 to 34 miles (42 to 55km), while the final stage will be 16mi / 26km. With a total distance of 160mi (260km), there is a total of 26,000 feet (8000m) of elevation gain along the route.
Beginning in the northeastern Armenian city of Vardenis, after 15 miles (24km) and at the top of a 9000-foot (2743m) pass, competitors in the Artsakh Ultra will leave Armenia and cross into the Republic of Artsakh. From here they will follow the Janapar Trail – with a few side diversions to see ancient sites – and transect the majority of this magnificent country. The six nights on the trail will include tent camping the first three nights and hotel stays the final three nights. Luggage transport will be provided each day and most breakfast and dinner meals will be provided. (Runners will provide their own energy food while running, and will be on their own for restaurant dining on two nights: in Vank and in Stepanakert.)
More details on the race website: www.badwater.com/event/artsakh/