The recently announced Jelsa Trail is a bit different than your average trail race. Namely, it will retrace the route of the renowned procession Za križen (Behind the cross), which takes place every Maundy Thursday on Hvar island. The race is scheduled for Saturday, April 23rd, ten days after the traditional procession.
And what a setting for a trail race! Hvar island boasts no less than six UNESCO heritages, Za križen being one of them. You’ll get to discover a few more as the immensely scenic trail takes you through olive groves and vineyards, with cerulean waters of the Adriatic as a backdrop. The route runs through the Stari Grad Plain and along numerous dry stone walls, both UNESCO heritages.
Participants can compete in one of three categories, all endearingly named after a few local favourites:
Srdelica (Sardine) – 5 km, +260 m
The shortest and easiest route Srdelica is beginner-friendly and a perfect choice for those who’d prefer to participate in a more casual manner, soaking in the sights while they walk the trail at a comfortable pace. The trail starts and ends on the waterfront in Jelsa, in the meantime offering wonderful views of island scenery, including the splendid view from the ancient tower Tor. There won’t be an aid station on this trail, and the time limit to finish the race is 2 hours.
Škarpina (Scorpionfish) – 11 km, +420m
This route is beginner-friendly, but also suitable for more experienced runners. The trail starts and ends on the waterfront in Jelsa. After the initial ascent and passing by the tower Tor, the trail continues to run through olive groves and vineyards to the picturesque Pitve village, then back to Jelsa. The trail will have one aid station in Pitve (7km mark), with 3 hours allowed to finish the race.
Šanpjer (John Dory) – 20 km, +620m
The longest route requires a higher level of physical fitness, but isn’t technically challenging. Like the other two, the Šanpjer trail starts and ends on the waterfront in Jelsa. After they pass by the ancient tower Tor, runners will head to Pitve and then follow the route of the renowned procession Za križen. The trail runs through gorgeous places in the environs of Jelsa: Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Vrboska. Two aid stations will be set up on this route, in Pitve (7km mark) and Vrbanj (12km mark). Four hours are allowed to finish this route, with an added time limit halfway through – racers are allowed 2 hrs 15 mins to reach the checkpoint in Vrbanj.
Sweet and salty snacks will be offered at the aid stations, together with fruit, water and juice. After the race, you can look forward to a proper Dalmatian feast in Jelsa, complete with klapa singing.
The winners will be awarded medals in the shape of Hvar lace, another iconic Hvar feature to bear a UNESCO title.
Interested? You can register for the race on Stotinka.hr – everyone who pays the entry fee before April 14th gets a t-shirt and a glass water bottle for free, both adorned with the Jelsa Trail logo.