A warm Turkish welcome immediately engulfed me upon arrival at Kayseri airport. I was swept into an awaiting mini bus with a number of other runners as the call to prayer echoed across the city and lightening flashed across the dark sky. I breathed an extended sigh of relief. I’d finally made it and could leave the travel dramas of the past eighteen hours behind. The late-night puncture heading north on the M25 to Stansted Airport, the pre-dawn start and the super tight flight transfer navigating Istanbul visa control, immigration and domestic flight protocol was firmly consigned to the past. I let the babble of foreign languages injected with the odd sporadic English word wash over me through a tired haze as fellow runners excitedly exchanged stories in the seats behind.
At the very last minute I’d shoe horned a weekend mini-break to Central Turkey into an already packed travel schedule bouncing between Chamonix, Barcelona and London. All in aid of taking part in the Salomon Cappadocia Medium Trail (CMT). Not exactly the ideal lead into an ultra though I’m a bonafide sucker for the lure of travel and race combo. Also, I’ll openly admit I’ve got a soft spot for the Cappadocia Ultra race series after winning the full version in 2016 as an Ultra Trail World Tour sponsored athlete and featuring in the TRT sports channel mini-documentary “Taming the Ultra”.
Now in its fourth year the race has doubled in size since its inclusion on the Ultra Trail World Tour Series circuit. It’s a perfect example of the diverse ultra-running global community as over 2,000 athletes travelled from 75 different countries. If you’re on the hunt for UTMB and ITRA points there are 5 points allocated (and Western States qualifier) for the “full monty” 119km race, 3 points for medium 63km and 2 points for 38km.