date: 12.02.2020

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Toni Lekše is a legend of Slovenian trail running, as he has been enthusiastic about running in nature for thirty years and is greatly motivated to push himself and also others to the challenge.

»For me, running has certainly been a way of life for over twenty years. Thirty years ago, when running and marathons were not so popular, I ran a 10-kilometer lap around my hometown to relax after a long, physically demanding work. People saw me as a fool, but over the years as my ways became longer, many "safe" people changed their habits and began to follow my way ... Over the years I also varied in length and height. Suddenly the road marathons did not refine me anymore and I found the real joy in "trails". Mountains, ascents in summer and ski descents in winter became the activities I enjoyed, help me relax and recharge my batteries.

I have more than 200 races over 42 miles, including 70 ultra-running races. When I enter the start area, I concentrate on the upcoming race. Over the years, I have realized that I am only competing with myself, that we all have the same goal on a 100 or 300-kilometer track, that we sometimes have fun and that we often overcome unhuman efforts. After the finish line with of over 300,000 steps behind us in heat, rain, higher mountains and snow, we swear to throw our running shoes away, but when we lick our wounds, heal our body and calm our mind, we hardly wait for new trials. Longer ones, with more "ups", with more patience and empathy for our team colleagues.

For a long time races in our neighborhood were the concept of good organization and the complete service that a competitor needs. In recent years, the Vipava Valley race is an example of a great organization, the warmth of the organizers and volunteers on the track. From the start to the finish, an exceptional atmosphere along the route, the optimism of the volunteers during refreshments and the attention on arrival to the finish line. There you experience the reception of the one and only real winner – what at that moment you truly are. Basically you have - once again - defeated the worst saboteur - yourself and your weak will. «



Ultra Trailrunner Peter Macuh a happy man with a big heart who you just like!

What can you say about the race, the organization, the track and the volunteers?
UTVV for me is a race of souls. It's the organization. The route is extremely attractive. Many sections are technically demanding. But a 100-mile race is a challenge. The volunteers are wonderful. They are actually raising the race to a higher level with positive energy that they are sowing among their competitors.

Which part of the course is your favorite or perhaps the most difficult?
The most difficult part are the hills in front of Trstelj. They have a great time there on the track. Then a little up, a little down. They're not going out. The route is however very interesting and varied. The biggest part of the route is quite interesting. Perhaps the new conclusion is a little unpleasant. Especially if you hit the target in the middle of the night and in the rain.
The conclusion is also clear.

What is your key to success in trail running?
I love Trail. I feel alive on them. I'm really glad that I can cover 100 miles if you drive through day and night and more than thirty hours go by. I know it'll be over one day. By then, however, the motivation will not be so exhausted.

What motivates you in trail running?
In trail running the movement in nature motivates me to confront myself. Overcoming yourself, shifting your own boundaries. Society. Trawling involves interesting people. He even tracked his own room. The next time you come, you will not retreat from this tribe of evil.

Are you very competitive and always anxious to win during the race?
For me, competition in trawling lies deep in the background. I'm definitely doing my best. And I like to outrun any running buddy if I can. But after the race only a handshake and a hug are valid.

What tactics do you follow during the race?
In my thoughts I want to reach my goal. I keep saying I need to start off calmly. Then I have the feeling that we're all moving too fast. One more, the other less. I set up tactics up to date according to the feeling and configuration of the line.

What is your weekly training?
I am now in the process of rehabilitating myself after the operation. I go to the gym twice a week. With running friends we process k-rožnik once a week and once Tošč and Grmado. There's a race after the weekend. At the moment I realize that you have to increase your mileage significantly.

How many races do you choose each year? How do you regenerate in between?
I take part in quite a few races a year. Last year I had 100 miles of long distance races from Istria, UTVV 100 miles, 147 km TDS, 103 km UPT, 100 km K24, 60 km Valamar, 60 km Kranjska gora, 42 km further LM and many shorter races. When I was very young, I had a brutally good regeneration. So in 1982 I ran on Saturday afternoon at 2:53 the Radenci Marathon next morning, but pretty solid with a good 8 km Muti. The rehabilitation is still in order, but unfortunately even the closeness is not so exceptional anymore.

What races do you have in mind for next year?
The calendar will be approximately the same as last year. I will not go to the UTMB festival this year, but I will run 80 km in Cortina. For the last part of the season I haven't decided where I'm going yet.

What are your ambitions for UTVV2020?
Get around and enjoy faster than last year. I was so sleepy on parts of the track last year that I had the feeling she was going to pick me up. I want to do better this year.

Do you also do other sports? What does that mean to you?
Recently I have been working regularly as a fitness trainer, which is a nice addition. I loved mountain biking. In winter I try to do cross-country skiing and at least some skiing.

What is your inspiration in life?
The nearest one. It gives you joy to live. And the desire to be an inspiration in itself. Irene and I are together a lot. The older son Marko is a successful physiotherapist. I have the good fortune and privilege of processing so much. The younger son, Matjaz, is a nutritionist and personal trainer. We take him twice a week to train with Irene.
You could say that we have everything in the family.

Do you have any advice or maybe some of your thoughts that I would like to share with the runners?
The hiking trail is a wonderful way to get in touch with nature. We can explore our limits, we face ourselves. However, it is advisable to connect with loved ones. I am fortunate that over the years it has been like that, just as wife Irena loved the activity. The path is a way of life that should be related to other aspects of life.



We are honored that Philippe Genevaux will run with us. We met him on Swiss Peaks Trail-singing and playing on his ukulele all 360 km! Impressible!

»I'm a 30 years old French guy. The first time I discovered Trail Running was 10 years ago when I lived in Paris. I trained some years before I participated in the Grand Raid de la Réunion in 2014 and the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc - UTMBin 2015. In 2016, I moved to Montpellier (south of France) and during a Trail race, I tried to take a ukulele to play and sing just for fun. People were so pleased to hear me that I continued to do this. Now I have learned more than fifty songs to spread joy during competitions and to meet a lot of wonderful people. Furthermore, it also helps my mind to overcome difficult situations for example in the MDS 2017, Euforia Del Cims 2017, Festa Trail 2018 and Swiss Peaks Trail 2019. I'm really proud and happy to participate in UTVV, I've never been to Slovenia and I think this is the perfect way to discover this country. See you soon! «

»Do you have suggestion for my Slovenian song - to motivate runners and to inspire the volunteers?«


Jason Pecoraro

We are proud to have Jason Pecoraro:
» I am from the Southern California mountains, I am a Taurus, I really enjoy entering long races on trails that I have no business attending, I like throwing up on the side of the trails... In front of the sweepers.....haha but for real, I just like being outside. I enjoy traveling and making an eclectic group of friends. I am approachable, down to earth and fun-loving. I always have time for people taking pictures of me or with me. I like to run in sandals and set myself apart from the crowd with my attire.«


Vane Kralj

Vane Kralj is the runner who has chosen the longest distance for all UTVV performances. His motivations are tiny and small things that make us happier than we think. Therefore he takes the courageous step into each new day and at the same time enjoys giving his human value, praise, embrace and the word "I LOVE YOU". It is not money but words that work wonders.

But let's tell him more:
What can you say about the race, the organization, the track and the volunteers?
They say you never forget your first love. The same goes for "my Vipava". Here I fell in love with the Ultra, which has become my way of getting in touch with nature and my team mates. It was this contact between runners, organizers and volunteers that outweighed the technique of trail running. This attitude, the sparkle in the eyes of the volunteers and the realization that I am not just a number in the race has deepened my love. I can't live without her today. For me, it's more than just love, it's a drug. I became a walking addict.

Which part of the course is your favorite or perhaps the most difficult?
My favorite part is the Rob route. The view of this Vipava Valley in all its glory impressed me. It's best at night. For me the ascent before Štjak is the most difficult part. This short part kills me again and again, both mentally and physically.

What is your key to success in trail running?
The love of running and nature mixes with stubbornness.

What motivates you in trail running?
New adventures and finding your limits.

Are you very competitive and always anxious to win during the race?
I am competitive. I compete with myself. I always set myself a time target that I try to stick to. However, everyone who has cost the journey knows that there are unpredictable things along the way that need to be addressed at this moment. Stubbornness always comes to my rescue here. At the beginning it is hard to bear and a burden for me, but later it always comes to my aid and leads me across the finish line.

What tactics do you follow during the game?
I walk, I walk with feeling. I never cross my threshold. I enjoy it!

What is your weekly training?
This could be discussed. I run about 4 times a week for 15 km. Other days are reserved for other sports.

How many games do you choose each year? How do you regenerate in between?
I earn two to three months a year. Usually one, if not two marathons and another shorter run. Regeneration is my main concern. After the Ultra I stand in silence for two days, then it starts to tingle.

What games do you have in mind for this year?
hiking trail (Istria, Vipava, Podbrdo), Ljubljana Marathon. The rest is random.

What are your ambitions for UTVV2020?
Like every year. Fight with yourself to the end.

Do you also do other sports? What does that mean to you?
Of course. I would wish for a lot, and I do some of it. Unfortunately, the day has only a limited number of hours. I love the hills and everything to do with it. I like to ski, ride my bike, play basketball and dance. The latter is in my opinion the worst. I'm sort of packing it all in. It creates a blend that I love. And this is the trail.

What is your inspiration in life?
Life is a journey. To try to turn the direction of travel in your favor and do the things I want and want to do.



Introducing Benjamin Kodele (Benjo Plezalec) as a native from Vipava Valley. Benjamin is the only runner to complete 100 km of all Ultra Trail Vipava Valley - Slovenia edition. He is a recreational mountain runner and running in nature gives him the best challenge. He tries to enjoy the race as much as possible because all that matters to him is crossing the finish line.

Register to UTVV Slovenia 2020 - 6th edition and write your own story now!