"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Golavec Hill Run - Ljubliana, Slovenia - November 2017

Golavec is not a mountain by any standards (except perhaps South Wales standards where any hill or moorland gets called "the mountain") but it was overlooking our hotel on the outskirts of Ljubliana and the forests with their promise of trails and paths had a magnetic attraction, not just for me but for most of the Songs of the Soul crew who were in town for a concert at the Spanski Borci theatre.

I was up for 6am meditation and it was just light enough at 6.35 for me to sneak out of the hotel's night entrance with the torn-off corner of a tourist city map and my phone for google maps as backup. The high point was around 450 metres and it was marked on the map and on google with a dotted line showing the war memorial trail passing right through it. Clearly it was time for a run to the summit, though I expected it to be a featureless point in the middle of the forest.

My achilles had been troubling me for some months but after 3 steady races (not flat out but not just jogging either) in the preceding week I felt fine to test it a little more. Off the highway and on to the gritty fire road I found myself ascending steadily with no more than a dull ache from the injury which soon subsided. It felt great to be climbing up the winding route into the forest and pale sunrise greeted me as I came around the shoulder of the hill and found the memorial trail. It's actually a better surface than the road - later I saw a rider on a cyclocross bike coming down it - certainly no dirt track. The map showed that it ran in a loop around the city skyline - maybe a long run for another day?

The summit was, as expected, mearly a clearing in the forest but it was marked with one of the many memorial posts with a grim pattern representing  barbed wire. This area has seen conflict throughout history, which is hard to appreciate on such a tranquil morning in beautiful forest, but the trail serves as a reminder. Lets all hope for continued peace in the Balkans - not just uneasy compromise but real and lasting peace.

All in all I was running for an hour and a quarter without any injury hassle and I was surprised at how fit I felt on the way up - a very inspiring and encouraging run in a lovely part of the world.


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