Romania has a few very cool running competitions, that are famous outside its borders for some very good reasons. If you're not familiar with the country, let me tell you that we have very cool mountains that other countries don't have. This is why a running competition can be attractive to those who can only run on plain surfaces at home.
One of the coolest competition is Tusnad Marathon , which is held every year in Tusnad, a town in Harghita County, Romania, located at an altitude of 650 metres in the southern reaches of the Ciuc depression.
The race is basically a half marathon, 23 km road race with 750 m level difference. This is no joke as it puts you to the test if you don't have the training for it. The good thing is that it's situated at an altitude of 650 metres and at the time of the competition the weather is just perfect for the race. Running in tropical heat is pretty hard but here you don't have to face the heat.
As you can see on the first photo, the medal is pretty amazing, it has a running bear on it. This is not just for fun as that area is indeed full of bears. Some sources say there are 7.000 bears in Romania but their number could be higher. A good part of these animals will be killed as there's no other choice. The ministry has tried to offer a part of the animals to any European country who wants bears but there were none.
Now imagine yourself participating in the marathon and come across a bear :))) It sounds funny but it can happen. That's why the mascot of the competition is a bear.
So far there were no incidents during the race. I guess organizers along with the forestry office are doing everything they can to protect and keep participants safe but there are a bunch of jokes every year. They say you can be sure you finish the race in time as the bear is setting the pace for you.
I was planning to participate on a race once as that medal is something every runner would love to have, not to mention the beautiful place, the fresh air, but it's too much for me, I'm not even allowed to run :)
Last year out of curiosity I went through the start list and was shocked to see so many foreign participants from all over the world. Each year there are more and more which is great.