Yulia Baykova, a Russian in Italy

Yulia Baykova

In September 2014, at the 50km of Trail del Moscato, for the first hour of the race I found myself alternating the position in the race with this woman that I just couldn’t follow downhill.

It was very hard to keep her pace that day and at a certain point I lost sight of her.

At the finish line she arrived about 45 minutes before me :-).

The name of this Trail-runner woman was and is: Yulia Baykova.

After that event the paths with Yulia often crossed. The main reason is that, together with Vincenzo (her husband) and the help of many wonderful volunteers, she is also the organizer of a beautiful international Trail Running event that takes place in October: Ultra Trail Lago d’Orta – UTLO (ultratraillo.com).

I have attended three UTLO editions (2014, 2015 & 2017) and every time it was a real genuine party before, during and after the race.

Obviously, in these occasions, I also had the opportunity to greet and chat with Yulia in person, confirming what she usually shares on the social media: a great enthusiasm and passion for trail-running and outdoor life.

She also tries to convey this passion to the people who follows her along the paths. In fact, beyond being an athlete, Yulia is also Trail Running & Nordic Walking coach.

In short, she has those characteristics that make her a “trailer“.

However, she is also an “emigrant” for about fifteen years in Italy. In fact, Yulia has the Italian nationality but her origins are from Eastern Europe, precisely from Russia.

Therefore, she definitively belongs to the category “emigrantrailer” and, when I asked to her if she would have like to join the idea of this page, she did not hesitate for a moment to tell me she was happy to be part of it.

So tonight, we picked up the phone, and although Yulia had recently returned home and it was already late, she was very kind to give me more than the expected time for this chat, replying very spontaneously to my five TRAIL questions.

T like Trail-Running

“Yulia, you are an Ultra trail athlete but also a Trail Running coach. When did this passion start and how do you convey this passion to those who follow you in Trail Running? Do you have any special tip for beginners?”

“Well, this passion started with mountain running in 2009-2010. My first official trail running race was in Spain in 2012, around Valencia. Then I took part in the Tor des Geants in 2012 and since then I never stopped trail running”

“How do I convey this passion? There is not a real plan. I just do what I like that is mainly to stay as much as possible in outdoor environments and appreciate the beaty of the nature”

For beginners I suggest to start gradually, without jumping immediately over mega distance. With you, Andrea, we have just said how much this world (trail-running) has changed. Ten years ago, doing 50 km seemed like a great achievement, doing 100 km seemed to be an epic achievement. Nowadays, if you do not complete the endurance races (i.e. more than 200 km), you have done nothing. And it is obviously a wrong and distorted view of Trail-Running”.

R like Rebirth or Resurrection

“Yulia, your dramatic story in 2015 greatly affected the Italian Trail Running community (for those unfamiliar with it, Yulia talks about it on her website). Fortunately, it ended well, but what struck me was your strength, your desire, your determination to be back on the tracks as soon as possible. Can we say that if one has such kind of determination, even seemingly impossible things become feasible?

“I partially agree. Determination was fundamental, but not the only key element. Going back to trail running was a dream for me and my passion has such strong roots that I did not want to allow anyone or anything to let me down. Moreover, I wanted to give an emotion to all those who had been close to me in the most difficult period: Vincenzo, all the doctors and of course all the friends. So determination but also passion”.

A like Alpe Preer

“Alpe Preer is the example for your 360° passion for the outdoors. Would you like to tell us something more? How did this idea come about?”

“This was also another dream. We had been looking for a mountain hut for years but there was nothing available. Then two years ago the dream came true almost by chance. Alpe Preer is then right on the trails of the UTLO. So, it is a fantastic combination. Here you are right in the middle of nature. In the evening and at night you are surrounded by animals: foxes, roe deer, wild boars. And there is always something to do: chopping wood, plowing the ground, sowing seeds”.

I like Interests

“Yulia, you are an ulltratrail athlete, a Trail Running and Nordic Walking coach but you also have other interests, like photography! am I wrong? and what are other interests?”

“Yes, I like photography. But I must tell you that I really like the collection of wild herbs, to then generate herbal teas. This, for example, is the time of harvesting birch leaves :-)”.

L like Lake

“When I think of you, the association with Lake Orta (Lake Orta – Wikipedia) is automatic. For those wishing to visit this beautiful area which trails would you recommend?

Ahahah! Too easy to answer: ULTO, UTLO, UTLO. I’m not saying this just because I’m part of the organization. Look Andrea. Yesterday I did 20-25 km around here on the UTLO trails passing by view of the lake and the alps, crossing over alpine ridges, descents among the beech woods: all beautiful. Then I also want to tell you what happened in 2019 (you weren’t there). It was a unique edition with continuous rain for hours and paths that had become streams/rivers. I had great respect for all the finishers and participants. But do you know what was the most beautiful thing?

“No, tell me. I am now curious”.

“Most of participants told me that “it was a special edition, for the rain and the cold, but above all for how all the volunteers welcomed us and pampered us in every refreshment point”. Therefore, Andrea, UTLO is also special for our fantastic volunteers”

“And having been there several times, and knowing some of them in person, I can only subscribe to these claims”.

“Thanks Yulia and I hope to see you again soon!”

Additional information about Yulia

In case you would like to contact Yulia for more detailed information about his being an “emigrantrailer” in Italy, it is useful to know that:

Related projects and articles

Other short chats with “Emigrantrailers” from other parts of the world at the link: Emigrantrailers around the world | EmigranTrailer.

Enjoy Trail-Running!

Andrea De Filippo

Original post in english language. For other languages, please open with a web browser (i.e. Chrome) and apply the automatic translation.

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