Meet Kaloyan Peychev a.k.a. Kofe. He is a mountain man. Over the last couple of years, Kofe has dedicated most of his time to his greatest passion – mountain trail running.
We met him in 2017. He sought our support for his idea to run the E4 mountain trail. The Bulgarian part of the European long-distance path starts from Sofia, and passes through Vitosha, Verila, Rila, and Pirin mountains. The end is at Gotsev Peak in Slavyanka Mountain, close to the border with Greece. In total: 240 km, 14,000 m elevation.
– Kofe, why did you need to do this? Isn’t it incredibly exhausting?
– I’ve always wanted to find out how far I can go and what the limit of my physical and psychological capacity is. I had no real clue how to accomplish such a feat. I knew it would be difficult. Sleep wouldn’t be possible, and I needed extra help. I knew that high-quality food was a must. So, I got in touch with harmonica.
Although Kofe didn’t cross the E4 finish line and quit 30 km before the end, his bravery and humility inspired us, so we continued to support his initiatives.
The following year, in the summer of 2018, Kofe began his ‘Great E’ adventure. His goal was to run 1,300 km on the longest trails in Bulgaria – E3, E4, E5, in less than a month. Not only did he astonish everyone by succeeding, but Kofe did it in only 26 days. What’s more, he received minimum external help and had to deal with challenging conditions.
– Kofe, how on Earth did you come up with this idea? Furthermore, how did you accomplish it?
– I am happy that, back then, there were people who believed in me and my ambitious goal. People who decided to support me and I didn’t disappoint them. On the contrary, I realized I am good at things that are beyond most people’s powers. Until now, nobody has dared to repeat this run.
A year later, in 2019, Kofe made his second attempt at E4. This time he succeeded and set the record at 51 hours, 8 minutes. Unlike 2018, Kofe trained heavily and enjoyed support from a large team. We helped with providing food for everybody for these sleepless 48 hours.
At the end of the year, we organized an event to screen the documentary about the initiative (watch it here) in the office. Obviously, an intense Q&A session followed the screening. Many people came, and it was awesome!
Then, 2020 came and made traveling and planning impossible. For Kofe, this year meant shorter routes and more record attempts.
In August, he set the Fastest Known Time (FTK) for a full climb and descent of the highest peak on the Balkans and Bulgaria – Musala from the Borovets resort. He did it in 2 hours and 48 minutes. That’s when we asked Ruslan Vakrilov to shoot a short video, which we could use to tell Kofe’s story and spread the inspiration.
– I’ve always felt that we live in an unbelievably beautiful country. Bulgaria’s nature astonishes me every time I am in the outdoors, which is most of the time. Personally, 2020 made it even more evident that we don’t need to travel thousands of kilometers only to find something we already have. Even revisiting familiar places feels somehow different. Maybe because we are the ones changing.
– Kofe, tell us about the cause that motivates you?
– Lately, as well as being an ultramarathon trail runner, I’ve realized my role is as nature’s ambassador, who needs to advocate for its protection. In fact, I believe every one of us has to do the same. We want a wholesome life that leaves a negligible, next-to-no footprint on the planet. To achieve it, we have to encourage local food production, since we’re so dependent on food. This is where my vision meets harmonica’s. It is because of this, that we work together so successfully and will continue to do so. This is what I call sustainable development.
And here comes the most significant part:
In 2021, Kofe wants to make another dream come true – to become the first professional Bulgarian ultramarathon runner. Since it is unclear how the year will unfold regarding competitions, Kofe is preparing for his next challenge. Namely, beating the speed record on the longest mountain route in Bulgaria, the E3. It starts from Kom Peak and finishes at Emine Cape at the Black Sea. You can support his dream by making a monthly donation to Patreon here. We’ve already done it.