We welcome back Pol Puig Collderram to the pages of Ultra168, our man for all things Spanish and for today, Andorra too. Pol spent some time in New Zealand a few years ago and occasionally writes for us to keep us abreast of some of the goings on in the ultra world in Europe. We’re grateful to Pol for providing us with some insights and I hope it inspires a few of you to look into Andorra Ultra Trail.
The Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord took place in the first week of July in the Principality of Andorra in the middle of the Pyrenees. More than 3,000 runners from 49 countries participated in one of the six races that each year, receives more international runners willing to attempt one of their ambitious races.
Approximately 90% of Andorra’s territory is undeveloped and summer is the perfect time to hit the trails. The runners from AUTV have the pleasure of experiencing and suffering through three nature parks. It is more than just a race, it is a journey in itself.
Eufòria dels Cims – 233km 20,000m+
Nahuel Passaret and Julián Simón (68h 49 min) were the winners of the first edition of AUTV’s toughest race. Julia Bottger and Tomm Zechmeister (86h 27 min) won the mixed teams category. According to the race website, no all female teams finished unfortunately. Eufòria is an Ultra Raid of 233km 20,000 + that has to be done in teams of two in semi-autonomy under the full moon.
The path is not marked so you have to follow a track and use a map to complete the route. There were just 4 aids stations where the participants could get food. The first edition was as tough as expected and many teams could not finish the race. Ninety teams started on Wednesday morning but only 49 made it to the end. The path is very technical and participants had to know how to move at high-altitudes and on rugged terrain. In the first 24 hours, five injured runners had to be rescued by helicopter.
Ronda dels Cims – 170 km 13,500m+
Ronda dels Cims is well known worldwide for being one of the toughest 100-mile races and it covers the whole of Andorra. Antoine Guillon (31h 05 min) and Lisa Borzani (38h 14 min), who also won in 2016, were the winners of this years’ race. This year, well known Aussie runner’s, Andy Hewat and Roger Hanney completed the race too. If you want to know what it’s like, just take a read of Roger’s race report and grab a cup of tea while you’re at it!
The giant route does the whole loop of the Andorran mountains, including a visit to its highest point, Comapedrosa (2,945m) from where all the runners enjoy breathtaking views of the Pyrenees. Ronda dels Cims is as tough as it is beautiful. It is one of those must-do races for an ultra runner. 400 runners were at Ordino on Friday morning but just 184 could make it to the end. By those numbers, you can guess that it’s not an easy race.
Ultra Mític – 112km 9,700m+
Although Ultra Mític is the third longest of the Andorra Ultra Trail distances, it is also very hard. From the 415 participants, just 212 completed the whole route. Mític, as well as Ronda, is an extreme alpine race that demands a lot from the runners. One of the highlights of this race is summiting Comapedrosa, the highest Andorran peak, after midnight.
Sebas Sanchez (18h 49 min) and Aida Fornieles (23h 02 min) were the winners of this stunning race.
Celestrail – 83km 5000m+
Celestrail is a beautiful loop of 50 miles that shows you some of the best parts of Andorra. During this race, you cross three big passes at more of 2,500m where you can enjoy the stunning landscapes. Armando Teixeira (10h 55min) and Marta Escudero (13h 29min) were the winners of this race of which only 289 participants finished.
Marató dels Cims – 42.5km 3,000m+
Not all the races in Andorra are long-distance runs. If you like running marathons here you have a genuine alpine marathon with an elevation gain of 3000m+ that offers views of the magnificent scenery from northern valleys of Andorra. Roberto García Fernández (4h 49min) and Queralt Riba Hernández (5h 20min) were the winners.
Solidaritrail – 10k 750m+
On Sunday morning Solidaritrail took place. This is a fun walk, open to everyone, including people with disabilities. The participants can enjoy the surrounding area of Ordino and held captive for some spectacular views over the whole valley. It is a non-competitive event that encourages everybody to enjoy the mountains.
Image credits: Andorra Ultra Trail