The Ultra Pirineu takes place in the last week of September and is a big race on the European sky running circuit. And while the race is done and dusted, we thought we’d provide a round-up for any Aussies keen on knowing more about the event and what’s on offer.
Each year, thousands of runners trek to the tiny, cozy village of Bagà where they’ll race one of the three events held during the weekend. Ultra Pirineu is also the final stage of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series.
The event is held in the Cadí Moixeró National Park, an impressive mountain barrier where the main Pyrenean ridge meets the pre-Pyrenees. It’s a unique area with extraordinary views and plenty of trails to tag. The National Park is also a biodiversity hotspot, where the Atlantic and Mediterranean climates converge. The runners enjoy an outstanding diversity of flora species during the race such as red pines, black pines, oaks or holm oaks. A certain Kilian Jornet was also born there and it’s where he started running. Champion Spainish runner, Núria Picas also spends most of her time training in the region too. As you can imagine, it is an area with plenty of trails to hit and natural treasures to discover.
The Ultra Pirineu is a massive event that includes three different races. The longest and most famous is called Ultra Pirineu, a 110km mountain run with 6,800m positive gain around the magnificent Cadí Moixeró National Park, starting and finishing in Bagà. If you’re not into long-distance races, there is also the option to run Marató Pirineu. This marathon starts on Bellver de la Cerdanya and gifts the runners some of the most beautiful parts from Cadí- Moixeró. Finally, the Nit Pirineu is the shortest and also the fastest race. It’s a Vertical Kilometre with 860m of positive gain covering a distance of 5km between “La Molina” and the mountain shelter “Niu de l’Àliga”.
Results round-up – names to watch
Ultra Pirineu Pablo Villa, who runs for the Salomon Spanish Team, won the race after a nice fight with Dmitry Mityaev. Cristofer Clemente was in first position for many kilometres, but he had to drop out because of an ankle injury. Luis Alberto Hernando, known to many on the pages of Ultra168 and who won the Sky Ultra Championship, struggled a lot during the race with knee and stomach problems. The Spanish runner managed to continued and finished sixth.
Maite Maiora is having a fanastic year. The Basque runner has won Zegama and now, Ultra Pirineu. Núria Picas, who won the UTMB, was second, with Karina Mityaeva completing the female podium for the race.
In the Marató Pirineu Kilian Jornet won and set a new record for race, finishing in 3 hours and 44 minutes to complete the marathon. The French runner Nicolas Martín (3h44’54’’ ) was second a few seconds behind Kilian Jornet and the Nepalese Bhim Bahadur Gurung (3h46’52’’) was third.
Kiwi runner Ruth Croft (4h 19’10’’) was the winner in the ladies and also established a new record. Laura Orgué (4h 25’17’’) running her first marathon, finished second after the New Zealander. The Greek runner, Glykeria Tziatzia ( 4h 32’ 08’’) was third.
When the sun goes down, it’s time for Nit Vertical. This vertical race takes place in La Molina ski area and goes up to a mountain hut called Niu de l’Àliga, where the runners will enjoy the traditional “botifarra” meal (typical Catalan sausage”). Jan Margarit and Clàudia Sabata, both Catalan runners, were the winners this year. Jan who was third overall on the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series Sky, completed the race in 38’ 18’’. Pere Rullán was second just a few seconds (38’ 34’’) behind Jan. Adrià Duarri completed the podium. Clàudia Sabata, who knows very well the area, was the first female and completed the race in 48’24’’. Gisela Carrion finished second just 24’’ behind Clàudia. Fátima De Diego finished third running Nit Vertical under 50’.