The stage race starts in Loja, Andalusia. 230km have to be run in 5 stages at temperatures of up to 45°C.
The stages lead through the national parks of the province of Granada, over mountains, through the deserts of Loja, Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama, over beautiful single trails, a great canyon, the famous GR-7 hiking trail and asphalt sections.
Most of the time during the day you are alone on the road and have to pay attention to the markings. I am not the only one who occasionally got lost because I have overlooked something. During the stages about every 10-12 km a crew of volunteers waits for the runners providing them with water, cool towels, and shade. At the finish line you are always welcomed with fresh fruit, coke, water, and cool footbaths. The race is semi-supported. This means that you have to bring your own food for the day, incl. breakfast and dinner (expedition food from travellunch). For that purpose, hot and cold water are provided in the morning and evening. On 2 evenings, we were invited to dinner in camp (paella and pasta) by the organizer Axarsport.
It is not easy to consume enough calories in such heat and exertion, but you must stick to it in order to regenerate well. It is even more important to drink enough to avoid dehydration. After each stage there was a briefing with information on the next day (terrain, number of VPs, cut-off times…). After that we would all quickly retreat to our tents to recover and sleep a few hours.
It was an entertaining and great week with nice runners from different countries. I can highly recommend the race. More information at www.alandalus-ut.com
Report: Andrea Ellesser