Accept your destiny - running the GR131, La Palma

If you are into endurance, then how about the 3rd Transvulcania Ultramarathon on La Palma in the Canary Islands, probably the toughest run in Spain?   It's certainly not for the faint-hearted at 83.3 km for the Ultramarathon and 26.8km for the half.   And of course I should probably mention that La Palma is said to be the most mountainous island in the world for its size.
The run starts in the extreme south of the island at sea level from the Fuencaliente lighthouse and follows the trail of the GR131 up the volcano route ....
The volcano route
 ... right over the top of the island, the Roque de Muchachos at 2426m above sea level ...

and then continues down the GR131 trail to Los Llanos de Aridane in the west.  Ouch! 
 That is an accumulated ascent of 4,415 metres and acumulated descent of 2,910.  It normally takes three or four days to walk but - hey - what's the point of hanging around, you might as well get it all over in one go!   If you think it all sounds a bit tough, give a thought to the military who will be competing in the full Ultramarathon - with 26 kg on board.  The half marathon is of course slightly kinder but let's face it, it's still going to hurt.
 The exciting thing for us is that La Palma is really getting into gear not just bringing the amazing walking opportunities that the island has to offer up to scratch but now the running opportunities with fell or hill running (mountain running) and extreme endurance running too.   In the first Transvulcania in 2009 there were 387 runners and in 2010 there were 647 so it is growing in popularity.  This year, the maximum has been set at 800 runners, that's 450 in the Ultramarathon and 350 in the half marathon.
Plenty for the rest of the family and kids too with a range of distances right down to a minithon of 500 metres for the under 7's. 
That's the bad news.  The good news is that you've got a week to get your application in and, well, ages to train.  Four weeks anyway.
I have decided however that I shall not be entering.  It has of course been a very difficult decision but I feel that my talents lay more in the cheering department, giving encouragement to others.  And, after all that running, for anybody who has a mind to explore the GR130 along the dramatic north coast, don't forget our bed and breakfast accommodation or even self-catering cottage for a few days of R & R.  I think you'll have earned it.
Sponsored by Salomon Nature Trails, the date for this years La Palma Transvulcania is Saturday 7th May, commencing at 06.00 hrs. Come and accept your destiny.  click here for more details
You can see more photos of the first section of the GR131, the volcano route here

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