Transvulcania Ultramarathon La Palma

Monday, 11th May, 2013, Isla de La Palma. 
1684 Athletes
The race is on.
Yes, with more participants than ever - and many turned away once the list was full, this was the fifth Transvulcania Ultramarathon. 
With one of the most grueling courses in the world following the route of the GR131 El Baston, this is no ordinary run. Normally an exacting trek taking three to four days with accumulated descents and ascents totaling 8525 metres, the winners complete the run less than 7 hours.
Starting at Fuencaliente Lighthouse at sea level, the course moves swiftly upward to Los Canarios and the volcano route, often running on sand, pine needles and volcanic scree. The views are magnificent, should they pause to bother with that. Passing through the pine forests of El Pilar and onto the isolated and magnificent ridge of the Caldera, the route ascends even further up to 2426 metres and the Roque de Muchachos, the Rock of the Young Men (and/or Women).
This is the uppermost part of the run and possibly a cause for celebration. except that from here on in, it's steeply downhill all the way to sea level, running on loose stones which cover narrow, twisting paths. Finally back down at sea level once more and the small port-side village of Tazacorte, the route of El Baston ends. But not the run. 
With a final and, dare I say, painful twist the Transvulcania demands that the runners make one more ascent. A steep and merciless concrete path takes on all-comers and finally allows the survivors to arrive at Los Llanos, the largest city on the island, and the cheering crowds.
The Transvulcania Salomon Nature Trails  this year was won by Kilian Jornet in the men's division with a time 6:54:09 hours and Emile Forsberg in 08.13 hours. 
For those for whom the 83.3km might be a little too much to tackle, there is also a half marathon (still grueling just less of it) and fun runs.
Apart from the total of over two and half thousand entrants of the Ultra and half-marathon for whom we have immense respect, appreciation also goes to the organisors, staff and volunteers.  
Next year, in addition to the 83.3km Ultramarathon, the 26.8 km half marathon and fun runs, there will also be a 42km marathon.  Looks like you'd better repare your destiny.
You can see a short video here as the athletes storm Roque de Muchachos.

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