The first edition of the ECOTRAIL Funchal took place today on the stunning island of Madeira.
For those who know, they will say, Madeira? wow, that is a hilly island for a race. I agree! It’s a very hilly island for a race.
Three events, 600+ people and community united are the key statistics from this inaugural edition.
Starting at 0600m the main event of the day, the 80km race (5400m of elevation gain) departed the centre of the town and under the illumination of head lamps the runners set out for what was without doubt a tough day and for many, night, on the trails of Funchal.
At 0900 the 40km event with 2500m of elevation gain departed from Algeria (Alegria) and finally at 1100, the 17km event with just 250m of vertical gain departed from Bico (PICO) de Barcelos.
Madeira is known for it’s great all year climate but race day proved to be a mix of glorious sunshine, cloud and light rain. However, the conditions for runners were perfect enabling the majority to run in conditions that were neither to hot or cold.
First edition races seldom have high quality fields but here in Madeira three world-class French runners toed the line:
Arnaud Lejeune – recent 2nd place at the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji
Julien Chorier – Champion of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail in 2014 and 6th at Western States in 2015.
Fabien Antolinos – 6th at UTMB 2015
Although Lejeune and Antolinus dominated the 80km event and Chorier won the 40km race, the ECOTRAIL Funchal is much more than elite names racing and setting records. The race is all about motivation and inspiration. This was reflected in the 17km event where local people arrived in their hundreds to take part and support
The race, the people and the island rely on tourism and without doubt, the ECOTRAIL race adds a great boost.
The 80km and 40km races
The race started by following the main streets of the town heading east and then up to Curral dos Rameiros and Monte. Following trails, technical at times they head to the 1800m summit at Pico do Arieiro and then drop like stones to Allegria (this is the 40km start). Navigating through suburban streets a brutal uphill follows and then a descent to Ribeira Grande, Santo Antonio. At Levada Negra another steep climb awaits, unfortunately this is the nature of Madeira trails; they go up and down! From Pico de Buxo they drop downhill towards the sea and stunning views of Funchal. Following trails and paths they navigate to the finish in Funchal with a final stretch running along the coast and the finish in Avenida do Infante.
Starts from Pico de Barelo and takes in the final sections of the 80km and 40km events to finish on the Avenida do Infante in Funchal.
In the 80km race, Arnaud Lejeune lead from the front and had a stunning day on the trails of Madeira. Despite a fall, he arrived in Funchal looking strong. Fabien Antoninus played the bridesmaid and as the latter stages of the race unfolded he obviously decided to take his foot of the gas and save some energy.
- Arnaud Lejeune 8:30:09
- Fabien Antoninus 8:49:46
- Leonardo Diogo 9:51:17
Ana Conclaves was the ladies winner in 12:43:24
All 80km results are HERE
In the 40km race, Julien Chorier raced in 2nd place for most of the day behind Marco Silva but at around 34km, he pulled away and took a strong victory on a course that he said was, ‘very tough challenging and technical!’
- Julien Chorier 4:29:55
- Marco Silva 4:33:57
- Virgilio Ornelas 4:46:07
All 40km results are HERE
The 17km race was all about fun and in many scenarios it provided a first race opportunity for many locals. No doubt, they will be inspired to look ahead to 2016 and maybe move up to the 40km distance.
- Marten Bostrom 59:36
- Francisco Freitas 1:03:39
- Jorge Pimenta 1:06:01
All 17km results HERE
At the time of writing results are slowly but surely coming in as all races have not finished. We will update this post with information as and when available.
You can check the ECOTRAIL Funchal website HERE
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Registration and pre-race click on an image and view the gallery
The early hours click on an image and view the gallery
Race images 1 click on an image and view the gallery
Race images 2 click on an image and view the gallery
Finish 1 click on an image and view the gallery
Finish 2 click on an image and view the gallery