Trail Menorca – Cami De Cavalls 2018

The Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls is a group of races that show the islands beauty to its full potential. Five races encompass the whole of the island by following the way-marked ‘Cami de Cavalls’ route.

Walking or running 32km’s to 185km’s, there is possibly no better way to embrace the island of Menorca.

Three day’s of running and five races. The TMCDC (Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls)is the longest race at 185km’s, starting in Ciutadella at 0830 and 1430, runners take in the whole perimeter of the island in a clockwise direction to finish back where they started. They have 46-hours to complete the journey! A quality elite line-up will contest the distance and the men’s race includes Gerard Morales, Antoine Guillon, Eugeni Rosella, Casey Morgan, Pere Lluis Garau, Isma Marques, Toni Contesti and Miguel Capo. For the ladies’ Gemma Aveli, Tere Nimes, Alice Modignani-Fasoli and Tina Ameller.

The TMCN (Trail Menorca Costa North) (100km) starts at 0030h but finishes at the opposite end of the island after weaving in, out and up and down the jagged north coast.

At 0600, the 85km TMCS (Trail Menorca Costa South) starts in Es Castell located in the east at 0600. There is a stark contrast in terrain the west and east. The west is rugged, aggressive and relentless whereas the east is lush and the journey south is a plethora of coves, beaches, rock and of course turquoise sea that makes Menorca so appealing to tourists.

The 32km TCN (Trekking Costa North) starts in Addaia at 0800. Running into coves, forest, beaches and trail turn Menorca into a playground illuminated by the moon and the glow of head torches.

And finally, at 0900 on day 2, the TCS (Trekking Costa South) 55km runners start their journey back to Ciutadella from Calan Porter.

Trail Menorca have a simple concept to provide runners of all ability an opportunity to experience the best of Menorca. Of course, it’s a huge challenge for the race organisation to cover so many races over so much terrain, however, they have been doing this for many years and the race grows in stature each time. Menorca has a casual, relaxed way of life, for one weekend, the island becomes alive with athletes as they journey around the island.

“I was amazed by the beauty, the varying terrain and the scenery. The final 20km of the 85km event although flat were brutal. I had just not anticipated that the terrain would be so technical,” said Elisabet Barnes post race in 2015. Two bloody knees confirmed her effort and commitment.

“I have to agree, this island was a surprise. I run in Mallorca a great deal,” said Casey Morgan. “I had not anticipated that the island would be as flat as it is but in sections the trail is extremely technical. The contrast from north to south is also quite amazing. It’s a beautiful island.”

The next pedition will soon be underway as runners from all over the world arrive in Menorca from May 16th in anticipation of the 2018 Cami de Cavialls.

More reading:

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Mayonnaise, gin, cheese and taulas – Trail Menorca 2015 by Niandi Carmont

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Mayonnaise, gin, cheese and taulas ……..what do these words bring to mind? No, you got it wrong! The answer is ………Menorca!

Yep, not many people know that mayonnaise (and who doesn’t love dollops of it on chips) was invented by the Duc de Richelieu on encountering and adapting the Menorca aioli. As for gin this little island is home to Xoriguer Distillery and is well-known for producing its own distinctively fragrant variety of the spirit.

But where is Menorca might you ask? This Balearic Island is located in the Mediterranean off the Spanish coast not far from Mallorca. Menorca means windy island and hardly surprising as there is a gentle breeze on most days due to its relatively flat relief. A little wind is welcome if you consider that the island enjoys 300 days of yearly sunshine.

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Booze, sea and sun ….convinced? Well what enticed me to the island were none of the aforementioned but more the opportunity to take part in what I consider to be a fantastic and scenically beautiful trail race. The Cami de Cavalls is the backdrop of several trail races organized on the island in May. It is an ancient hiking trail/path of 186km that takes you around the coastline of the island. This long-distance walking route is the GR223 of the Senderos de Gran Recorrido network in Spain. Historically-speaking the Cami de Cavalls was built in order to connect the watchtowers, fortresses and cannons distributed along the coast. It was patrolled by soldiers mounted on horses hence the word cavalls meaning horses in Catalan.

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In the 2015 edition there were several distances: 185km, 100km, 55km (trekking), 32km (trekking).

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The 85km race (TMCS, Trail Menorca Costa Sud)) takes on the whole southern coastline from Es Castell to Ciutadella. This is the trail race I decided to do as I really wanted to experience as much of the historic Cami de Cavalls as possible but had only just recovered from Marathon des Sables 4 weeks prior. Taking that into consideration it seemed the best and most reasonable option. I arrived in Menorca on Thursday and my race start was on Saturday so this provided me with the opportunity to relax a little, do some sight-seeing and pick up my number and chip without too much stress. Thursday on arrival in Ciutadella I picked up my number and chip after some leisurely tapas and rosé in the port and attended the race briefing in the late afternoon for the 185km. This was followed by a cocktail with some local dignitaries involved in the sponsorship and promotion of Trail Menorca .

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The Friday was spent walking around the cobbled streets in the old quarter of Citadel and having fresh grilled squid al fresco with 2015 MDS winner Elisabet Barnes near the town-hall and an early night in anticipation of the early race start the following day. Saturday I was woken by my alarm at 5am. Some instant porridge and I was off to catch the shuttle bus at 6am to the start in Es Castell. What is practical about the different races is that they all finish in Ciutadella, the 185km and 100km (TMCN Trail Menorca Costa Nord) starting a day before. Shuttle buses at the finish in Ciutadella take the runners to the start of the different races so logistically it makes sense to book your accommodation at the finish and it is completely hassle-free. Also should you drop out (highly unlikely of course) or not make the cut off times shuttle busses are laid on at the checkpoints to take you back to the finish).

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An 85km drive along the coastline and the bus of excited runners arrives in Es Castell. During the journey Elisabet and I exchange worried looks as the rain starts pelting down – this must be one of the 65 days of rain on the island! However, it proves to be just a short-lived downpour and at 8am we start the race in cool and pleasant temperatures.

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The course is well marked with the over 2.200 GR 223 landmarks making it hard to get lost with added signage and red & white tape in urban areas on lamps or posts. These are reinforced with spray paint, biodegradable tape and red leds for runners running at night.

There are 7 well-equipped feed stations on the TMCS offering water, coca cola (ice-cold), isotonic drinks, fruit juices, fruit, nuts, dates, bread, Nutella and local ham and cheese. I found it unnecessary to take any additional food supplies although the race is supposed to be “self-sufficient” and runners are encouraged to do so. The support, friendliness and encouragement at the feed stations are amazing. When you do this race you really don’t feel like a number when you are cheered as you enter the feed station and cheered when you leave!

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I was incredibly surprised at the beauty of the course. I had been told that the TMCN along the North Coast was more scenic although much more technical but to be honest the TMCS was absolutely stunning. The variety of the course is unrivalled – beach sections, little coves of azure turquoise water, tiny coastal villages, luscious green flowered fields and cliffs overlooking the island’s multitude of pristine bays.

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The course is partly exposed and partly shaded providing a certain amount of respite from the midday sun. Temperatures at this time of the year can vary and although the day spent sightseeing was quite hot (36°C), on race day it was pleasantly mild. The only technical parts of the course are along the sea-front on hardened rock formations where you can easily trip up especially once fatigue starts setting in and the last section of the course although flat was quite technical and rocky with the head-on wind from the North Tramuntana complicating matters! At this point I was walking as I really didn’t want to trip up on the rocks and no longer had the energy to battle against the wind.

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The final kilometres of the race take you through the coastal seaside resorts into the finish area at Ciutadella where a welcoming crowd of local supporters and giant paella and free beers await the finishers. The icing on the cake? The beautiful medal with the words Live the Legend……..and I really felt I lived the Cami de Cavalls ….. until 2016 that is!

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Ciutadella and the surrounding area is extremely Spanish and beautiful – take a look.

Race images are available to view and purchase HERE

COMPRESSPORT TRAIL MENORCA CAMI DE CAVALLS 2015 – Day One

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The fourth edition of the COMPRESSPORT TRAIL MENORCA CAMI DE CAVALLS 2015 started on Friday May 15th at 0800 in the town of Ciutadella.

A weekend of racing and on Friday it was the 185km (0800 and 1200 start) and the 100km event that got underway.

Menorca literally threw everything at the runners in regard to weather – cloud, sun, wind, rain, thunderstorms and the occasional flash of lightening.

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One thing remained constant though, the beauty of the surroundings and the stunning coastline.

As I write, the 185km is still taking place and the 85km event started at 0800 Saturday May 16th.

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Casey Morgan from the UK won the 100km event in a new course record – 8:57 (tbc) and we will update with a ladies result asap.

We will update with a series of reports and times as more information becomes available. For now, please enjoy a selection of images (many more to follow) from day one of COMPRESSPORT TRAIL MENORCA CAMI DE CAVALLS 2015. 

Website – http://www.trailmenorca.com