Berghaus Dragons Back Race 2017 and Transvulcania 2017 on IRUN4ULTRA

May was a busy month of racing and race coverage. The epic Berghaus Dragons Back Race weaved it’s way down the spine of Wales, starting in the north and finishing in the south.

My summary of the race is available to read on IRUN4ULTRA HERE. You can also listen to episode 136 of Talk Ultra which was a Dragons Back special with three incredible interviews, check it out HERE.

You can view the full image galleries from the Dragons Back Race HERE

May would not be May without the Transvulcania Ultramarthon on the magic island of La Palma. It was a record year with Ida Nilsson setting a new course record and Tim Freriks taking the win for the USA. You can read the summary of the race on IRUN4ULTRA HERE.

You can view images for the Transvulcania VK, the Ultra and a few fun days in the mountains HERE

Transvulcania 2016 #VK Results and Images – Skyrunner® World Series

Saul Padua and Emmie Collinge are 2016 Binter Vertical Kilometer Transvulcania champions in the first VK race in the 2016 Skyrunner World Series.  Saul Padua fulfilled his pre race top billing and was crowned winner of the Binter Vertical Kilometer Transvulcania. The Colombian runner, the last to leave and the fastest to reach the finish, kicked off the race with a fast pace and held that all the way to the finish. At 7.6km this is a long VK that requires a different run technique and style to many other races in the category.
Emmie Collinge from the UK shone ahead of the rest of the ladies and beat the course record. A disciple of Marco De Gasperi, Emmie splits her time between the UK and Italy.

Bernard Dematteis still holds the male CR 48 minutes and 43 seconds. Padua’s time placed him with the third fastest time in the history of the race, just ahead of Kilian Jornet. 
Second runner was the Czech Ondrej Fejfar who also ran under 50 minutes. Andorran Ferran Teixido completed the podium. 
Emmie Collinge exceeded all expectations setting a new record of  57:56 lowering the record of Elisa Desco, previously 59 minutes and 43 seconds set two years ago.
Christel Dewall, a VK specialist, holds the world record for the distance but could not beat the power of Collinge. Vanessa Ortega placed 3rd. 
18 different nationalities, a melting pot of countries, took part in the 3rd edition of the race with over 130 runners taking part.

1. Saúl Padua
2. Ondrej Fejfar
3. Ferran Teixido Martí-Ventoso
1. Emmie Collinge (Récord de la prueba)
2. Christel Dewalle
3. Vanesa Ortega
Official times to follow

*****

The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series is brought to you with a new management company, Geneva based SkyMan SA.

SkyMan SA is pleased to present a new Main Partner, Migu Xempower, a Chinese exercise and health management platform which also counts a rich experience in organising marathons, city and mountain races for millions of runners.

The well-established, Sky, Ultra and Vertical format is joined by the Extreme Series presented by Alpina Watches, which more than ever expresses the true spirit of Skyrunning defined not only by distance, but vertical climb and technical difficulty.

Skyrunner® World Series is supported by Migu Xempower, Alpina Watches, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the

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A Day in the Cumbre Nueva to Punta de las Roques – Transvulcania Ultramarathon

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Yesterday, I planned a little outing with Niandi. No plans really, in all honesty, we didn’t even know which section of the Transvulcania course we would go on. The main problem with running on the Transvulcania course is logistics. In real terms, you always need to run out-and-back routes.

We ended up going to El Pilar, an early and key aid station that comes approximately one third into the Transvulcania race. It’s about a 50-min drive from Tazacorte (where I am staying) which is the end of the GR131 route before the final push up to Los Llanos and the finish of the Transvulcania race.

El Pilar allows easy access to the Volcano Route section and a direct option back to the coast and  Fuencaliente lighthouse, as such, it is the route most people take.

We decided to go north, head out of El Pilar and follow the GR131 into the Cumber Nueva in the direction of Roques de los Muchachos.

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Leaving El Pilar, looking out to the west you get to see Los Llanos, Tazacorte and the sea in the distance. These tropical, muddy, forest trails provide the Transvulcania runners some of the easiest running so far in the race but eventually this comes to an end at Reventon Pass and the climb up to Punta de los Roques.

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The Cumbre Nueva and following sections are for me one of the most stunning sections of the Transvulcania route. From Reventon Pass to Punta de los Roques in particular is stunning! Onwards to Pico de las Nieves, the trails open up and the push to Roques de los Muchachos leads to the final drop to Tazacorte . Mixing rocky terrain with stunning vegetation, the route is incredible from a running and visual perspective. It is also very prone to an inversion; where the cloud drops below the high points creating a stunning almost dream like backdrop.

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The mist comes in, visibility is reduced, the temperature drops and suddenly you feel like you are in a different place. You question, ‘will the good weather come back?’

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Then suddenly, you break through the cloud, the white fluffy clouds are below and a wonderful blue backdrop adds an amazing palette to run or walk against.

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Single track trails of good running constantly creep up beyond 2000m to Punta de los Roques and the Refugio. Here stunning views of the Caldera de Taburiente are possible and off in the distance, the observatories of Roques de los Muchachos can be seen.

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Around every corner a surprise. It doesn’t matter if you are running or walking, these trails offer so much.

The Transvulcania route is always a constant surprise and I am always amazed at how the terrain, weather, vegetation and views change as you move through the route. Our day in the Cumber Nueva was a special one, topped off with this stunning image as Niandi ran around a mountain corner, the inversion clearly visible and if one image sums up skyrunning, this may be it.

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You can view daily images from our stay in La Palma HERE

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Roques de los Muchachos, La Palma – Transvulcania Ultramarathon

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The island of La Palma has always ticked many boxes for me, it’s a quiet island that lacks tourism, it has incredible all-year round weather and of course it hosts the Transvulcania Ultramarthon.

I’ve been coming here since 2012; it never disappoints. This year I’m here to find some quiet time to write content for my book, Running Beyond. But I am also here for a long overdue holiday, to spend time with Niandi (who gets neglected with all my travel) but also to get back to some regular time on the trails.

Notice I said, ‘time on the trails’ and not running. To be honest, I’ll take the running if the body will allow, it’s not important though, I just need the head space and the isolation the trails out here bring.

We have no plans other than to work and get objectives done each day and then spend the rest of time doing what makes us happy. Yesterday, I was up early and decided I wanted to be finished with work by midday. My plan was to head up into the mountains and run/ walk/ hike around the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente. In the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, this is often referred to as Roques de los Muchachos but actually Roques is the end of the section where the observatories are located and then the long 18km drop and descent to Tazacorte Port.

It’s an incredible place and one of the key sections of the Transvulcania Ultramarthon due to its elevation of 2400+m and the stunning views it provides to the east and the west. In the east one can see the islands of TenerifeEl Hierro and La Gomera and they are visible in the photos. The terrain here varies greatly from technical rocky sections of jagged and irregular rock to sandy and dusty trail. Although the trail goes up and down, in real terms most of the climbing is done by the time you reach Pico de la Nieve at 2232m.

Niandi and myself accessed the GR131 (Transvulcania route) at Pico de la Nieve as a trail, the PR LP 3 comes in from the main access road (LP4).

From the road it’s a 20-30min hike in to the GR131 and then it’s possible to follow the Transvulcania route on an out-and-back to Roques de Los Muchachos (approx 10km, 20km round trip).

Needless to say it’s a stunning section of trail and I have to say, one of my favourites in the world. Key sections are Pico de la Cruz, Piedra a Llana, Marro Negro, Pico de la Cruz and Fuente Nueva before arriving at Roques de los Muchachos.

If you are a runner, hiker, walker or basically someone just looking for an inspirational day on trail with stunning views, I can’t recommend this enough.

Yesterday for me was one of those special days; from early afternoon, through to sunset and then finishing off in the dark with just a headlight, the moon, the stars and Niandi for company.

Niandi and myself didn’t worry about pace, time, or anything for the that matter. We just moved, stopped, took photographs and soaked in a magical place.

So magical, I wanted to share the journey in images.

Getting your head in the right place!

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Getting your head in the right place is something that we all need to do. I am in La Palma, the home of Transvulcania Ultramarathon. It’s a place that I have been coming back to since 2012. It holds a special place for me, especially at this time of year.

The days are a little longer, the weather is perfect and the island is beautiful.

I’m writing a book called, Running Beyond which will be published late in 2016. In real terms it is a photography book with words. However, after a year on the road I realised the only way I was going to get the words written was by getting myself, or should I say my head in the right place.

The plan is to get back to some regular time on the trails and split my days 50/ 50.

I’ve been here since Friday, so only 4-days but I can already feel it working.

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The writing process is taking place and I seem to be slowly but surely making my way through the list of things I need to do. Plus Niandi and myself have had some time to relax, taking in sights at local towns and we have been on the trails; hiking, jogging and at times, running!

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On day 1 we went to Los Llanos, the finish of the Transvulcania race. Its a beautiful place of cobbled streets and pastel coloured buildings. In the late afternoon we went up and down the VK route from Tazacorte Port; always a favourite. We timed it just right as the sun was setting as we made the final descent.

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The following day, Sunday,  we visited a local market at Argual. It is a place I have visited many times before but the people and some of the sights are always interesting. We followed this with a run from El Pilar, taking in an out-and-back route through the Volcano route. It was a little cloudy and windy along the tops but it is always stunning. Back at our car we had the best Tuna Bocadillo ever; the simple things huh?

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Monday I did a 90-minute run alone. It was the end of a long day of writing and I needed an outlet and a release. Run? it was actually a hike up and a run down. Nothing special but it helps get my head in the right place. I even took a selfie!

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Last night, (this morning) – I walked the streets of Santa Cruz from 3am with Niandi and Divino San Francisco, a group of singers who move from house-to-house and sing traditional Christmas songs. My good friend Angel, is one of the singers and it was he who told me about this. For 9-days (not always at 3am I must add) in the lead up to Christmas they sing every night to represent the 9-months of pregnancy.

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It was something quite special! Quiet lonely streets with just string instruments and stunning voices to welcome in a new day. It was so special; it made me realise why I was here, to get my head in the right place.

Despite a night of no sleep, today I can feel the positive vibes from a stunning night. It’s a night that Niandi and myself won’t forget. Families opened their doors to us in the early hours, they welcomed a large group of musicians in and then proceeded to feed them and provide drinks, it made me realise what this time of year is about.

We all need to get our heads in the right place. Make sure you make it a priority to find your place, I guarantee 2016 will be better because of it.

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Transvulcania La Palma 2015 #VK Vertical Kilometer

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It’s Transvulcania time and an exciting weekend of racing kicked off with the vertical kilometre in the early evening of Thursday 7th May.

Departing from the beach in Tazacorte under glorious sunshine, runners had to tackle the zig-zag pathways above the sea and then run on upwards for a tough 6.6km re-tracing the final descent of Saturday’s 73km main event.

The race was dominated by Alice Gaggi in 59:48 for the ladies and Jessed Hernandez Gispert won the men’s race in 50:38.

Emelie Forsberg refreshed her ski legs placing 3rd as a loosen up for Saturday’s main event as did Manuel Merillas (2nd in the men’s race) both runners are hot favourites for the Transvulcania La Palma.

Anna Frost, although still battling injury issues, placed 4th overall and smiled her way to the finish.

RESULTS

Ladies

  1. Alice Gaggi 00:59:48
  2. Azara Garcia 1:01:39
  3. Emelie Forsberg 1:02:24
  4. Anna Frost 1:02:42
  5. Stephanie Jiminez 1:03:23

Men

  1. Jessed Hernandez Gispert 00:50:38
  2. Manuel Merillas 00:51:04
  3. James Oucgterlony 00:52:12
  4. Oscar Casal Mir 00:52:15
  5. Diego Manuel Camacho De La Ossa 00:56:29

Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer – Results and Images

©iancorless.com.IMG_7644Transvulcania14What a stunning location and what an inspirational day of running. For the first time, La Palma and Transvulcania La Palma held an inaugural Skyrunning Vertical Kilometer® on the zigzag trails leading from the beaches of Tazacorte, onwards and upwards and into the clouds.

Purchase images HERE

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Hundreds of spectators turned out and lined the route in a scenario, not dissimilar to a scene in the Tour de France. Late evening heat, blue skies and a plethora of some of the best vertical runners in the world made the inaugural Transvulcania VK® an awe inspiring event.

It’s quite incredible when one looks up at the mountain that a trail weaves its way onwards and upwards. Weave it does and the views are quite incredible when one sees the beads of sweat and facial grimaces contrasted by the pastel coloured houses of Tazacorte behind.

Departing in 30-second or 1-minute intervals, runners departed the beach with just one objective; who could reach the finish line in the shortest time.

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Laura Orgue, Antonella Confortola, Emelie Forsberg would without doubt make an impact on the race, however, Elisa Dresco (wife of mountain running legend, Marco De Gasperi) used her speed and mountain skills to triumph on the day. Laura Orgue, Skyrunner® World Series VK Champion form 2013 placed 2nd and Azara Garcia de los Salmones Marcano 3rd.

Emelie Forsberg fresh from a very full ski season decided not to complete the whole distance preferring to use the event as a warm up for the ultra on Saturday.

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Kilian Jornet running on Spanish soil is treated like a hero, calm and relaxed, Kilian takes the pressure from adoring crowds in his stride and despite little running (Kilian like Emelie has just stepped off skis) placed 3rd. The day however went to the Dematteis brothers, Bernard and Martin who placed 1st and 2nd respectively. They produced to quality runs and reaped the just rewards.

On the podium, to the blasting sounds of AC/DC, the brothers provided us with some quality showboating proving that Skyrunning is without doubt a sport that not only requires grit, fitness and determination but it also requires passion, fun and humor.

Attention turns now to the main event, the Transvulcania La Palma ultra race that will start in the early hours of Saturday morning. Stay tuned for what will be an incredible event.

Results:

  1. Bernard Dematteis 47:23
  2. Martin Dematteis 48:26
  3. Kilian Jornet 49:33

 

  1. Elisa Desco 59:43
  2. Laura Orgue 1:01:10
  3. Azara Garcia de los Salmones Marcano 1:01:42

Images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Skyrunning HERE

Transvulcania La Palma HERE

Transvulcania La Palma – A Guide

LA PALMA and the TRANSVULCANIA LA PALMA

Transvulcania Map

 

Mountains, volcanoes, beaches, forests, a tropical rainforest, tiny villages and breathtaking views. La Palma is the jewel in the ‘Canaries’ crown. Many consider it to be the most beautiful idyllic Canary Island, un-spoilt by tourism and ideal for rest, peace and quiet. It is a treasure for the walker, hiker or runner. Considering the islands size (50km x 25km) it has many surprisingly different areas of natural beauty. It has a perfect all year round climate, not too hot in the summer and pleasantly warm in the winter.

La Palma

La Palma lies 200km from the coast of Morocco and is approximately 3500km from the UK. Just north of the ‘Tropic of Cancer’. The island attracts many a stargazer and budding astronomer for the incredible display by the stars at night.

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Not dependent on tourism the island attracts a very different client to those you may find on Gran Canaria or Tenerife. You won’t find ‘English Pub’ or ‘English Food served here thank goodness. It is un-spoilt, traditional and a haven for those seeking a true Spanish feel. Natural beauty, dramatic vistas and 100’s of km’s of trails are available to explore via the marked ‘GR’ or ‘LP’ routes. Of course the famous GR route is the 131 that makes up the route for the Transvulcania La Palma… more on that later!

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How big is the island? Well, in a nutshell, not very big… at just 50km long and 25km wide. The population is only 86, 528 (dated 2008).

La Palma is dominated by the Caldera, the massive erosion crater often (incorrectly) thought of as a volcano, it has steep sloping sides both inside and out.

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The south-west part of the Caldera has collapsed and been eroded away leaving a ravine that runs deep right down to the sea at Tazacorte and the start point for the Transvulcania La Palma race.

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The southeast and north of the island has a coastline that drops steeply down to the sea making access to the coast very difficult. Many areas are only reachable by sea.

The central ridge (cumbre) makes up the central and southern parts that extend from the Caldera in the north to the southern point of the island and divides the island into two.

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Often called ‘La Isla Bonita’ it is a green island with many trees, including tree heather, the tall Canary Pine and cultivated citrus, avocado, chestnut, almond and banana trees at lower altitudes. Characterized by steep cliffs, volcanic rock, bays, black sand and cactus. Of course one thing you will see everywhere are many, many banana plantations.

A volcanic island, the last eruption was in 1971 at the Teneguía volcano.

The GR 131

 GR131

The GR 131 was created from the logical joining of two large mountain routes in La Palma: The Volcano Route and the route of The Crests of the Taburiente Crater.

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To make a logical route, the GR131 was extended at both ends to the sea. It is possible to start at sea level from the Fuencaliente lighthouse climb upward and upward to the Caldera Taburiente Crest. Run around the crest to Roque de Los Muchachos and then drop down and then descend to Tazacorte Port. In its origins, this path connected the localities furthest away from each other, as it climbed a radial path to the current GR131 and followed it to the radial downwards path to the destination. It has also been the main path for the herding of goats from the summit to the coast.

Route Description

In providing a route description of the GR131 I am looking at it from the eyes of a runner in relation to the Transvulcania La Palma. Please keep this mind if you are reading this from the perspective of a walker or hiker.

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Starting at the Fuencaliente Lighthouse at sea level the first section includes two key volcanoes, San Antonio and Teneguía. As mentioned previously, Teneguía last erupted in 1971. The first miles are tough going and most certainly on race day with some 1500+ runners a struggle. The path is often narrow with loose black sand or rocks. Patience will be required.

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From Los Canarios you enter the dense pine forests which offer a stark contrast to the opening miles. Underfoot terrain now mixes black lava sand, pine needles and rocks. Running is much easier than the opening miles and you will find an opportunity to stretch your legs.

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Climbing up the trees eventually start to subside and you emerge in the ‘Route of the Volcanoes’. This path crosses the southern ridge of the island, where most of the volcanoes are lined up (less than 200,000 years old). Among others, the following volcanoes can be seen from the path: Birigoyo Peak, Nambroque Peak, San Juan or Hoyo Negro Volcano (eruption in 1949), Duraznero Volcano, Las Deseadas, El Charco Mountain (active in 1712), Martín Volcano (eruption in 1646), Pelada Mountain, El Fuego Mountain and the Crater of Los Arreboles. It is an incredible route, sometimes very runnable, at other times hard work due to the increasing steepness of the path and loose deep lava sand.

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The final sections of the volcano route offer good fast running to El Pilar. In the Transvulcania La Palma this place offers an important marker. An important feed station and also the finish point for the shorter race provided by the race organizers.

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Leaving El Pilar, the race route (GR 131) heads north for the crest of La Cumbre Nueva using a forest trail that goes beyond the port of El Reventón (1350 m). Initially you will find this section providing some of the easiest running you will have had so far… the gradients are easier and underfoot one has less obstacles.

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Of course it soon comes to an end, the path climbs the successive and increasingly high peaks, running along the very edge of the Taburiente Crater.

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The Taburiente Crater rim is an incredible natural wonder offering technical running terrain, constant changes in elevation and some of the most incredible views you will ever see. Depending on the weather systems you will either have clear blue skies and the ability to look out into the distance for miles or a thick blanket like layer of cloud that will be below you literally making you feel they you are Skyrunning. Incredible. One thing that La Palma is famous for is the micro climate. You will almost certainly while running the race have several different types of weather, particularly if the cloud layer appears. You can be hot with the sun beating down on you and then a little chilly as you run through the cloud. It is what makes it so interesting.

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From the Rock of Los Muchachos (2436 m) the highest point of the course, the route drops down to the sea at the Port of Tazacorte. Beware! You may be thinking to yourself as you climb up and up for hours and hours that you have a wonderful long descent to the finish. You do but it is steep, technical and punishes your legs. Easy running sections are followed by tough, technical, rocky and gnarly terrain.

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Crossing a main road at El Time you then have a couple of very steep road sections before the final drop down the stunning (and technical) zig-zag path to Tazacorte Port.

No warm up, from Tazacorte you go up for 18k

No warm up, from Tazacorte you go up for 18k

The GR131 stops here but the Transvulcania La Plama organizers have a sting in the tail… the final miles take you back up to the town of Los Llanos De Aridane where a rapturous welcome awaits. Believe me, you will have earned it!

Training Information

The Transvulcania La Palma is an incredible race on a stunning course. At 83km’s it is a real challenge. Dakota Jones won the 2012 edition of the race in an incredible 6:59:07. Believe me that time is fast… very fast! Take a step back and in real terms look at adding a minimum of 3 hours to Dakota’s time and keep an eye on the cut-off times. Of course I am speaking in general terms here.

The terrain underfoot falls into one of these categories: black lava sand, rocky lava sand, hard rocky lava, pine forests, tough gnarly rocks and a very small section of road. The terrain eats the grip on your shoes and I therefore would recommend a trail shoe with cushioning and grip. For example; Salomon Speedcross, Salomon Slab Softground, Scott eRide Grip2, Sportiva Raptor or similar… you get the drift! You always have exceptions to rules and for example Kilian Jornet (3rd 2012) and Andy Symonds (2nd 2012) used the lightweight Salomon Sense for the 2012 race. In general terms though, the average runner will need grip and cushioning to the ease the harshness of the terrain.

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The ability to handle technical terrain while maintaining a good pace is essential. This will come extremely important on the flatter sections and the long descent from Roque de Los Muchachos. If you can’t make up time here than you are most definitely in for a long day out.

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From the start at the lighthouse and until you reach the highest point of the course at 2436m you are arguably always going up. It ultimately all comes down to economy of effort and having a strategy and or ability that will allow you to make the summit with enough left to get to the finish. What should you do?

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  • Run with a short stride looking ahead constantly
  • Practice walking fast, uphill with your hands on your knees
  • Incorporate some long day hikes on hilly terrain
  • Run/ hike on loose sand uphill for long periods of time (a quarry would be good)
  • Run on hard packed trail for your speedier/ faster workouts
  • Find some gnarly, rocky terrain and practice running on it. Build up a confidence to move over it as quickly as possible
  • Add some strength and core work to your training if this is a weak area for you

In many respects, the Transvulcania La Palma is like any other trail or mountain race but it does have a combination of elements that make this a very tough course. Respect it. Without doubt it is one of the most beautiful I have experienced.

Practical Information

La Palma is a small island. The race starts at the southern most tip and finishes almost half way up the island on the west. Therefore your hotel decision for the race may very well depend on many factors such as:

  • Are you with family?
  • Are you staying just for the race?
  • Do you plan to stay on?

If travelling with family you may very well be better basing yourself at Los Llanos de Aridane as this is a town with shops, cafes and other facilities or at Tazacorte Port.

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Tazacorte Port has a beach, restaurants and cafes. Of course this will mean as a participant you will need to arrange for transport and/or an overnight stop at the race start for the race day. Please note the race starts very early!

If travelling just for the race weekend I would seriously consider looking at the options provided by the race organization at www.transvulcania.com They will have accommodation and travel packages that will provide you with all that you need.

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If you plan to stay in La Palma after the race my recommendation would be to base yourself in or around Los Llanos and then use this as a start point from which you can then travel from.

Hire Car

A hire car is essential and they are very affordable. La Palma is serviced by all the main providers at the airport; Avis, Hertz and Europcar. Cicar is a local hire company available here. Book in advance for the best deal.

Flights

Flights to La Palma can be a little tricky. If in doubt, fly to Tenerife and then book one of the many connections that are available. Again, the race organizers are providing packages and practical information to facilitate this at www.transvulcania.com. Thomson have just started a direct flight from Manchester to La Palma.

Weather

La Palma boasts year round good weather. In May it will be hot but not excessive. Travel light and cool and always ensure that you have a warm layer and/or windproof just in case.

Los Llanos de Aridane

Los Llanos is the largest and busiest town on the west side of La Palma with a population of just over 20,000. There are many modern buildings. It has a traffic-free centre and the surrounding side streets still retain their old character. Plaza de Espana is the hub of the town and a good place to have a cup of coffee and watch the world go by.

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You can see images of Los Llanos here: https://iancorless.org/photography/los-llanos-la-palma/

Tazacorte

Tazacorte is situated on the west side of the island and claims to be the warmest place on the island. It is divided into 2 villages.

Puerto de Tazacorte is on the coast and has a long promenade, a fishing harbour, a black sand beach and an area with boulevard, bars and (fish) restaurants. Tazacorte pueblo (village) as about 1km above the coast and is the main center with the town hall, post office, shops and supermarket.

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Market day : https://iancorless.org/photography/la-palma-tazacorte-market-day/

Recce, blogs and Images

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In December 2012 I spent two weeks running, hiking, jogging, walking and crawling over the Transvulcania La Palma course. My blog posts are available on iancorless.org and my images are filed in a logical order, starting at the lighthouse at Fuencaliente, moving through the route of the volcanoes, El Pilar, Cumbre Vueva and then Tazacorte as days here:

Fuencalientehttps://iancorless.org/photography/la-palma-fuencaliente/

Route of the Volcanoeshttps://iancorless.org/photography/la-palma-the-route-of-the-volcanoes/

El Pilarhttps://iancorless.org/photography/la-palma-el-pilar/

Cumbre Nuevahttps://iancorless.org/photography/roque-de-los-muchachos-la-palma/

Tazacortehttps://iancorless.org/photography/la-palma-tazacorte-to-roque-de-los-muchachos/

Blog Posts:

 Conclusion

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La Palma has been a revelation. I have now had the opportunity to see the island and the Transvulcania la Palma from two perspectives. In May I followed the race as a journalist/ photographer and got to see one of the most competitive races of the year unfold before my eyes.

In December I returned for a holiday, to spend time on the trails in some warm winter sun.

The people, the places, the food, the hospitality and the multitude of trails make La Palma the most perfect location for the enthusiastic runner or hiker. I have focused this post on the GR131 and the Transvulcania La Palma but trails are everywhere. From my base in the Caldera de Taburiente just outside Los Llanos de Aridane I also discovered and explored so many other incredible trails such as this circular route:

December in La Palma offered great weather allowing me to escape the winter grey and gloom of the UK to run in shorts and T-shirts on some of the most incredible terrain with the most stunning views.

I should point out that I did only explore the southwest corner of the island. I have been told, repeatedly, by friends that the island has so much more to offer.

La Palma and its network of trail may very well become a regular slot in my calendar moving forward…

I would like to thank Lourdes Plasencia, Julio Carbera Rocha, Lauri Van Houten, Marino Giacometti, Transvulcania La Palma and Skyrunning for all the help and support.

Finally, many thanks to Niandi for making the trails so enjoyable.

Los Llanos de Aridane – La Palma

Day 7 (Friday) Niandi and myself went sight seeing, cake eating and coffee drinking in the beautiful town of Los Llanos de Aridane. Los Llanos is the finish area for the Transvulcania La Palma.

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It’s a great place. It has a mixture of modern shops, traditional architecture and one has the opportunity to see local life unfold. Thankfully no signs saying “English Pub” or “English Breakfast served here”. It is as a Spanish town should be; Spanish!

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For me with all the pastel coloured buildings it has a feel of Cuba. Now I haven’t been to Cuba so I am make some serious assumptions here…. however, I am happy with my speculation!

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I left Niandi at surfing and answering emails at ‘Tasca El Patio‘. A great little cafe in one of the many side streets in Los Llanos. I went to KN Sports situated in the town. No matter how much sport kit I get I still love checking out whats available. These guys had a great selection of Salomon kit so I did wonder if I would be parting with some money….

In the store I was greeted like a celebrity. It was a real random moment. I was asked to be photographed with each of the staff one by one and the manager in front of a huge ‘Kilian’ poster. At first I was confused… I thought it must be because I was British. As it turned out they are big followers of Facebook and my blog. Funny!

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The relaxing morning was followed with Niandi taking some chill and relax time at our villa but I needed a fix. I went out for just a couple of hours on local trails in the late afternoon sun. Taking the LP13 trail I ran down the valley and went rock and boulder hopping.

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Our evening was spent with some friends in Tazacorte Port eating and drinking the local specialities. A perfect day in La Palma…

You can see a selection of images HERE