All good things come to an end. Yesterday, stage 7 concluded the 2021 Pyrenees Stage Run. In stage racing, the last day is often an easy victory run allowing participants to relax, tick off easy miles and cruise in to the finish and conclusion of the race. Not so at the PSR, stage 7 from Esterri d’Àneu to Salardú was tough one!
On paper, considering what had gone before, 32.8km’s and 2300m+ didn’t seem over scary. However, on inspection of the maps and discussions at the race briefing, it was clear that the middle section of the route would reduce runners to crawling pace.
An 0700 start allowed more time to complete the distance and after an easy km, the route then proceeded to head up firstly via Pas del Corro ski station at 6.8km and 1947m. From here, there was some easy trail and then at just before 11km, single-track turned into extremely technical boulder hopping all the way up to Coll de Baisero at 2739m.
The fun wasn’t over though, a steep descent down a couloir and then more boulders and technical terrain.
Visually stunning, mentally exhausting and technically demanding, this section of the PSR was a highlight. Cloud hung over the mountain giving a magical feel. The landscape, views, mountain vistas and lakes were magical. Lasting just 6km, this section of the route was taking 2-3 hours, yes, it was that demanding.
Refugio de Saboredo at 2310m and 18.5km covered signified a key marker and from here, the run in to the finish in Salardú was easy and pretty much all downhill.
The Aigüestortes I Estanys de Sant Maurici National Park, Vall de Cabanes and Vall d”Aran was the star of the day and each runner well and truly earned the finishing medal.
The PSR is all about enjoyment, exclusivity, good times, sharing a journey and an experience. That was clear to see with how everyone congratulated and applauded each and every finish, first or last.
In any run or race there are winners and the “Tuga Canarias” team of Gilberto Molina and Carmelo Gonzalez dominated the week with a total time of 38h 22m. In second position were the Belgians “The Ultrazzz” of Wim Debbaut, Thomas Swankaert and Kurt Dhont completed in 40h 5m with “The Sigobros Century” team of Jesús and Mario Delgado totalling 41h 54m for third.
The women’s category was dominated from start to finish by Czechs Marcela Mikulecka and Petra Buresova “Runsport Team” who finished with 45h 23m, they also placed 5th overall. In second place were the English Jeanette Rogers and Kerrianne Rogers (mother and daughter) from “Running Holidays France” team with 56h 35m
The final winners in the mixed category were the German team “Black Forest” of Steffen Rothe and Kathrin Litterst who had an unexpected end with a fast run to win overall by just 1-minute in 46h19m. Jaroslaw and Natalia Haczyk from Poland (team “BeerRunners”) placed second after leading all week with 46h 20m. Dutch “B-Running” with Bastian Mathijssen and Birgit Van Bockxmeer placed third with 48h 41m.
Now attention turns to 2022 and the next running of the PSR. One thing is for sure, the edition will be highly anticipated. There is something very special about travelling by foot covering 240 km’s through the Pyrenees and the PSR team do a great job of making the experience a special one. A stunning route and great organisation, this is a run not to be missed!
The Pyrenees Stage Run would not be possible without the main sponsorship of Turga Active Wear, Garmin, Puigcerdà, Encamp (And) Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror and bifree sports.
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