At 6 a.m., as a thin layer of fog covered the town of Barruera, the race set off, a race that would once again be epic, not because of the thunder storms and low temperatures but because of the very opposite. The sun showed no signs of abating and caused temperatures to soar, further complicating the feat for the 350 runners that had come to enjoy the stunning mountains, the entrance way to the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park.
Nine hours and two minutes later, Andreu Simon arrived at the finishing line. He had run 65 kilometres and overcome an elevation gain of 5,600 metres to complete the most extreme race, which this year goes by the name of the Joan Rojas Memorial, in tribute to the founder of BUFF®. His face beamed with emotion and satisfaction, much like Raúl Butaci, in second place, and Gerard Morales, in third place, who joined him on the podium. Behind them came Pau Zamora and Iban Aguirrezabala.
Tina Bes ran the last few metres that separated her from a well deserved victory – the training and sacrifice of recent months paying off. Not long after, Roser Español crossed the finishing line, followed by Manuela Vilaseca. Fourth and fifth place were taken by Judith Franch and Aida Fornieles. The women’s category was a real spectacle and no one had expected anything less from them. Never giving up is innate to the women that pursue this sport.
At 8. a.m. 650 runners listened intently to the countdown of the 26-kilometre race with 2,060 metres of elevation gain. Among them was Zach Miller, who almost three hours later, and as everyone had expected, was proclaimed the winner ahead of Fernando López de Sagredo and Juan Javier Jiménez Oller. Also there were Anna Carné, Ester Casajuana and Aïda Pérez, unaware at that point that they would take the top three spots on the women’s podium.
The races on Saturday truly lived up to the name of the BUFF® EPIC TRAIL, now in its fifth edition. The event is always special thanks to its tough nature. Those who prepare themselves for the event, which forms part of the BUFF® MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL, know this well. Sunday will be the turn of the 42-kilometre race with 3,300 metres of elevation gain – part of the Skyrunner® World Series. The race sets off at 8 a.m., followed, an hour and a half later, by the 11-kilometre event with 470 metres of elevation gain along a circular route through the lower part of the Vall de Boí.
It will be the perfect opportunity to enjoy runners of such calibre as Zaid Ait Malek, Stevie Kremer, Marc and Oscar Casal, Oihana Azkorbebeitia, Miguel Caballero, Marc Pinsach, Jackie Dubnicka, Julen Martínez, Eva Bernat, Finlay Wikd, Paula Cabrerizo, Sebastian Ljungahl, Mercedes Pila, Jonathan Van der Krogt, Marek Causidis and Anna Comet. Let the show begin.
Mountains, peaks, crests, summits, waterfalls and lakes. BUFF® EPIC TRAIL is life.