The Belgian team Team Far wins in the women’s category, in the mixed category the Swiss from Ticktack and in the general the Czechs from Runsport win
Seven days have passed since seventy adventurous trail runners, in teams of two or three runners, left Ribes de Freser with the aim of running across the Catalan Pyrenees. The challenge is called the Pyrenees Stage Run (PSR), and it is the only stage race of this style that takes place in the Pyrenees. This Saturday in Salardú, in the Aran Valley, this spectacular adventure has reached its ending.
The challenge is huge: 240 kilometers and more than 15,000 meters of elevation gain, but behind these impressive figures there is much more than tired legs from the effort made. The PSR, which this year celebrated its sixth edition, has been characterized, once again, for being a unique and immersive experience, during which the participants and organizers have been, for a week, a great little family.
All the teams, except one, have been able to finish the race satisfactorily. Even so, the runners who had to retire in Encamp (Andorra) have been able to continue, skipping some stages or starting later if necessary. In this way, despite not being finishers, they have been able to continue enjoying the PSR experience, they have seen the Pyrenees and have been able to live the race and the atmosphere until the end, which, after all, was the most important thing.
An enviable route
The route is another factor that makes this stage race a first class experience. Following the route of the GR11, the participants have crossed up to five natural parks and following a philosophy of minimal impact, the organization has been especially careful with the preservation of the terrain where the entire race has passed, minimizing the marking of the route –even leaving some adventure sections where each team had to orient themselves autonomously–, and making a scrupulous collection of the waste generated, which at all times has been tried to reduce as much as possible.
Evaluations of the participants and organizers
Once this intense week so full of emotions was over, Tomàs Llorens, one of the co-directors of the race, happily stated that “it has been a spectacular week with perfect weather, we have had sunshine every day, but the heat has not been suffocating”, he added.
This Saturday’s stage, which has been especially technical in its central part, has excited the participants. Jose Manuel and Oscar Tato, from the “Talaixa Team”, commented that “it was a very tough stage, with a very high slope and a technical terrain where you had to be cold- blooded. The scenery, even so, has been incredible.” Along the same lines, Noelia Gutiérrez and Ferran Domenech, from “Més Viatges”, said that today was the best stage of all. “The finish”, they assured, “has been very exciting, with all the staff claping, but also giving us the finisher medal that has made more than one of us tear up”.
Both teams have also highlighted the great work that the organization has done. Jose and Oscar assured that “it is very difficult to find a race in this category, with so much uphill, so many kilometers and a dedicated technical and volunteer team”. For their part, Noelia and Ferran have said that “the staff always wore a smile, always encouraged you and they have been there for us down to the last detail. We have had a great time, it has been a fantastic experience, one of the best things we have ever done, and we will always keep these race days in our hearts”. Finally, they wanted to encourage everyone who likes trail running to do the Pyrenees Stage Run: “Those at home, but also the rest of Spanish people and people from all over the world, have to experience it!” concluded.
The final results
After giving a medal to each of the volunteers to thank the work done, the day ended with the delivery of a finisher windbreaker to all the participants who have finished the race and, finally, the trophy for the stage and absolute.
With a solid show of perseverance and talent, which they have maintained from the first to the last day, the Czechs Zdenek Hruska and Martin Jor, from “Runsport Team”, have taken the first position in the general classification, without losing the podium in any stage. It is also the case of Ticktack, the mixed Swiss team, formed by Jörg Steiner and Astrid Forrer, who, despite having a difficult day in the fifth stage, have maintained the first position in the overall classification from the first to the last day.
Finally, in the women’s category, the Belgians Katrien Aerts and Debby Urkens of “Team Far”, have taken the first position with a good margin compared to the second position, who could only take the first position from them in the first stage.