Catalan runner Albert Pujol and Cantabrian Azara Garcia, both member of HG AML Team, have been proclaimed this weekend Spain Trail Champions of RFEA in a course of 48’9km at Falcotrail, in mountains of Quipar, Murcia.
The town of Cehegin accommodated the 5th Spain Championship of the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation and the challenge was a grand gathering for national mountaineering. The race awarded the winners with a spot at Spanish National Trail team which will compete for world trail champions of IAU and ITRA in Portugal, in June. A very tempting prize for many elite runners who were present at the start line, ready to finish the year at their best. But after months of kilometres and slopes, the December championship was benevolent precisely to the ones who have been out of competitions during the last months due to physical problems.
Albert Pujol was the fastest in the race where he was not the best rated. He completed the circuit in 4 hours and 35 minutes and crossed the finish line before Eugeni Gil, with whom he engaged in a spectacular competition for many kilometres. Originally from Taradell, winner of Spain Ultra Cup 2017 and many other local challenges, he was in great shape after getting injured in June; and this victory is his greatest success until now. Gil was second crossing the finish line after a great race and Borja Fernandez completed the podium.
A similar case to Pujol was Azara Garcia – although she was one of the best rated for the Falcotrail, despite of her injury in August. Garcia, one of the best Spanish mountain runners in history who has already been champion of the world in 2016, didn’t budge before her rivals and imposed her rhythm from the start till the end, arriving to the finish line at the 10th absolute position. With her time being 5 hours and 4 minutes, only Gemma Arenas (also of HG AML Team) was able to follow her, arriving a few minutes later to the finish line. The third in order was the young Sheila Aviles.
After Falcotrail Pujol and Garcia join the Spanish national team that already has three other spots assigned to the winners of medals in the last world championship – current world champion Luis Alberto Hernando, runner-ups Cristofer Clemente and Laia Cañes. The rest of the spots will be decided at El Valle Trail, also in Murcia, where in March there will be disputed Spain Championship of autonomous teams. One women’s and one men’s spot will be decided according to the technical criteria on the 2nd of April.