It’s race day and we are at the base of Ecuador’s Cayambe Volcanoe.
8:45am – Race Briefing
There’s bad news… Torrential rains triggered a landslide over night – access to Cayambe now severely restricted. This doesn’t affect our route but race officials are unable to set up the first rehydration/nutrition point – we will have to be self sufficient until kilometre 18.
9:00am – The Gun Goes
120 runners charge out of the stadium, olympic athlete Franklin Tenorio takes the lead. We follow a rugged trail up the Volcano and after 10km the path opens onto a stunning Plato, we are now over 4000m high. I tuck in behind two other runners and we take turns navigating through this expanse of waist high grass.
The Checkpoint at 18km offers well deserved muesli bars and Gatorade, with pockets full we’re back on the trail again. The last 12km see us sliding down muddy forest trails, wading through rivers that really shouldn’t exist and stumbling along ancient stone paths. I cross the finish line in 4hours and 11mins – a 16th place finish (7th U30).
This is one of Ecuadors most stunning mountain races, the weekend attracts some 800 athletes to compete in various distances. It’s a perfect intro to the rugged world of trail running – exhausting but definitely worth the effort!
Distance Covered: 31.3km
Altitude gain: 1703m
Trees ran into: 1