The third edition of the Trail 100 Andorra by UTMB® has come to an end with an impressive level of participation, and the sustainable growth of the event has ensured success in its organisation. More than 2,400 runners have been able to enjoy the race’s four distances this weekend, in this majestic, unspoilt mountain setting, with the town of Ordino as the focal point. The race is part of the Andorra Multisport Festival, an endurance and adventure sports event organised by The IRONMAN Group.
This year’s edition of the Trail 100 Andorra by UTMB® has enjoyed large international participation, with 95% of the athletes coming from 54 different countries, with an 18% female participation. In the 105 and 50 km distances, the bib numbers had already sold out by January, as was the case for the 21-kilometre race. Children have also been able to take part in trail running with the Trail Kids Race held last Friday in Ordino, along an easy route with a fantastic family atmosphere.
The regional director of The IRONMAN Group in Andorra, Spain, Italy and Portugal, Agustí Pérez, has positively assessed this new edition, explaining, “I am really pleased that all the changes brought in to increase security have worked out well, and have also led to the times being reduced”.
“With the support of the Comú de Ordino and the Andorran government, this event has unlimited potential”, he added.
A shared victory for Dhiman and Tschumi
The 105-kilometre event was nail-biting till the very end, with a stunning fight for victory between the North American runner Ben Dhiman and the Swiss Jean-Philippe Tschumi. A sporting head-to-head which began on a cold morning, but ended under the scorching sun, culminating in a joint victory as they both crossed the finish line in Ordino. It was a wonderful end to this authentic mountain race that brings together lovers of the sport to enjoy a great day out. The Catalan and resident of Andorra, Pau Capell, took third place in a time of 13 hours and 49 minutes.
It was the Swiss runner who took the initiative during the first half of the race, with Dhiman always a few minutes behind. Halfway through the race, at km 53, the American caught up with him and they both gave it their all, sharing the road towards victory, just as they did during Le Grand Raid De La Réunion last year. An effort that has been rewarded with a race record, of 13 hours and 36 minutes, beating the time set in the 2022 edition by Zach Miller.
The ex aequo winner, Ben Dhiman, was more than happy with the final result and told us, “During the race there were moments when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to achieve what I had set out to do, but then I found an extra burst of strength. It’s like a roller coaster! You go through a lot of pain during the course, it’s a mixture of feelings, but when you arrive in Ordino and hear the crowds cheering you on, it’s so emotional and very beautiful”, he remarked.
The other winner this weekend, Swiss runner Jean-Philippe Tschumi, explained, “I’m so happy and I’d like to congratulate the organisation on the signage along the race and for choosing the very best paths”. “Tactically, it’s a very tough race. I quickly found myself out in front, but by the second mountain hut we were both running at the same pace. It’s such a great way to finish the race”, he concluded.
Pau Capell also expressed his joy at taking part in the competition, especially as he is a resident of Ordino. “The Trail 100 Andorra by UTMB® is a race that has been on my list for a while now, as I actually suffered an injury the first time I took part in it. This time I’ve been able to prepare really well for it, and it’s great that the race is of such a high level”. “It provides really good training for the UTMB, as it’s so demanding, but you also have time to recover and reach the end of August to do the 100 miles”, he concluded.
In the women’s category, the Austrian Esther Fellhofer took the gold medal in a brilliant race, and also achieved a record (17:13:03), reducing the time of the previous edition’s record set by her compatriot, Ildiko Wermescher, by more than two hours. Wermescher finished the race in third position. The Chinese Yuanyuan Wu climbed to second place on the podium, arriving in Ordino an hour and a half after Fellhofer.
The Austrian runner was very surprised by her victory, explaining, “I didn’t expect to win. For me it just seems incredible to have won a UTMB event like this one in Andorra”, adding, “I felt good and really strong after recovering from the Trail Running World Championships and I did the best I could”.
Meier and Tarasova dominate the 50 km distance
The Russian athlete, Anya Tarasova, and the Canadian, Christian Meier, were the overall winners of the 50-kilometre race. Furthermore, they are both from the same team, Overland Running, and Meier is Tarasova’s coach, who finished in eighth place, with a time of 6 hours and 25 minutes. The Spaniard Oswaldo Luis Medina, and Marc Pinsach, finished second and third respectively, less than ten minutes behind Christian Meier.
In the women’s race, the Swiss Kathrin Goetz classified second. It should be noted that initially she had signed up for the longest distance, but asked to change because after the World Championships she wasn’t feeling well and decided that she would prefer to run a distance of 50 km. The German, Lena Glausbrenner, took the bronze medal, despite not feeling as strong as she would have liked during the race, and she considered giving up. However, a group of runners urged her on, telling her that she was already in third position.
Andorra and Spain triumph in the 21 km race
In the 21 km distance, held this Sunday, the Andorran Ariadna Fenes became the local heroine after crossing the finish line in Ordino with a fantastic victory, in a time of 2 hours and 50 minutes. Fenes shared the podium with the Catalan Laura Orgué, a resident of Andorra, and Spaniard Mercedes Velasco. Orgué had returned to compete with a bib number after announcing her retirement as a mountain runner in 2019.
As for the men’s category, in a very fast race on uneven and technical terrain, Andrés Garcia Blanco finished in first place after two hours and 20 minutes, ahead of the Asics runner, Genís Porqueras. The Chilean runner, Juan Pablo Llanos Mora, arrived just two minutes after Porqueras, completing the podium of the general classification.
A festive family atmosphere on the Trail Kids and in the 7.5 km distance
The Trail 100 Andorra by UTMB® was also a fun celebration of sport and the mountains, with the Trail Kids race being held on Friday, with hundreds of children running through the streets of Ordino in the shortest race of 7.5 kilometres. These races were enjoyed in a festive and family atmosphere were everyone was able to enjoy the wonderful natural setting of Andorra and share a day of sport and great weather.
The 7.5 km race, held this Sunday morning, culminated in an entirely Andorran men’s podium, with a local victory for Pablo Martin, accompanied by Nil Vilanna and Joan Lluch in second and third position respectively. In the women’s category, first place went to Briton Olivia Ross-Hurst, with Rachel Needham crossing the finish line just eleven seconds behind. The Spaniard Nuria Soler finished in third place, less than a minute later.
A positive outcome for Andorra
The celebration of the Trail 100 Andorra by UTMB® brings a positive economic impact to the Principality, particularly due to the arrival of the thousands of athletes and their teams, who spend a minimum of three nights in the country. This in itself is a very relevant point as the average number of overnight stays in the Principality is usually two nights.
Trail running incentivises more and more people to travel with their families to run and enjoy tourism in the countries where these events are held, as has been the case in Andorra, where people came to enjoy all the tourist activities on offer. For example, the 2022 edition of the Andorra Multisport Festival generated a direct economic impact of 6 million euros, thanks to the presence of 3,500 participants over all the events and the thousands of people who accompanied the athletes and stayed overnight in the country.
On the other hand, the organisation also prioritises the hiring of local companies to offer the services and equipment required. This, translated into figures, indicates that in the two previous editions of this large sporting event, one hundred Andorran companies took part, with this working relationship extending throughout the year as the different competitions are held.
Between staff and volunteers, the festival welcomes a total of 800 helpers, of whom almost 300 are Andorrans. Fifty-five are from The IRONMAN Group team, and thirty of these are Spanish from the southern European office and another 25 are from the international team. More importantly, we cannot forget the presence of nearly 500 volunteers from the country who contribute exceptionally well to the effective running of the event.