The Ehunmilak: A Cultural Crushing - Page 3
Important Race Details. To qualify for the Ehunmilak, you simply have to be over 18. Pacers and crews are not allowed and runners can access only two drop bags during the race. Coinciding with the Ehunmilak is the 50-mile Goierriko 2 Haundiak (G2h), which is equally as difficult, just shorter. Both races are qualifiers for UTMB and attract some of Europe’s top runners.
Nearly every competitor uses trekking poles, and the race requires that runners carry a backpack full of safety equipment: cell phone, extra batteries, whistle, emergency blanket, etc. Officials randomly search your mochilla at aid stations to ensure you are carrying these items, and may request a drug test after the race. The Ehunmilak is a professional, televised event supported by major sponsors and offers 1000 euros each to the first-place male and female (www.ehunmilak.com).
Getting there. Fly to Bilbao (80 kilometers from Beasain). There is no direct transportation to the race start: rent a car or take a bus. Buses leave hourly from the airport for San Sebastian (70 minutes); take another bus from San Sebastian to Beasain (less than an hour).
Lodging. Best pick is Hotel Igartza (www.igartzahotela.com), Beasain; 75e double/59e single. There are many rural houses, hostels and hotels in the Goierri region (www.goierriturismo.com/en/portada).
Non-running activities. Tour the modern-art Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (www.guggenheim.org/bilbao) or the Old Town; take a paseo through hip San Sebastian, listen to jazz during the July festival (www.heinekenjazzaldia.com), or rent a board and surf Zurriola Beach; catch a stage of the Tour de France cycling race in the Pyrenees or watch it in a Basque bar while sipping txakoli, a local sparkling white wine.
Trails and Races
- Zegama Aizkorri | 42K | May 20, 2012 | Zegama, Guipuzcoa. A mountain ultra included in the Skyrunner World Series, with 2700 meters of vertical ascent. (www.zegama-aizkorri.net/web-en/default.aspx)
- Hiru Haundiak | 100K | June 2, 2012 | Guipuzcoa. A race with 5000 meters of ascent, crossing three emblematic peaks (Gorbeia, Anboto, Aizkorri) within the three Basque provinces. (www.manueliradier.com/hh/hh12/hh12.htm)
- Los 10 Montes de Vitoria | 55K | June 11, 2012 | Avala. A race with 2250 meters of ascent in the province of Alava, crossing the 10 summits around the capital of Vitoria-Gasteiz.(www.manueliradier.com/10m/10m2011/10m11.htm)
- Zumaia Flysch Trail | 30.5K | late July 2012 | Guipuzcoa.
- A coastal loop starting and finishing in Zumaia, and crossing spectacular cliffs. (www.zumaiaflyschtrail.com/?lang=es)
- Running of the Bulls (encierro) during Fiesta de San Fermin | July 6-14, 2012 | Pamplona. Why not? You’ll be fitter and soberer than everyone else, except … the bulls. Another option: run with naked protesting PETA members after the encierro.
Run or backpack El Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route from Roncevalles in the Pyrenees west to Santiago de Compostela, 787K: stunning medieval towns, hiking companions, public water fountains (one wine fountain), a time machine to the past.
Hike the coast-to-coast GR11 Trail of Gipuzkoa, traversing the western Pyrenees, 180K. From the beech-fir forests of Irati to the Penas de Haya mountains, this is a scenic and challenging tour (www.spain.info).
Hike or run the steepest mountains in Spain, Picos de Europa in the Aragon Pyrenees. From Fuente De, skip the cable car and climb 3500 feet in nine miles for a rewarding view. Or, run the Cares Gorges, 13 miles round trip; the trail is carved in sheer cliffs and follows the Rio Cares.
This article is from our April 2012 issue.