The Asturian, Víctor Fernández (2:48:06) and Azara García de los Salmones (3:10:00) battled the driving snow and rain to win the third edition of the 27 Kangas Mountain. 500 people, which is 100 more than last year, took part in the event, with just over 400 runners finishing the course.
This year’s winning time of 2:48:06 was only 10 minutes slower than the 2:38:28 course record set, last year, by Manuel Merillas Moledo, the 2015, number 2 ranked runner on the World Skyrunner Series.
For 6 or 7 days before the race, I had been feeling under the weather with a sore throat and a cough and was really not looking forward to the race at all. The plan was to start and then drop out either after 10km, in Cangas or at 18km at the River Dobra bridge.
As the race progressed, I felt surprisingly fit, possibly due to Maffetone aerobic training I’ve been doing and felt pretty comfortable on the hills. I bombed back down the hill to Cangas and decided that I should, at least, give the next stretch a go.
From there things just seemed to get better and better and I made it to the bridge 15 minutes faster than when I ran the race last year. Consequently, after talking it through with my wife, Jane, at the aid station, I went for it. Cut to 10 minutes later, halfway up the first big climb and I’m starting to think I maybe made a mistake!
It was blowing a hooley, the snow had started to fall and my hands were starting to go numb. This accompanied by the flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, was starting to make me feel decidedly apprehensive about the final 8 km. For there to the last peak of the route was, to be honest, a bit of frozen blur. The one high point though, was the, much needed, hot chocolate at the last aid station, at 24 km.
From the top, down to Cangas felt pretty easy and the continued rumbles of thunder definitely gave me a little extra motivation to get off the ridge and down into the woods.
I overtook a load of runners on the descent. The Inov-8 X-Talon 212s were superb throughout the race but especially, as you might expect given their fell running lineage, in the peat and mud.
I was passed by one runner on the final section on the road and finished the race with sprint finish to pass him, only to be passed again and beaten to the finish line by less than a metre.
The funny thing is that in the results we’ve got exactly the same time of 4:30:42 and I come in 218th and he’s 219th.
Considering the fact that I didn’t think I’d complete the race, I was happy with my performance but I do think I need to start pushing myself a bit more. It seems like, after every race I run, I think I could have done a lot better and when I see photos of all the unfit-looking runners who finished before me, it always leaves me feeling a bit embarrassed of my lack of effort.
Next race up is the Puerta de Muniellos, which is 32 km and 2,384 m of height gain, in the beautiful Muniellos forest reserve.
The route consists of a big and a small loop out from Cangas de Onis.