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Vulcano Ultra Trail: 100 km of extreme challenge

On April, 2013, seven friends, sitting around a table and drinking beer, talked about something that was usually the topic of their talks: racing down the mountain or what today is known as trail running. They were sea- soned runners of these wild ultramarathons – which consider different surfaces and altitudes – and they were celebrating their performance in a test carried out in San Martín de Los Andes, Argentina, Here they were when those strange bursts of lucidity that so- metimes ignite the conversation of friends, came up Osorno volcano over them. That is to say, and to avoid misunderstandings, emerged the mental representa- tion as the ideal place to organize there, at its feet and heights and across the magnificent natural environ- ment that accompanies it, a competition which for scenic beauty, landscape diversity and multiplicity of grounds, ascents and descents, could be established in the main race of its kind in Chile.

And two years later, this happened, this emer- ging test, whose maximum tour today is 100 km, completely surrounding the volcano having in total approximately 3 thousand meters of altitude, it was elected, by popular vote, the best race of trail in Chile.

According to one of its organizers, Horacio Lyon, the volcano “presents the ideal conditions to develop in it and its surroundings a spectacular race, which combines a tremendous effort and physical training of racers, technical difficulty and a natural scenery that surpasses, for its beauty and diversity, any other proof of these characteristics”. Just examine the landscape which competitor faces during his tour to coincide with this assertion: volcanoes Osorno and Tronador, La Picada hill and T odos Los Santos and LLanquihue Lakes.

Competition began the same year, December 2013. It involved a monumental organizational effort, mainly in the path of the athletes-organizers exploring and creating the most suitable routes and which will represent, on one hand, a wide range of technical complexities and, secondly responding to a valoriza- tion of what the area offers in terms of natural beauty. According to Manuel Triviño, one of the founders of this competition, “the truth is that we left our feet on the ground, as the slogan of the competition, ‘a race of runners for runners ‘, it is quite valid in our case, since it is impossible to conceive the routes that were

opened, their specific characteristics, their degrees of difficulty without the knowledge and expertise we have as runners;” “ a producer, of course, could never have interpreted what they require during competi- tion, but we can, because we are mountain runners”.

The race, which alternates different soils- understory, hard rock, sand, volcanic stone-, diverse environments - forests, thickets, open esplanades and summits - and presenting marked ups and downs, had, in 2013, the participation of 450 competitors. T oday is done with 1,500 participants who compete for the five categories (13K, 21K, 42K, 73K and 100K) which include this real trail running festival, the main one in Chile.

In the race, which is usually the first or second weekend of December, participate so far runners from 15 countries (many Argentinean and Brazilian and an increasing number of Europeans and Americans), who come to the area only to face the harsh conditions of the competition and also to enjoy the landscapes and stunning beauty offering in this travel. The category of 100 kilometers starts at midnight on Saturday and it is estimated that the first runner to reach the finish

makes it in about 13 hours, while the latter is taken 24 hours. Racers use headlamp and travel a route whose paths are clearly and explicitly identified. There are several supply stations to allow participants replenish their forces, to feed and hydrate.

Vulcan Ultra Trail is developed under strict security measures, it has the assistance, among others, of the body of Socorro Andino, mountain clubs of the region and the Corporacion Nacional Forestal, Conaf.