The Algarviana Ultra Trail (ALUT), organized by Algarve Trail Running (ATR), came to an end after more than 300 kilometres, with the big winner being Dinis Ribeiro, from the Associação Desportiva Mont Blue Team.
France's Claire Bannwarth was the first woman in second place in the general classification. With a fourth place overall and a victory in the women's classification 15 days ago in a race of 271 kilometers (km) in the Canary Islands, Claire Bannwarth was gaining positions in the ALUT until the middle of the course, when she took the lead, following the Withdrawal from the experienced Armando Teixeira, from Salomon Suunto Caravela, who dominated from the beginning and was forced to abandon this challenge due to injury, at 168 kilometers of race.
At that time, the also candidate for victory João Oliveira, winner of the first two editions of the ALUT, continued to show wear and tear, which, before the halfway point, made him reach the French and also the Spanish Victor Bernal and the Portuguese Dinis Ribeiro and Frederico Matos, from the Runners do Demo team.
The second night of the race brought a turnaround in the standings, with Dinis Ribeiro, who had withdrawn in his debut in the last edition, at
230 km, setting a breakneck pace to the race, which, after Claire Bannwarth's crash just over 50 km from the end, took the lead and not only won this year's Algarviana Ultra Trail, but also set the record for the route that connects Cabo de São Vicente, in Sagres, to Alcoutim, via the Via Algarviana, in 45h31m20s.
The athlete from Chaves, who represents the Associação Desportiva Mont Blue Team, was received in awe, with the traditional view of Sanlúcar do Guadiana, on the other side of the river, in an emotion shared by athletes and organization.
«It was hard work to train, because during the course the concern was to enjoy and manage. It's a shame that not everyone manages to reach the end, because it's always improving. This type of event, which is so long, must be managed backwards, because starting fast makes the pace higher than it should be and you end up paying for it. I was managing and when I reached Claire, she didn't react and I tried my luck», said Dinis Ribeiro.
Claire Bannwarth, who would arrive just over two hours later, in a performance that also earned her the course record for the women's side, setting it at 47h35m13s, explained that she went through a big break, marked by severe pain in her knees, that didn't let her keep up the pace and go up to the highest place on the podium again.
«This time I came alone, because my family can't always keep up with me, but it doesn't bother me and they understand, especially my husband who started running after we were together», confessed Claire Bannwarth, at the end.
The turnaround in the race was not complete without João Oliveira, from the Chaves Run Team, using all his experience to start gaining ground and reach the last life base, in Furnazinhas, 20 km from the end, ahead of Frederico Matos, which he maintained until the end, finishing second in the men's classification, third overall, in 49h58m25s. The athlete from the Runners do Demo team closed the men's top 3, with a time of 50h57m51s.
It would be necessary to wait almost another 16 hours to round out the top 3 for women, which, in addition to Claire Bannwarth, also included Maria Ribeiro, from Sharish Gin/GD Piranhas do Alqueva, with a time of 61h24m57s, and Cármen Ferreira, from Run 4 Fun, who completed this challenge in 65h36m10s.
Before that, the collective classification was closed, with the Trail Portimão team being the big winner, adding up to 38h26m49s, followed by the Serro Team, which finished in 38h46m37s, and BeApT, in third place, with a time of 40h02m37s.
Also noteworthy was the participation of the Cape Verdean athlete Orlando Tavares, who reached the 14th position in the overall men's ranking, finishing this challenge in 62h52m14s, in an experience that he defined as transformative.
«At 301 km the engine stopped and I started to hallucinate. When I came to myself, I was with the medical team and I wanted to give up, but there were only 4 km to go and, after talking to a great friend of mine in Cape Verde, Eliseu Fortes, I was reborn and finished the race», he said.
72 athletes left from Sagres, out of about 100 registered, having arrived in Alcoutim, within the regular time of 72 hours, 33 athletes, including 6 women, a record number of women to finish the ALUT, and two totalists, Filipe Conceição and José Gonçalves.
«These numbers reveal that more and more athletes, national and international, are including the Algarviana Ultra Trail in their calendar, often choosing the race to debut in such a challenging distance. There are also more and more companions, support teams and onlookers joining the event, fulfilling the purpose of ALUT being the visiting card for the interior of the Algarve. Year after year, the involvement of municipalities, parish councils, local communities and sponsors is greater, contributing to the affirmation of the event in the panorama of sports and nature tourism», analyzed Bruno Rodrigues, on behalf of ATR, the event's organizer.
On behalf of the Alcoutim municipality, Rosa Palma, Councilor for Sports, confirms the success of the event and its importance for the county and the region.
«This area in the interior of the Algarve has excellent conditions for practicing sports and nature sports and an event like this is a great opportunity for us to show the best of what we have, not only in terms of sports, but also our cuisine and heritage . In the latest editions, with the arrival here at Alcoutim, the involvement is much greater», he underlines.
Patrícia Teixeira shared the same opinion, who received the athletes on behalf of the Parish Council of Alcoutim and Pereiro, adding that the local community greatly values the event, for the life it brings to this border village, boosting the local economy.
«There is nothing better than making known the parish and the region through an activity, which is also healthy», he concluded.
The complete results of the race that started on the 24th of November can be consulted here .