Transvulcania by UTMB celebrates long-awaited return as Petter Engdahl and Abby Hall take victory in Ultramarathon event
The 12th edition of Transvulcania by UTMB took place this weekend in La Palma, celebrating its much-awaited return after a forced three-year hiatus. Petter Engdahl (SWE) and Abby Hall (USA) took the win in the 75km Ultramarathon, stopping the clock atop Llanos de Aridane in impressive times of 07.10.29 and 08.29.10 respectively, and with it winning automatic qualification for the CCC at the UTMB World Series Finals, 2023.
Having finished 3rd here in 2019, it was a great result for Engdahl who was one of the favorites leading into the race having won the CCC at UTMB Mont-Blanc earlier this year. Speaking after the race he said, “_At sea level it was very, very hot today. Luckily, I have been here for ten days prior to race to get acclimatized to the heat. I am just supper happy to have finished and with a good result!_”
His training partner, Abby Hall also finished tenth overall, highlighting her continued good form having also podiumed (3rd) in the women’s CCC race in August. Hall was blown away by the beauty of the race.
“_I have just experienced some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen anywhere in my life, it was just amazing! The clouds, the sun rising, the bright green trees, the black rock. It was just like paradise; it was so special,_” she said.
In the Marathon event (45km / 2,816m+), Yoel de Paz (ESP) and Ikram Rharsalla (MOR) took the win with times of 04.04.39 and 05.00.09 respectively. The wild and raw mountains of La Palma stood out for Rharsalla who said, “_The course has everything – uphill but with short breaks, flat sections, and downhill tracks with some technical areas. This race is amazing, and the course is beautiful!_”
Local runner Moana Lily Kehres (ESP) finished second female, having won the inaugural 1.5km Vertical Challenge earlier in the week. She said, “_It is my first marathon on La Palma and it was very hard but I am super happy. People are cheering you on to the end and then I crossed the finish line to find out my partner won his event; it is just amazing!_” The top three male and female finishers in the Marathon have earned their place on the star line of the OCC at the UTMB World Series Finals in 2023.
While the half marathon (28km /840m+) is one of the shortest race distances on offer, it comes with its own unique challenge. As one of the highest race starts in the world at a staggering 2,426 metres, the course takes runners from the sky to the sea via technical and leg-burning descents.
Dimas Pereira (ESP) and Leire Fernández Abete (ESP) won the race in 02.07.20 and 02.41.09 respectively. Abete said, “_I have been waiting for a long time to return here to compete as the Transvulcania is special to me! It was brutal but brilliant. The technical descents were entertaining but heavy on the legs. At least you don’t have time to think how shattered you are because you are so focused!_”
As the penultimate event on the European calendar this year, all finishers took the chance to pick up coveted Running Stones which can be used to enter the lottery for the UTMB World Series Finals, while celebrating the much-awaited return of the race and everything ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the Pretty Island) has to offer.