Extreme by name, extreme by nature. The race up and down Puig Massanella from the picturesque village of Mancor de la Vall is considered by many to be the toughest race in the Cursa de Muntanya race series. This year’s race was made all the more difficult because local landlords would not allow runners to cross their land on the return from the peak.
During the Mancor Extrem, not only do runners have to propel themselves 27km through some of the highest trails of the Tramuntana, they also have to negotiate 1560m of ascent (Ben Nevis is 1344m from sea level) along the way. Add to the mix razor sharp limestone slabs on the two-peaked summit and a foot of snow blocking the way under the Coll des Prat and it’s a little easier to understand why a number of runners finished the race bloodied (but not beaten).
So why do we all do it? The stunning views (full 360 degrees of the island from the top), the buzz of competition, the adrenalin or the chance of winning prizes? Of course the answer is different for every runner, and we had plenty of time to contemplate the psychology of running during the first 9km of this race – straight uphill. For me, it’s the chance to test myself – physically and mentally – on some of the toughest routes in Mallorca. The pain is extreme, but the relief at the finish is almost immediate.
The men’s race was won by Pep Vives (Muntanya Club Pollenca) in 2:29:11 and Angie Bibiloni (Mallorca a Dalt de Tot) was the first female finisher crossing the line in 3:02:31. A huge thanks to all the volunteers who braved the chilly conditions and icy winds to pass out much needed refreshments along the way. The Cursa series now moves on to Valldemossa for the stunning Pujada al Teix (21km) on March 31st.
See the SeeMallorca Events Calendar for provisional dates for all Cursa de Muntanya races.
Anthony Cassidy operates RunMallorca, the first dedicated guided trail running company in Mallorca.