HIGHLIGHT FROM AN ACTIVE NETWORK PROJECT PARTNER
Castellón County Council and sport organisation MIM Marató i Mitja in Spain (both ACTIVE Network project partners) have established an effective partnership which was rewarded in May with a record number of participants taking part in its co-organised Penyagolosa Trails MIM mountain run.
Penyagolosa Trails: one challenge, two races
Long distance mountain run exceeds participation records and is recognised for good practice
In January 2013, Penyagolosa Trails emerged as a new brand representing and organising two long-distance mountain runs in the province of Castellón, the fifteenth MIM Marató i Mitja and the second CSP 115 Ultra Castellón-Penyagolosa.
Five months later, a total of 2,089 people participated in one of the two races, the Penyagolosa Trails MIM. They took on challenge of reaching the 1,280-metre summit at Santuario de Sant Joan de Penyagolosa and at the same time beat the event’s previous participation record. Never before had any mountain sports event held in the province of Castellón exceeded 2,000 runners.
While the Penyagolosa Trails MIM exceeded all expectations in just six weeks, the CSP 115 Trails Penyagolosa has continued to receive a continuous stream of entries since January. Its anticipated number of participants has greatly increased compared to the first edition in 2012 and, even more importantly, this has ensured greater diversity among the participants.
Luís Martínez, deputy in charge of the Promotion and Sports Development Area from Castellón County Council emphasises “the mountain races are a great tourist attraction for the province of Castellón and, with the involvement of Penyagolosa Trails, as a national and international reference with the capacity to attract thousands of participants andvolunteers they have become a big sport event in this region.”
Vicente Cervera, President of the sport club Mitja Marathon i Castellón-Penyagolosa, states that “our club has led the development process of the Penyagolosa Trails together with the County Council of Castellón to make the province a reference in the national circuit mountain races, and to promote sport and physical activity in general in the province of Castellón.”
PENYAGOLOSA TRAILS MIM
With its 63km distance and a cumulative 3,045-metre ascent and 1,833-metre descent, the MIM Trails Penyagolosa i Mitja Marathon race is the classic long-distance mountain race in the province of Castellón, and a regional and national benchmark.
It is an endurance test under the category of semi-autonomy. It runs for a maximum of 15 hours across several regions of the province, such as Castellón, Borriol, Villafamés, Useres, Lucena, Xodos and Vistabella, with participants aiming to reach the goal located in Sant Joan de Penyagolosa at 1,280 metres.
PENYAGOLOSA TRAILS CSP115
The CSP115 is an ultra trail stretching 118km long with a vertical drop of 5,439 and accumulated rise and fall of 4,227 metres. Departing at sea level, the race ends at the Sanctuary of Sant Joan de Penyagolosa at 1,280 metres, crossing Castellón towns such as Borriol, Villlafamés, Les useres, Lucena, Atzeneta, Benafigos, Culla, Xodos, Villahermosa and Vistabella.
MAIN FEATURES OF THE EVENTS
1. ECO-FRIENDLY EVENT
- A saving of more than 50,000 plastic cups and their potential environmental impact: This year runners participating in Trails Penyagolosa races will bring their own drinking cups, avoiding the use of more than 50,000 plastic cups. In order to minimise littering in the surrounding environment and to help the participants adapt to this new measure, this year’s runners’ pack includes a foldable silicone glass that the participants can reuse in other races in addition to their race numbers and other gifts.
2. SOCIAL PROJECT
- 1% of all Penyagolosa Trails participation fees were donated to the Red Cross: Through the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Club Esportiu Marato i Mitja and Castellón Red Cross, the social institution provided first aid, human resources and whatever else was necessary to ensure safety in racing Penyagolosa Trails, while the organisers of the races donated 1% of the participation fees to the Cruz Red Youth and to the “Promoting school success”.
3. COOPERATION IS A KEY ELEMENT
On the one hand, the event has been able to involve 11 municipalities in the province of Castellón, which are working together to ensure the success of the races. On the other hand, sports clubs like Club Esportiu i Mitja Marathon, Club Muntanyer La Pedrera Borriol Muntanya Club At-Zenet, Club Mur Castell-Tuga i of Vall d'Uixó and Vistabella Muntanya club have made the Penyagolosa Trails experience possible by organising races across the provinces and providing knowledge, materials and, above all, human resources.
Moreover, hundreds of volunteers from all parts of the province have been working for months to ensure the proper development of the event. Valuable contributions have also been made by all the staff of the public administration, Civil Guard, Red Cross, Fire and Medical Volunteers, who tested the track the day before the race to ensure the safety of the runners and visitors.
4. EUROPEAN EXAMPLE OF EXCELLENT PRACTICE IN SPORT EVENT MANAGEMENT
Because of its geographical, social, economical, sporting and cultural scope, Penyagolosa Trails was chosen as a case of excellence practice within the ACTIVE Network project as a good example of partnership between municipalities and sports organisations.
In order to allow other ACTIVE Network project partners to assess the impact of these two races, 10 representatives of project partners will travel to Castellón in May 2014 to hold a multilateral exchange and see a practical example of collaboration between municipalities and sports clubs with territorial impact and transferability to other countries.
This is an opportunity to strengthen the presence of the province of Castellón in the International mountain races and to position the province of Castellón within the group of EU healthy regions dedicated to tourism and sport.