Last weekend saw the first race of the Alpinultras Series 2017 held in the little village of Caín at Picos de Europa mountain range in northern Spain. The series comprise four alpine mountain races with offer a total of 323 kms and 27,000 meters positive ascent. It is necessary to complete at least three of them along the season to achieve the coveted “ALPINO” vest presented by sponsor Raidlight. Only 9 people achieved it in 2016, a sure witness to the complexity of this challenge.


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Desafio El cainejo is set at the very heart of the Picos de Europa Mountain Range. The event pays homage to Gregorio Pérez “El Cainejo”. Gregorio was the local goat sheperd from Caín village that back in 1094 led the climb with Marquis de Pidal to the Summit of Naranjo de Bulnes, over a 400m/V+ rock route which he climbed barefoot. A daunting feat that signaled the advent of true rock climbing in Spain.

The race held its third edition this weekend over a classic mountain course of 52 kms and 5100 meters positive, which was recently marked by ITRA as the most technical race in Spain, with up to 15 “mountain points” (UTMB 100 Miles has only 8) It was trailed by Travesera Picos with 13 and third on the pódium was another alpinultras, this time Canfranc-Canfranc with 12.


Bagpipes marked a thrilling start at the 495m high village, whereas alpine runners got ready to climb up to 1.500 right up, just to make it to the first chekpoint. The race revolves around Caín combining three classic mountain traverses in loops that touch base once back in town before aiming again for the sky. The strenous three climbs reach almost up to 2.000m high: Vega de Ario, Cerra Carbanal and Cabeza Alta. The ground covered is at all times technically challenging, and demands much concentration from runners at all times, wether up or down due to the cliffs surpassed along the way.

Once the race was launched, local runner Manuel Pérez Nestar took the lead and rocketed off to win with 07h27’08”. The local goat sheperd thrilled the public, and also took time at the finihs line to dedícate his victory to Miguel Angel, the volunteer who died on a fall at the race in 2016.  The previous record was set at 8 hours by David Lopez Castán in 2015, who also came in second position this 2017with a great time (08h01’33 “) The podium was completed by the winner´s younger brother Raúl Pérez Nestar (08h14’02”).  Manuel wil now strive for the National Ultra Trail championship this June in Picos, where he enters as one top3 favorites.

In the women´s race, the absolute dominator of the test was Basque runner from Kulum Sport club Aitziber Osinalde with 09h56’26 ” who had already won at the las trace of 2016 series, the 100km Canfranc. Silver went to Eva Cruz of GDM Cabrales (10h50’07”) and the great vetean Nerea Martínez was third with a time of 11:05’14 “.

The next stop of the Alpinultras Series 2017 will be Ultra Valls D`Aneu. Over 93km held at the Catalan Pyrenees (NorthEast Spain) on July 29. Then, the series moves on to Aragón Pyrenees (Central Pyrenees) for what according to ITRA points are “The longest 100 km in the world”. The Alpinultras 2017 Series final leg will be held in Scotland, at Arran Island on October 7th over a 73km course that promises verticality and great scenarios from the sea to the Goatfell Summit.




  1. Manuel Pérez Nestar of Sprint Sport Club 07h27’08 “
  2. David López Castán de La Sportiva 08h01’33 “
  3. Raúl Pérez Nestar from Sprint Sport Club 08h14’02 “



  1. Aitziber Osinalde club Kulum Sport 09h56’26 “
  2. Eva Cruz of GDM Cabrales 10h50’07 “
  3. Nerea Martínez of Club Pedrezuela


MORE ON THE ALPINULTRAS PROJECT: Seal, series and permanent centers

The Alpinutras project is aimed at identifying and promoting the most interesting long distance traverses up in the high mountains which meet certain requirements and share values ​​such as being organized by local entities, environmentally friendly, with a marked alpine carácter, and reaching a relevant altitude around 3.000 meters or more.

The Alpinultras seal of endorsement already covers seven traverses that range wide and far. They allow you to discover trails from the Catalonian Pyrenees like Rialp Matxicots 82km, to Spain´s highest peak at 3.700m following the 140k route of the Faro to Faro at Tenerife or the famous Puigmal Peak at 2.912m after the challenging ridges covered over 130km by Emmona Ultra Trail.

The Alpinultras series 2017 brings together a limited number among those traverses endorsed with the seal. Just four of them have been selected this year to come together and offer a true alpine challenge for the most passionate  mountain runners to discover and enjoy new peaks and valleys: Desafío El Cainejo (MAY28 / 52km); Ultra Trail Valls d’Àneu (JUL29 / 93km) Ultra Canfranc (SEP7/100km) and FYA Ultra Scotland (OCT7/72k)

The Alpinultras permanent centers: Their target is to extend knowledge of one massif among mountaineers all through the year supporting them with a marked newtork of chosen trails,  mountain info update at the base town an even local guides to share a run with, ranging from the race director himself to a national trail running champion living in town.








Info by Mayayo Oxígeno for Trailrunningspain