ALPINULTRAS 2019: Kick off at the hearth of Picos de Europa, DESAFIO EL CAINEJO, beautiful yet extreme challenge.


On May 18 at dawn the bagpipe will sound again at Caín de Valdeón. This small town of Leon will honor again to Gregorio Pérez “El Cainejo”, the humble shepherd who back in 1904 achieved the impossible, guiding the first ascent to the never before climbed Naranjo de Bulnes. After the horn, a small group of veteran mountaineers will start to fight up and down six canals through the peaks in less than 15 hours, completing the 52km / D + 5100m route that is internationally recognized as the most technical and demanding mountain race Spain, according to the international federation ITRA.

This will be the first of the three race series of the Alpinultras 2019 circuit, fourth edition of the project dedicated to promote the great ultra-deep mountain crossings and the people around them, Desafio el Cainejo, Tenerife Blue Trail and Ultra Canfranc-Canfranc. See the teaser video below first and then let us go into detail.





The most difficult mountain races in Spain start in Picos de Europa

followed by ascend to Teide and the Pyrenees


This Alpinultras circuit is, according its data, with just 20 “Alpinos” that have completed it in three years among the almost 500 candidates who tried it, the most technical and demanding mountain races among of our country. First, because the organization selects only the best 150 candidates among those who request to participate, admitting only those who has a history in the mountain to certify their experience and security before the three challenges as beautiful as hard that await them. Afterwards, because it is necessary to complete the three evetns in a year, which does not allow to commit any mistake or be defeated to be crowned as “Alpino”. Hence, only 20 different people have achieved it throughout the first three years.

HISTORY: The evolution of this project has been growing since its inception, both in quality and quantity, as well as its international projection, in which today we can see reflected not only in the Spanish media but also in other countries like Japan, Italy, Brazil, France, Argentina, United Kingdom, Colombia or Chile, among many others.


The impact of the quality of the 2018 circuit was higher than ever, including two of the three most difficult ultras in Spain according to the ITRA and for the first time up to 21 people achieved the get the title of “Alpinos” by finishing the three of theme. The media added almost 20 million hits on twitter and today there are already almost 3,000 news * published on the web about Alpinultras. (* Google news data).



  1. ALPINULTRAS 2019: Tenerife Blue Trail arrives, Desafío El Cainejo and Canfranc Canfranc continues. In addition to include the ascent to the highest peak in Spain, steping the Teide to 3,555m for the first time, in 2019 the challenge involves completing 254 kilometers of trails through the mountains, climbing no less than 21,000 meters. Emulating the famous Olympic slogan, this 2019, the “Alpinos” will seek to be “Citius, Altius, Fortius”. Higher, stronger and achieving it as fast than ever, This fourth edition offers a journey that starts from the fierce vertical canals of Cain in Picos de Europa, to complete a full journey of the island of Tenerife, from the beach to the top of the Teide, to finalize a trip at the spectacular route along the crests of the Aragonese Pyrenees that connect the stations of Formigal, Astún and Candanchu.
  2. ALPINULTRAS TXIKIS 2020: Due the the extreme hardness of the current circuit, the organization will present in Caín the new ALPINULTRAS TXIKIS, with five “smaller” events to prepare runners to the big challenge. Three of them will be sister proofs of the great Alpinultras, such as El Cainejín de Picos, which is celebrated on Sunday after, and which even with that name offers a formidable challenge of 19km / D + 1300m. as reflected below. On Friday at 20.30 in Caín, the two new events, unrelated to the current circuit, will be confirmed.



DESAFÍO EL CAINEJO 2019: Five years of an international alpine classic. The inaugural event of the Alpinultras 2019 circuit celebrates its fifth edition with all the bib-numbers sold out long ago. This Desafío el Cainejo. in the heart of Picos de Europa, offers a high mountain alpine crossing through the large canals and ridges of the massif, which according to the ITRA (International Trail Running Association) is cataloged as the most technical ultra trail in Spain. Its 52km climbing to 5,200m, almost double than the great classic mountain marathons in the Guadarrama, Aizkorri or Pirineu.


Desafío el Cainejo was born in memory of Gregorio Pérez, shepherd of the land and well known as “El Atreviu” for his neighbors and as “El Cainejo” in the other towns of the region. The Marqués de Pidal appealed to him as a guide and climber, to form a legend way. Together they achieved on August 5 of 1904 the top of the Picu Urriellu for the first time, the most difficult climb in the whole Spain until then. united, the barefoot shepherd and the Marqués wearing espadrilles made possible what was considered impossible until then. From that experience the passion of the aristocrat for the protection of the environment was born , which led him to be the first General Commissioner of National Parks in our country, demonstrating from the very beginning that nobody cares more for the health of the mountains that the mountaineers themselves, who make them their own after learning to love them step by step.
History has collected in great letters since then the figure of Don Pedro, deservedly. However, the humble figure of the shepherd who opened the way, guided and assumed the big danger in that mythical climb was postponed for almost a century. Until 2015, Cain’s neighbors set out to pay the best tribute to their countryman: They created a mountain race that followed their spirit, the trails and the ferocious canals that rose and fell every day for years. An “impossible” path that current runners though will never be able to consolidate. Most of the time, they will need poles and even crampons, in order to complete it, they said.
From Cain they were not frightened: The race was released as Desafío El Cainejo in 2015. And runners came. The even has been growing year after year, with special strength since its inclusion in 2017 within the Alpinultras project. This 2019 bib-numbers were sold out before ever, to face on Saturday May 18 the legendary 52km Desafío El Cainejo so many lovers of these lands have opted to try on Sunday May 19 with the Txiki format with 18km the Cainejín, a route that is quite an alpine challenge in itself.






MÁS SOBRE ALPINULTRAS: Toda la info sobre DESAFIO EL CAINEJO coordinada en #CainejoAlpinultras.

In the next days if you follow us we will give you more details about all the races of the circuit. In the meantime you can follow it on web, social networks or contact us in person