Peneda-Gerês Trail Adventure Photo Gallery
[Editor’s Note: In this article, photographer Kirsten Kortebein documents the 2015 Peneda-Gerês Trail Adventure in Portugal directed by renowned ultrarunner Carlos Sá. All photos and words are by Kirsten Kortebein.]
The Peneda-Gerês Trail Adventure–an eight-stage, 280-kilometer mountain race through Portugal’s only national park, organized by Carlos Sá–concluded early this month. Competitors could choose between running the 280-kilometer, eight-stage race, and running an abridged 130-kilometer, four-stage race that took place alongside the longer race.
The four-stage race drew plenty of competition, including Iker Karrera, Danny Kendall, Robbie Britton, Nuno Silva, Christophe Le Saux, and Ester Alves, but the true spirit of the race was most evident during the PGTA’s eight-stage race. There were fewer than 40 competitors who opted to spend 280 kilometers together running through northern Portugal, and in my opinion, they were well-rewarded. The camaraderie and familial spirit that developed was remarkable; since there were so few racers, everyone spent significant time getting to know each other, regardless of racing background or previous experience. Having photographed, observed, and experienced this race as a journalist, I can only do so much to convey the spirit of this race. Therefore, I’ll share thoughts from Brazilian competitor Gustavo Rodrigues, who completed the eight-stage race:
“After having run the Jungle Marathon three times in Brazil, I thought nothing could be more difficult. It took only one stage of PGTA to prove me wrong. The ascents–but mostly the descents–almost broke my legs to pieces. Add to that the most technical course I have ever faced, and you have the result: the most fascinating and, at the same time, exhausting experience of my life. Cold-water river crossings, unending climbs, waterfalls all over the mountains, a mixture of climate conditions, wild horses and wolves along the path, and a unique natural environment make this race an event everyone should attend. It was 280 kilometers of pure adrenaline and amazement in places I could previously have visited only in my imagination… places I never even thought existed. Villagers welcoming you to their houses and showing their lifestyle, trying to figure out what the hell that bunch of funny, colorful creatures were doing running among their homes… they always offered a word or gesture of friendship. The race transforms you and makes you see things from another point of view, making clear the things that really matter in life–something we tend to forget during our busy daily routine.”