If you ever plan to come down to South America and make a tour around the Andes, El Cruce is definitely the race you should add to your calendar. It’s a race with a bit of history; this year it will be the 12th edition. The main topic of the event each year is choosing a different path from Chile to Argentina through the Cordillera de los Andes, where the runners enjoy a three-day stage race from 30 km to 40 km for each stage.
After running through the amazing landscapes of the Andes, you rest in a camp, sharing your experiences and some great moments with the other racers. The event will be held from 7-9 February (for the teams) and from 8-10 February (for the individuals).
The main attraction of this edition is the addition of a solo category, which has attracted a lot of top world class athletes. In addition to the last three edition winners, Gustavo Reyes and Nelson Ortega (both from Argentina), we will have the pleasure of receiving Max King, François D’Haene, Iker Karrera, and Adam Campbell.
For the women, last-year winners Cristina de Carvalho and Rosalia Camargo Guarischi (from Brazil), together with Oihana Kortazar (Spain), Emma Roca (Spain), and the woman who needs no introduction at all, Anna Frost. Besides these top athletes, most of the South American top athletes will be giving battle in the solo race.
We also can’t take our eyes off the team race, which will have some strong racers, too. Triathletes Pablo Ureta and Ezequiel Morales, together with Brazilian trail stars Jose Virginio de Morais and Iazaldir Feitoza will certainly make a show on these three mountain days.
This year’s slogan is “En los Volcanes” or better in English, “Through the Volcanoes.” On each stage, runners go up and down or make a loop around a volcano. First day will be Villarica Volcano near Pucón, Chile. Second, Quetrupillan Volcano near the frontline between Chile and Argentina. To finish the race, the majestic Lanin Volcano will receive all 2000 athletes who dare to challenge him.
As a runner, it’s an amazing experience and a great challenge for the legs. Running nearly 40 km each day with lots of vertical then recovering for starting again the next day sounds a bit tiring. But the coexistence in a camp with other athletes, sharing a dinner, some typical Argentinian “mates” (for those who don’t know, it’s an infusion served in a small container with a sorbet and prepared with a typical herb from Argentina), or even sharing a tent: it’s one of those things you’ll never forget. Oh, and of course, we all share the same passion for trail running. I still haven’t run TransRockies or TransAlpine, but this race is similar to that. Although I must say, the Andes are the most beautiful mountain range in the world!
For more information about El Cruce or trail running in Argentina and South America, please visit Trail Running Argentina. Post-stage information will be available on TRA, the TRA Facebook page, the El Cruce website, and El Cruce Facebook page.
All photo credits go to El Cruce Organization, “Club de Corredores.”