The 2022 Transgrancanaria kicked off on a brisk Friday night on Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. The demanding course draws elite runners from all over the world; this year was no exception.
Four-time champion Pau Capell of Spain returned to the race after an injury sidelined him in 2021. Spanish runner Pablo Villa shared the podium with Capell in 2020; he returned hungry this year after suffering an injury during last year’s Transgrancanaria.
American Kaytlyn Gerbin landed on Gran Canaria looking to build on a 2020 race win and a second-place finish in 2019. Spanish runner Claudia Tremps looked to challenge at the top, too, as the 2021 runner-up.
The 126-kilometer (78-mile) “Classic” Transgrancanaria course is a dream race for ultrarunners for a few reasons: the sublime island backdrop just off the Moroccan coast makes for inspiring scenery, the weather can lead to an unpredictable race, and the course is demanding with its 7,500 meters (24,000 feet) of gain.
This year’s race kicks off the second annual Spartan Trail World Championships circuit, which covers every continent except Antarctica. The gun sounded at the start line at Las Canteras Beach at 11:00 p.m. local time on Friday night and concluded Saturday at Parque Sur in the town of Maspalomas. Early finishers broke the tape around noon local time on Saturday.
Harsh weather hounded the runners from the get-go as consistent rain, high wind, and fluctuating temperatures made for tough going. Conditions were so adverse that race officials chose to cut the route in the steep, high-altitude terrain around Roque Nublo.
2022 Transgrancanaria Women’s Results
The nasty weather didn’t bother Dutch runner Ragna Debats, who prevailed in the women’s race with a time of just over 16 hours. Debats distanced herself from the pack around midway and never looked back, winning comfortably over second-place finisher Abby Hall of the U.S. Debats came in as a favorite after retiring from last year’s Transgrancanaria. Last year’s second place, Claudia Tremps, was this year’s third-place woman.
Previous champion Kaytlyn Gerbin crossed the finish line in eighth place.
Women’s Top-Five Finishers:
1. Ragna Debats (The Netherlands, lives in Spain) — 16:00:14
2. Abby Hall (USA) — 16:21:29
3. Claudia Tremps (Spain) —16:45:35
4. Kathrin Götz (Switzerland) — 17:05:42
5. Eszter Csillag (Hungary) — 17:15:10
2022 Transgrancanaria Men’s Results
The top three men ran in lockstep for much of the race, checking in within two minutes of each other at each checkpoint up to the 80k mark. But Pablo Villa pulled ahead and established a lead he would not give up over the race’s last two major uphills at El Garañón and Roque Nublo.
Spain’s Pere Aurell led Capell in second place through about the middle third of the course, but Capell ultimately overtook him on the way downhill into Maspalomas’s Parque Sur.
For Villa, it’s his second career Transgrancanaria win.
Men’s Top-Five Finishers:
1. Pablo Villa (Spain) — 13:37:30
2. Pau Capell (Spain) — 13:58:47
3. Pere Aurell (Spain) — 14:12:02
4. Baptiste Chassagne (France) — 14:17:31
5. Robert Hajnal (Romania) — 14:44:00