Transvulcania 2012

The full Transvulcania route in all its horror.

On Saturday, crazy people will be running an ultramarathon around La Palma. It’s the famous Transvulcania.

The main race starts at 6 am down at the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island. The runners will race up the central spine of the island to the picnic site at El Pilar, then Punta de Los Roques. The race continues anticlockwise around the Caldera rim, climbing up to the observatory at 2,426 m (7,900 ft) which the leaders should pass at about 11 am, down to El Time, then steeply down to Puerto Tazacorte at 12:30 and finally reaching the finishing line in Los Llanos at about 1 pm. That’s 83.3 km (51.8 miles) – nearly twice a normal marathon – with steep climbs, only 75% the normal oxygen at the highest point, and probably baking hot sun for the second half.

See what I mean about mad?

Less crazy people will be doing a half-marathon, starting in the same place at 6:30 am and finishing at El Pilar. The winners should arrive there at about 8:30. I doubt that I could walk this.

There will be races for kids and teenagers at El Pilar at 11 am.

It’s too late to sign up for the race, but there’ll be another next year. The website is

After all, I’m not really in any position to comment on other people’s sanity. But I’m planning to spend the day reading in bed.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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