On the 31th of March and quite unexpectedly, the race organizer -Centro Excursionista de Gracia (CEG)- announced the cancellation of the very first edition of the event, less than three months before the official race day of 16th June.
The laconic statmente on the organizer´s web says: “Cancellation of the MMUltra: Despite the support of some of our sponsors, it has been considered not feasible to proceed with the event as its infrastructure required a high level of technical know-how and means The CEG’s Board of Directors has been forced to take such a difficult and complex as this of the cancellation of Montserrat – Matagalls Ultra “.
The race was officially presented last 15th December among big fanfare and took off with a wide array of sponsors plus very big expectations. It was designed and marketed as an elite ultra trail apt only for the very best among the ultrarunnes and declared a budget of 60.000€ including top prizes at 2.000€. This brand new Montserrat Matagalls Ultra project was in fact a spin-off from a classic local trek: the “Matagalls-Montserrat” (84k/DT6.000m/24h). With a 32 editions history and 3.000 entries in 2012, this trek -also organized by the CEG- has long been a regional classic for catalonians. Hence, the MMUltra did enjoy wide media coverage from its start: See below a half-sheet article by local Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia the very day after its official presentation.
As an “elite” ultra trail product this first edition of “Matagalls Montserrat Ultra” was to have a limited entry of 300 bibs, with the start scheduled for June 16, 2012. The registration fee was 110€ which included transportation from Barcelona to El Brull, liquid refreshment, shirt finisher. It did not include, however, neither the price of the chip nor evacuation in case of abandonment. Specific reasons for the unexpected cancellation have not been yet put forward. In any case, we regret the blow to the organizer´s new project and hope for them to be able to put it back together for the future.
Fortunately, there are many other interesting ultra trail events in Spain those weeks, as in example Madrid´s Gran Trail Peñalara which next 23rd June will be reaching succesfully its third edition. It is a most demanding route all around the Guadarrama National Park (just 50km from Madrid Airport) that climbs up to 2.430m through pure mountain terrain – mountain tracks, single trails and forest roads- and covers a total of 110Km/DT11.000m. See more about Gran Trail Peñalara 2012 here.
Spain being the 2nd most mountainous country in Europe, second only to Switzerland, there are plenty of good races to be recommended all over the country. Many of them way off the beaten path, and offer wuite unique enviroment or spirit to behold. See more about Trail races in Spain and the superb generation of trail runners they have fostered, here.