Athletes and nature face the extreme challenge of covering 72 kilometres on foot or 105 kilometres by bicycle. This is La Desértica, which has attracted more than 6,300 participants (plus 500 yesterday in the inclusive children’s race) in its fourth edition. And they all gathered this morning on the Rambla to receive the homage of the city at the start of this race which will finish this afternoon-evening in Roquetas after crossing ten municipalities. There was a great atmosphere from early morning in the area around the Rambla, with the music of the Legion War Band, a DJ and the excitement of taking part in this competition which demands many hours of training from all the participants.
La Desértica, organised by the Legion, has become a reference point for ultra-distance running in Spain, with the arrival of walkers and cyclists from all over Spain, and has the support of the whole of society. The first to start, at the Mirador de la Rambla, were the 2,700 cyclists, at 9 a.m., and an hour later the 3,600 walkers. The mayoress of Almería, María Vázquez, the first vice-president of the Provincial Council, Ángel Escobar, who has registered for the race on foot, and the delegate of the Government of Andalusia in Almería, Aránzazu Martín, and the sub-delegate of the Spanish Government in Almería, José María Martín, together with the chief general of the Legion, Melchor Marín, took part in the protocol ceremony, together with numerous people from Almería, who recorded the start of the race of these brave men and women with their mobile phones.
The Mayoress of Almería stated that “it is an honour for the city to collaborate in this and any other activity proposed to us by the Legion because their professionalism, dedication to service and commitment is a guarantee of success”. Along these lines, María Vázquez, accompanied by the Councillor for Sports, Juanjo Segura, and the Councillor for the Presidency, Juan José Alonso, stated that “I am convinced that Almería is an ideal city for holding sporting events both indoors and outdoors, due to its modern facilities, hotel network, gastronomy, culture and organisational capacity, and this is a good example. The presence of more than 6,300 participants is a boost for the city’s economy.
For his part, the first vice-president of the Provincial Council stated that “this is one of the most important ultra-distance races held in Southern Europe. We are very happy that this is the case and that it continues to grow year after year. This competition shows the environmental values and the beauty of the landscape of the destination of Almeria and the possibilities for sports tourism on the Costa de Almeria”. At the same time, as a runner, Ángel Escobar recalled the essence of La Desértica: “although it is an individual competition, the most beautiful thing is the scenes of collaboration and help between companions. Enjoy the landscape of the province of Almeria, this exciting sporting challenge and also the companions”.
For her part, the delegate of the Government, Aránzazu Martín, who was accompanied by the delegate for Sports, Culture and Tourism, José Vélez, highlighted “the importance of holding this event which helps to deseasonalise tourism, as many of the 6,300 participants who compete come from abroad and thanks to this race they get to know Almería and our towns and villages. It is an event that is an important promotion of our province as a benchmark for hosting major sporting events. It is also an activity where sport is a good tool to unite Almeria society and La Legion, an elite corps with a strong link to this land thanks to the military base in Viator”.
The sub-delegate of the Government in Almeria pointed out that the event embodies the values that the Legion manifests and which can be seen in its legionary creed, “values that the Legion strives to pass on to Almerian society on a daily basis”, and the Chief General of the Legion recalled that “La Desértica forms part of the Legion’s circuit of civic-military trials. Through these events, the Legion wants to cooperate in the dissemination of sporting habits and a healthy lifestyle”.
La Desértica had yesterday the prolegomenon of the Minidesértica, with 500 children participating in the inclusive children’s race, which donated its proceeds to the Asociación Dárata Autismo Almería, and in the Runner’s Fair and Sabores Almería in the Plaza de las Almadrabillas and the Paseo Marítimo.
The fourth edition of La Desértica, has departed from the city of Almería and will arrive this afternoon-evening in Roquetas de Mar, after crossing the incomparable landscapes of the province of Almería, crossing its fields and trails through the municipalities of Huércal de Almería, Viator, Pechina, Benahadux, Gádor, Santa Fe de Mondújar, Alhama de Almería, Enix, Félix and Vícar, as well as the ascent to the baths of Sierra Alhamilla in Pechina. In total, twelve municipalities (including the start and finish line).
Specifically, the Bike (MTB) modality passes through nine municipalities with a positive difference in altitude of 1,500 metres: Almería (start), Huércal de Almería, Viator, Santa Fe de Mondújar, Alhama de Almería, Félix, Marchal de Enix, Vícar and Roquetas de Mar (finish).
The Walkers Modality (on foot) passes through ten municipalities with a difference in altitude of 1,610 metres: Almería (start), Huércal de Almería, Viator, “Álvarez de Sotomayor” military base, Pechina, Benahadux, Gádor, Santa Fe de Mondújar, Alhama de Almería, Enix and Roquetas de Mar (finish).
Effort, sport and sustainability. That is La Desértica, organised by La Legión with the support of all the institutions and society of Almería. A sporting competition that benefits, in turn, the economy and tourism of the city and province.