Inspirational Trails 3: The Costa Blanca Trails
Written By: SportsShoes
In our third instalment of ‘Inspirational Trails’, we’re joined by ultra-runner Dave Clissitt, who shares his experience of trail running in Southern Spain.
A few years ago I was asked by my partner if I’d like to run the Costa Blanca Trails Race, specifically the 46k Mountain Marathon, which obviously meant a trip to Spain and the probability of a few post-race cervezas and some tapas. I said yes without even asking about the race and immediately fell in love with the area. So much so that we’re now living and working here, providing unique holiday experiences for avid walkers and trail runners.
To say that I am spoilt for choice in terms of world class mountain trails would be an understatement. Only a short journey inland from the busy coastal resorts of the Costa Blanca, lies one of the most beautiful and spectacular landscapes in the world.
One of my favourite running routes starts at the heliport in the little town of Polop, taking in two of the most iconic mountains in the region; Monte Ponoig and Puig Campana. Ponoig or Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion), as it is affectionately known by the locals, stands at 1182m above sea level and from the town of Polop it resembles a giant sleeping Lion. Puig Campana (Bell Peak) stands at 1408m and has the famous Vertical Kilometer course which takes you from Font del Moli at 340m to the summit over a distance of 3.8KM.
From the heliport in Polop you climb 500m through a beautiful pine forest before heading down to Coll del Pouet via a narrow trail. From Coll del Pouet you descend a technical trail to Font Del Moli, where you’re able to replenish your water from one of the many natural springs in the area, before heading either to the summit of El Puig via the VK1 course or back to Coll del Pouet via the circular route. From here you head through the narrow rocky step that is Coll del Llamp at 1100m, before a long descent back to Polop via el Camino de la casa de Dios (The Road to God’s House).
This aggressive mountainous terrain provides a real test for even the most experienced of trail runners, with gnarly paths and trails dramatically carved into the limestone rock. And challenge does not go without reward on the trails of the Costa Blanca. Runners and hikers are always treated to a wealth of spectacular views, breath-taking ridges, dramatic pinnacles, huge caves and jaw-dropping rock arches, making this area of Spain an absolute must-visit location for any outdoor enthusiast.
This post originally appeared on the SportsShoes.com Strava Run Club: Inspirational Trails Part 3: The Costa Blanca Trails.