PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE (November 25th, 2015) — After the resounding success of the first ever Ultra Fiord race, the 2016 edition is shaping up to provide the same staggering scenery and high level of challenge. The race will be held in the Provincia de Última Esperanza (Province of Last Hope), a region characterized by thousands of kilometers of fiords, in South-Western Patagonia. It will take place from the 14th to the 16th of April, and include distances of 100 miles, 100km, 70km, 50km, and 30km.
Registration is filling up quickly, and athletes will be arriving from across 6 continents. Of the 24 countries represented, a large number of athletes hail from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Uruguay, France, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Runners are also traveling from such diverse locales as Japan, Peru, Costa Rica, Australia, Portugal, Colombia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the U.K., Poland, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and South Africa. The race’s online presence has been growing steadily, too: in just 7 months since the inaugural edition, the Ultra Fiord Facebook page has gained over 42,000 followers from 45 countries.
Race founder Stjepan Pavicic is gratified by the race’s swift international growth. “At the moment 60% of the athletes signed up are from outside of Chile,” he said, “I expect the number will be as high as 70% by the time we close registration. I’m thrilled to see such a multinational field.” Pavicic is also happy with the adjustments made for the next edition. The course will be very similar to the 2015 race, he says, and several tweaks have been made to create a “safer, more enjoyable race, with improved assistance at checkpoints and more stunning views along the way.”
The 100 mile course, which previously measured an actual distance of 108 miles, has been reduced to 101. The start time has also been moved forward by 2 hours, so the race will begin at 10:00 pm on the 14th instead of midnight. These changes should put the runners in the high mountain zone of the course approximately 3 hours earlier, significantly improving visibility and safety. Smaller adjustments along the route have also been made, with an eye towards creating better photo opportunities. Finally, a new 50k distance category has been added, giving athletes more options for their level of competition.
As the race grows and evolves with each new edition, conservation and sustainable development remain at center stage. Chilean Patagonia is home to unique eco- systems and untouched wilderness. Ultra Fiord aims to raise awareness for the need to conserve this land by presenting a stunning race course at the heart of the region. It also strives to positively impact Patagonia’s eco-tourism and encourage sustainable development within local communities.
Xavier Thevenard, two-time champion of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, won last year’s Ultra Fiord 70k with a time of 8 hours and 46 minutes. Thevenard described the race as “super technical,” “wild,” and full of “mind-blowing landscapes.” “It is not possible to understand what a runner really goes through during a trail without having lived it,” he said, “especially a trail such as Ultra Fiord in Patagonia.”
The 2016 edition will allow runners from around the world to understand that wild experience for themselves. Registration opened in August and will remain open until January 31st.
Registration for Ultra Fiord may be made through their event partner’s official website