The trail runner Zigor Iturrieta crosses the Pyrenees in 10 days’ time through GR11 route in a self-assisted mode.
The project consists of crossing the Pyrenees mountain range, departing from the Mediterranean Sea (Cap de Creus, Catalunya) and reaching the Cantabrian Sea (Higuer Cape, Basque Country) using GR11 route.
After going through climbing, duathlon and triathlon, it was not till 2008 that Zigor Iturrieta Ruiz (Euba, 1974) started his course as a trail runner. In 2009, he run three ultras to get the required points to go to the UTMB. In 2010, he got the third position in the UTMB, and among his best results there are the wins in Transgrancanaria, Trail du Sancy, G2H, Trail Menorca,… He also got the fourth place in Lavaredo Ultra Trail (2012) and the second in Geres Trail (2014).
The route will be carried out in a self-assisted mode. It will be neither a self-sufficiency test in which the runner will be exposed to a survival experience nor an aided event in which outside assistants will carry baggage, supplies,… He will take the minimum elements for the day-to-day experience in his rucksack and he will use the numerous shelters offered by the Pyrenees for eating and sleeping. The runner will assist himself when getting the necessary to meet his needs, this is where the name comes from. He won’t make any booking in any shelter beforehand, exposing himself to find no lodging in any zone and either make a bivouac (he counts on two thermal blankets for that purpose) or continue his journey. It will happen the same when he will have to take a detour to go to a settlement in order to get supplies.
The departure will be on Sunday, 20th of July, from Cap de Creus. The distances and the slopes are guiding, but approximately, they would be more than 800 km and 40.000 positive metres. He does not look on this as a challenge, but establishing a solo romance between the mountain and the sportsman; just going out every morning to run to the mountain, enjoy doing it as he always does, and when getting exhausted, stopping, sleeping, resting and going on. The aim is to achieve 4 legs per day, but that’s only an estimation, as the length and difficulty varies quite a lot from one another. He will take advantage of this adventure to test the new Compressport material that has not been launched onto the market yet, and he estimates to finish the whole journey in about ten days, about the end of July.
Zigor Iturrieta started going on GRs three years ago. He was fed up with training always through the same paths and he saw in them a huge potential to make use of in many aspects: the routes were duly marked and looked after, they offered a great opportunity to get to know spectacular places, and most of them were related to historical meaningful paths such as GR38, the route of Wine and Fish, or the one related to the Transhumance, very important in this area. He used to organize outings around those routes in order to exchange knowledge, experiences,… with other amateur or professional runners. But this is the first time he faces a GR like that. Even so, his sharing philosophy continues being present.
He will take a GoPro with him, to record his day-to-day experience and share it in the social networks, as if it were a log book. He will announce the itinerary of the next day, inviting anyone who is nearby to join him. For this achievement, he will be sponsored by Compressport and the Town Council of Amorebieta-Etxano.
A question to Zigor Iturrieta: ¿Why the Pyrenees?
Why? A great mountaineer once said: because they are there. From a young age, I’ve spent some days in the Pyrenees for holidays, either with my parents, friends or couples. I have walked, climbed and biked through them, and whenever I come back, I discover something new. I feel like having an adventure like that, a solo romance between the mountain and me, and I couldn’t think of a better choice than our beautiful Pyrenees, called Auñamendiak in the ancient Basque language, which means ‘mountain of goats’.