The 2023 Salomon Ultra Pirineu takes place this weekend as thousands of runners head to Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park for the iconic mountain running festival.
First held in 2009 as the Ultra Cavalls del Vent, the race was rebranded as the Ultra Pirineu in 2014.
Kilian Jornet is a three-time winner of the race, triumphing under the Ultra Cavalls del Vent tag over 84km in 2012, and in the 100km Ultra Pirineu in 2015 and 2021.
The three main races on offer at the festival are the SUP100K (100km), the SMP42K (42km) and the SMP21K (21km). There is also a 5km Nit Pirineu event.
Ultra Pirineu live coverage and start times
The main race at the 2023 Ultra Pirineu, the SUP100K, begins at 5:30am (all local time) on Saturday 30 September.
The SMP42K follows on the same day at 9am, while the SMP21K is at 9:30am on Sunday 1 October. The 5km Nit Pirineu race is at 7:30pm on Friday 29 September.
There is live coverage of the Ultra Pirineu through Spanish broadcasters Teledeporte and Esport3, as well as Catalan outlet Televisió de Catalunya on TV3.
A live stream on Salomon Spain’s YouTube channel is embedded below, while live tracking for all four races can be accessed through LiveTrail HERE.
There is no Kilian Jornet this year but the two most successful runners in Ultra Pirineu history will be on show.
Spaniards Miguel Heras and Nuria Picas won the respective men’s and women’s SUP100K titles in 2022 and will defend their crowns this year. Heras has triumphed in the main event a total of four times, while Picas has racked up five wins.
Heras will face stern competition in the men’s 2023 edition as Norway’s Stian Angermund lines up following his recent victory in the UTMB OCC.
Dmitry Mityaev is also likely to be in contention – the Russian claimed victory in 2019 and was second last year – as is Spain’s Andreu Simon, who was DNF at this year’s UTMB CCC but won the Transgrancanaria 100M in February and took second in the 2019 OCC.
Jan Margarit, Lluis Ruiz and Pere Aurell are further Spanish runners expected to go well along with Portugal’s Miguel Arsenio.
In the women’s SUP100K, Picas will go up against Netherlands’ Ragna Debats, who won the 2019 Marathon des Sables and finished eighth at the brutal Moroccan ultra earlier this year. She was third at the 2021 Ultra Pirineu.
2021 CCC winner Marta Molist is another key figure in the women’s field – the Spaniard was fourth at the 2018 Ultra Pirineu and added to her host of domestic titles with victory at the mozart 100 by UTMB 100K last year.
2016 Ultra Pirineu winner Gemma Arenas is another Spanish talent while Russian Ekaterina Mityaeva won the 2019 race and took second in 2021.
Kenyan Robert Pkemoi boasts the highest UTMB Index ranking ahead of the SMP42K, having won the men’s race at last year’s Ultra Pirineu and triumphed in the Transgrancanaria 50K in February.
Pkemoi will be hoping to edge out Roberto Delorenzi, as he did at Transgrancanaria, but the Swiss runner has enjoyed solid results in 2023, finishing second at Lavaredo Ultra Trail by UTMB and fifth at Sierre-Zinal, as well as winning the UTMB ETC.
Mario Olmedo Sancha, who was fourth at the 2017 OCC, is the leading Spanish runner in the men’s SMP42K.
In the women’s race, last year’s Western States winner Ruth Croft (NZL), who has also clinched victory in the CCC and OCC, leads the way.
Spain’s Nuria Gil Clapera will pose a significant challenge, having taken second at the 2022 SMP42K and won at Val d’Aran by UTMB and Transgrancanaria this year.
Julia Font Gomez is another Spanish runner to look out for – she was third at Transvulcania by UTMB in May.
Ultra Pirineu route
The 100km SUP100K features 6,600m of elevation gain and traverses much of the Parc Natural del Cadí Moixeró in the north of Catalonia, Spain, near the border with Andorra.
The second ‘Niu’ checkpoint sits at the highest elevation at 2,520, with a total of 10 checkpoints throughout the race. The halfway point is between the Aguilo and Gosol aid stations.
82% of the looped route is on trails, with 13% on tracks and 5% on tarmac.