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Weather plays havoc at Val d’Aran by UTMB, Criado, Kortazar win 50K

Stuart Dick
Published on
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The weather forced UTMB to cancel a number of races at Val d’Aran this weekend, with just the 50K and 20K category races completed in the Pyrenees.

The event, which is classified as the UTMB World Series European Major, was forced to neutralise the 100K category Camins dHér (CDH) (110km) and 100M category Torn dera Val d’Aran (VDA) (163km) races on Friday, July 7 – however three 20K category and one 50K category race were completed across the weekend.

Spaniard Raúl Criado claimed the race victory in the men’s Peades d’Aigua (PDA) in a time of 5:41:08, with compatriot Oihana Kortazar the first female finisher, breaking the tape at 6:32:28.

There were 47 finishers in the neutralised CDH, Romanian Raul Octavian Butaci over the line first in 12:45:46 and Spain’s Azara Garcia de los Salmones the women’s race victory in a time of 14:14:52.

Weather woes

Both the CDH and VDA races got underway but the threat of an electrical storm in the Pyrenees brought the race to a suspension at 20:39 BST on Friday, July 7. The initial suspension of the races was for a 40 minute period, however, the conditions continue to deteriorate.

At 21:56 BST, another communication was sent by UTMB announcing the suspension of both races. The race organisers later communicated the outcome of the races in terms of it means for the UTMB World Series.

In the CDH, the UTMB statement read: “Six running stones will be awarded to all runners whoe were neutralised. The first 10 classified athletes obtain direct access to the UTMB World Series Finals at the 100K distance.”

For the VDA, the statement read: “Two running stones will be awarded to all runners who started yesterday.” In addition, all VDA runners were invited to race in the Experiéncia d’Aran (EXP).

CDH neutralised

47 runners had completed the CDH course by the time the suspension was enforced. Romanian Butaci – who was looking for his first 100K category victory at the 13th attempt – took the tape in a time of 12:45:46. He bested France’s Alban Berson (12:57:35) by 11 minutes and 49 seconds, with Norway’s Sebastian Krogvig (13:12:26) a further 14 minutes and 51 seconds off the pace.

Garcia de los Salmones reigned supreme in the women’s race. The Spaniard has had a mixed season on the UTMB Index with two DNFs and a race victory at Transgrancanaria (Advanced) 100K in February. She took the victory in 14:14:52, 25 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Norway’s Mari Klakegg Fenre (14:38:12). Spain’s Nuria Picas (15:32:47) was almost an hour further back of the pair in third.

Spaniards shine

The host nation dominated the PDA with all six podium dwellers registered to Spain. Criado earned the race victory in the men’s 50K category race in a time of 5:41:08. Criado is no stranger to success in the category with victories at Ultra-Trail Bosques del Sur 2021, Ultra-Trail Guara Somontano HG 2019 and Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs 2018 in recent years.

He completed the 55km circuit four minutes and 21 seconds ahead of his nearest rival Marcos Ramos Gonzalez (5:49:29) with a third Spaniard, Artiz Egea Caceras (5:46:54), a further one minute and 25 seconds off the pace.

Raúl Criado takes the PDA race victory at Val d’Aran by UTMB [Photo Credit: UTMB Val d’Aran

In the women’s PDA race, Kortazar claimed victory in a time of 6:32:38. She has been in excellent form in the 50K category on the UTMB Index with success at Carerra Alto Sil 2023, Kangas Mountain 2023 and X Trail Las Palomas 2023 just this year alone.

She lead Anna Comet Pascua (6:47:39) over the finish line by 15 minutes and one second, with Mónica Vives Vila (6:58:17) a further 10 minutes and 38 seconds behind.

20K success

In addition to the three longer races, there were a trio of 20K category jaunts – Experiéncia d’Aran (EXP), Baqueira Beret (SKY), Sky 15K Promesas.

Val d’Aran by UTMB

The EXP, the longest of the three at 30km, was won by Pablo Bautista Rovira (2:56:18) on the men’s side and Nuria Gil Clapera (3:27:48) on the women’s – another double success for the host nation Spain.

SKY, raced over a shorter 15km course, saw further Spanish success as Antonio Martínez Pérez (1:13:12) and Onditz Iturbe Arginzoniz (1:29:00) took the tape. Joan Cabré (1:27:44) and Mireia Tabuenca López (1:56:41) were successful in the Promesas, another 15km race.

Val d’Aran by UTMB results

Torn dera Val d’Aran (VDA), Friday 7 July 2023, 100M (163km)CANCELLED


  1. Race Suspended


  1. Race Supsended

Camins dHér (CDH), Friday 7 July 2023, 100K (110km)RACE NEUTRALISED


  1. Raul Octavian Butaci (ROM) – 12:45:46
  2. Alban Berson (FRA) – 12:57:35
  3. Sebastian Krogvig (NOR) – 13:12:26


  1. Azara Garcia de los Salmones (ESP) – 14:14:52
  2. Marie Klakegg Fenre (NOR) – 14:38:12
  3. Nuria Picas (ESP) – 15:32:47

Peades d’Aigua (PDA), Thursday 6 July 2023, 50K (55km)


  1. Raúl Criado (ESP) – 5:41:08
  2. Marcos Ramos Gonzalez (ESP) – 5:45:29
  3. Artiz Egea Caceres (ESP) – 5:46:54


  1. Oihana Kortazar (ESP) – 6:32:38
  2. Anna Comet Pascua (ESP) – 6:47:39
  3. Mónica Vives Vila (ESP) – 6:58:17

Experiéncia d’Aran (EXP), Sunday 9 July 2023, 20K (30km)


  1. Pablo Bautista Rovira (ESP) – 2:56:18
  2. Jesús María Alegría (ESO) – 3:01:01
  3. Diego Ramon Simon (ARG) – 3:06:38


  1. Nuria Gil Clapera (ESP) – 3:27:48
  2. Maria Fuentes (ESP) – 3:30:40
  3. Mireia Pons (ESP) – 3:33:40

Baqueira Beret (SKY), Saturday 8 July 2023, 20K (15km)


  1. Antonio Martínez Pérez (ESP) – 1:13:12
  2. Vincent Loustau (FRA) – 1:15:59
  3. Roger Comellas Espelt (ESP) – 1:16:46


  1. Onditz Iturbe Arginzoniz (ESP) – 1:29:00
  2. Ana Tauste Galera (ESP) – 1:34:19
  3. Robyn Lesh (USA) – 1:34:53)

Sky 15K Promesas, Saturday 8 July 2023, 20K (15km)


  1. Joan Cabré (ESP) – 1:27:44
  2. Pablo Cuevas Tirado (ESP) – 1:30:21
  3. Adrian Vos Perez (ESP) – 1:31:37


  1. Mireia Tabuenca López (ESP) – 1:56:41
  2. Aitana Ferrando Munoz (ESP) – 2:08:02
  3. Aone Landa (ESP) – 2:19:14

Full results available here.

Stuart Dick
Written by
Stuart Dick
Stuart is a graduate of the University of Sunderland with a masters' degree in Sports Journalism. He spends a lot of his time running and cycling around West Yorkshire, England.


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