South American Mountain and Trail Running Championship to be Held in Argentina
Atletismo Sudamericano have awarded the championship, the first since the covid-19 pandemic, to the province of San Juan, where they will take place on the 13th and 14th of August.
This will be the first time that Argentina has hosted the championships since 2010 and with an expanded timetable of racing similar to the upcoming World Championship in Thailand, this year marks a big step forward in the scale of the event.
There will be continental titles on the line at 5 different distances; Vertical Kilometre, 6km Short (which also functions as the junior championship), 12km Classic, 35km Long and 85km Ultra, the latter course boasting a quad-sapping 4,581m of climbing and descending.
The addition of further non-championship races at 21km and 55km creates even more opportunities for runners who are not lucky enough to be racing in their national colours.
Although this is the same country and the same mountain range as hosted the 2019 World Championship, the climate in San Juan is a world away from that of Villa la Angostura, 1,000km to the south. With less than 100mm of rain per year, this is a semi-dessert landscape, spectacularly sculpted by the foehn winds that come down from the high peaks to the west. Runners will face tough, technical courses across dry, rocky ridges in the almost lunar landscape of the precordillera.
Visitors come from all over the world to visit the remarkable geological formations that are found here, such as those found in the Ischigualasto Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it isn't just spectacular scenery; the high mountains and rivers of glacial melt water provide incredible opportunities for all kinds of outdoor sports. In recent years the area has been growing in popularity as a destination for adventure tourism, not least among mountain and trail runners.
Federations have been contacted to begin the process of selecting and registering athletes, up to 5 women and 5 men per event, and the organisers, Adventure Logística, are gathering staff to provide a high level of support to the large numbers of runners expected to take part, both national teams and those in the open races.
At the most recent South American Championship in 2019 it was the host nation Venezuela who dominated, taking men's and women's individual golds in both Mountain and Trail disciplines, including a third continental Mountain Running title for Cruz Salazar.