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Inspiration and Adventure in Gallaecia

Raid Gallaecia takes place this May from the port of Viveiro, a town which has a great maritime heritage.  It is a place with a spirit of adventure too and that is epitomised by the race Patron Ramón Blanco.

Born in the nearby village of Ourol, just 10k from Viveiro, Blanco has been a pioneer of mountaineering and adventure in Gallaecia and is a charismatic figure, much loved and admired in the region.  

He is best known for his mountaineering achievements, which include summiting Everest at the age of 60 (at the time the oldest to do so), and climbing ‘the seven summits’. (That is summiting the highest peak on each continent, which he completed at the age of 70.)

He is a perfect figurehead for a race which allows teams to explore the limits of their ability, and the nature of the coastline and mountains of Gallaecia. If anyone has lead adventure racers by example it is Ramón Blanco.

Race Director Pablo Lopez said, “I started to admire Ramón when I saw him talk about his exploits in the mountains. It was very inspiring to hear his experiences and witness his charisma.  

“Last year he took part in the local trail run called CAMOVI, and I saw how the people really wanted him to finish and were drawn to him.  That an 85-year-old was capable of finishing that challenge, with such determination, seemed to me to be a good connection to our expedition race.

“Later I learned that he took part in the first Eco-Challenge in Morocco so I can say for sure he was a pioneer and an inspiration in my land as an adventurer.”

The trail race which Lopez saw Blano complete is a marathon distance off road run (Carrera Montes de Vivieiro).  The 85 year old mountaineer set off 4 hours before the official race start and when he finished in the town square was cheered by thousands.  This year’s Raid Gallaecia will follow in his footsteps and finish in the same town square.

The official media launch of the race was also held in the square last week, and Viveiro is excited to host a World Series race and to welcome the competing teams.  

Maria Loureiro, the Mayor of Viveiro said, “I want to welcome all the teams coming for Raid Gallaecia from all over the world.  Viveiro is a town where the land and the sea meet and is full of history and characterized by its hospitality. I encourage you to enjoy its landscapes and its people and I know you will take home a happy memory of your visit to treasure for the rest of your lives.”

Viveiro will be the host town for the race, where teams will be accommodated in a resort hotel with views across the estuary, and from where they will explore the Mariña Lucense.

The area covers about 100km of coastline and is described as a region of “Sea and mountains, rivers and estuaries, meadows and beaches” and as the “Green Gallaecia overlooking the Bay of Biscay.” It is famous for its coastal rock formations, biosphere reserves, historic ports, seafood cuisine and ancient cathedrals.  In the interior are untrodden mountain ranges such as Serra do Xistral, a mysterious landscape full of peat bogs and known for its wild horses.

It is a part of Gallaecia where there is a love of nature and with a history of exploration from its ports.  So it’s not surprising that the Mariña Lucense has inspired adventurous spirits like Ramón Blanco and that the region is backing Pablo Lopez and his organising team at Raid Gallaeica to deliver an Adventure Racing World Series expedition in their homeland.  

You can watch a 90 second video about Ramon Blanco’s run at CAMOVi at; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ySzBVU6JI

Entries are open at https://tracktherace.com/en/raid-gallaecia-2019 and for those who don’t have a full team there is an option for pairs to race on the course.  

You can find out all about the race at https://raidgallaecia.com, including the option to download the Racer Guide and see past results, maps, photos and videos.

Raid Gallaecia takes place from May 10-19th.  The race is part of the AR World Series and will follow ARWS regulations with an independent race referee in attendance.  The winners will receive a free place in the AR World Championships in Sri Lanka in December.

You can find out more about the ARWS at www.arworldseries.com

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