Gran Canaria Trail Running Wonderland


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The north of the island is arguably home to some of the steepest, most technical climbs on the island. Starting at the coastal resort of Agaete, runners must navigate rock and loose trails as they ascend on the Camino de los Romeros – the first climb of the fabled Transgrancanaria 125K ultra. The big effort rewards with amazing views of the ocean and the green valleys of Agaete and Tirma.

For those wanting something less challenging, the ridgeline route from Confital, the most northwesterly beach in Gran Canaria, is a winner. Starting at Confital, the trail follows the waterline with views of the capital city Palma. After several sandy loops it head up on  to the ridge of a small inactive volcano. Literally a stone’s throw from the capital city, this is a super-convenient run that whisks you away from the hustle of Palma and right onto nature’s doorstep.

Experience Gran Canaria like a local

Although the coastal resorts can be somewhat brash and loud, the hundreds of white painted towns that litter the hills offer a rare insight into local life – and a welcome escape from schnitzel and cheap lager. Stop in any small town and there will be at least one bar-café where you can enjoy a café con leche and soak up the atmosphere.

A short drive from Roque Nublo and Pico de las Nieves, the jewel in the island’s crown must be Tunte, or San Bartolomé de Tirajana, as it is known locally. As a small provincial town in of one of Spain’s richest municipalities, expect to find freshly trimmed hedges, immaculate white buildings and an air of quiet self-confidence. This is also one of the best spots to tuck in to freshly prepared local food at one of the many small restaurants. A particular regional speciality is Papas Arrugadas con Mojo – potatoes in a mojo sauce – a perfect post-run refuel snack.

Gran Canaria know-how

Gran Canaria is the second most populous and third largest (1,560kmsq) of Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago, off the coast of northwest Africa. The island is best known for its black lava and white sand beaches, while volcanic peaks soar to almost 2,000m. It’s famed for the 125K Transgrancanaria HG ultramarathon, part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour.

The island’s capital, Las Palmas, was established in 1478 and the island finally conquered by the Spanish five years later, after a campaign against the Canarii people. Illustrious seadog Christopher Columbus spent time here on his first trip to the Americas.

The writer, James Poole, is an ultrarunner and co-founder of Advent Running. He finished eighth in the inaugural Transgrancanaria 360 – a 265K-unsupported race around the island.