Santana Skyrace 2019 race experience
8 June 2019

Santana Skyrace 2019 race experience

The Santana Skyrace arranged by Ultra Skyrunning Madeira was a great skyrunning experience and a race to remember. The outstanding mountainous sceneries of the village of Santana, the steep climbs and the technical descents was really something.

The race course

This competition has as main stage a mountainous ground surrounded by magnificent sceneries which will lead you up to the highest summit of this race at Achada do Teixeira, passing through  agricultural terraces and forestry parks along the heart of the luscious Laurel forest, nominated world natural heritage by UNESCO, an area located between Pico das Pedras and Queimadas.

The competition goes from 400 up to 1600 meters above sea level.

The race kicks off at Santana village 10:00

The race kicks off at Santana village at 10 o’clock in the morning. There were about 270 expectant runners and the atmosphere was on top.

Today it’s very hot (about 30 degrees all race), and it is going to be a tough one. I brought a total of 1 litre of water (and that was to little). So, my advice to other runners next year is to bring 1.5 litters of water, because the first climb is tougher and longer than it might look like on the map.

The first part of the race is through Santana village before we start the first climb up to Achada do Teixeira.

The first climb up to Achada do Teixeira

I had the chance to meet this great local guy that lives here on Madeira and we had a nice chat along the route. He says that on Madeira Skyrunning is a people sport. Lots of people do it and everyone knows about it.

Some of the easy routes before we come to the technical parts.

Some of the easy routes before we come to the technical parts.

Here come the first technical difficult parts on the route in the first climb.

Almost up in the first climb. It was very hot, I got out of water and my heartbeat had an average of about 180 for almost 2 hours. I guess it was a combination of the tough climb and the heat.

First climb up to Achada do Teixeira.

First check point – Achada do Teixeira – 8.5 km

Finally, up on the top of Achada do Teixeira on my way to the first checkpoint 8.5 km for the first food and drink stop. It took me just a little bit more than 2 hours to get here.

The first down hill

Then the down hills start. I taught it was going to be quite easy, but it was quite technical, and I was tired from the uphill.

Second check point – Pico Das Pedras – 12.9 km

When I finally made it to the second check point, I start to feel really tired, lack of liquid and heat stroke. I realize now that I totally messed up with water and salt, and That I went on to hard in the beginning of the race.

I tried to drink some more, but I couldn’t eat, because I felt a little sick and started to freeze even though it was 31 degrees. But quitting is not an option, so I started to walk quite slowly the up to the next climb.

Third check point – Queimadas – 17.8 km

When I got to the last check point only 5 more km to go. I could feel that I recovered from the first uphill, and I’m ready to run a little bit faster. I was running almost the whole part in the last downhill section, which were quite easy and in the very last section I run through the Santana village.

Finish in Santana village

Finally, I made it to the finish line in 05:07 as the 9’th lady in the plus 40 category. Compared to winner time 02:54:46. For being my first Skyrace outside Sweden I’m very happy with that.

Lessons learned

  1. I should have come here a couple of days earlier to acclimatise myself to the heat and to the surroundings.
  2. I should have taken some extra water in the first climb.
  3. I should have taken it easier in the first climb keeping my pulse zone on a lower level

Races summary

It was very hot, very hard and very technical. It was a great race experience and a great race that I can for sure recommend to others.

Happy SkyRunning!


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