Posts Tagged ‘Alba Xandri’

* Update: a few hours after writing this race preview, Vertical Montserrat 2020 was cancelled. New Covid-19 restrictions were implemented in Catalonia, meaning the race can no longer go ahead.

Enrique Santamaria Martinez and Alba Xandri will return to the 2,180-step Montserrat Funicular in Collbató, Spain this Saturday to defend the titles they won at the event in 2019.

Santamaria Martinez, who also finished third in 2018, will face off against the returning course record holder and 2018 winner Joan Freixa Marcelo.

Enrique Santamaria Martinez sets off on his winning run in 2019

Freixa Marcelo won the Firefighter division at last year’s event, completing the course in full safety gear. But this year the multi-athlete from Cardona will be back in the Open category, seeking to reclaim his crown.

He is one of only two athletes to have run the course in under 12 minutes, with his record standing at 11:38.

Runners will set off up the stairway at 90 second intervals, starting at 9am.

David Soler Sucarrats, who finished just eight seconds behind Santamaria Martinez at last year’s race, is also set to compete at Saturday’s event.

Freixa Marcelo will be the last man to set off in the Open division. Santamaria Martinez will start just ahead of him, guaranteeing a fantastic finish to the third edition of this stunning outdoor stair race.

Joan Freixa Marcelo winning Vertical Montserrat 2018

The race up the service stairs alongside the Montserrat Funicular was originally scheduled for the end of March, but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ongoing situation has reduced the field slightly, with fewer international runners in the line-up compared with last year. French athlete Joris Jaquard is one of the familiar non-Spanish runners set to make an appearance.

In the women’s division, two-time winner Alba Xandri is back to try and make it three wins in a row.

Alba Xandri on her way to winning Vertical Monserrat in 2019

The impressive Spanish mountain runner and cyclist was a clear winner last year, finishing over 90 seconds ahead of Rosa Maria Nieto Zamora.

Her winning time of 14:17 is the course record.

Nieto Zamora will also be back in action again on Saturday, but she will need her rival to have a massive off day in order to stop her winning a third title.

Some familiar names to look out for are Cristina Bonacina (ITA), Laure Chardin (FRA) and Marta Cosp Morata (ESP), who won the Beetham Tower stair race in Manchester, England back in 2019.