A running event covering a distance longer than a marathon will take place for the first time in the volcanic islands of the Azores on 24 May.
“The Azores Trail Run” will launch on the European Day of Parks & Wildlife in the protected landscapes of the Nature Park of Faial on Faial Island, and will see enthusiasts take to one of two intense, lush and rocky trails, the Faial Ultra Coast to Coast and the Trail of Ten Volcanoes.
Longer than a Marathon at 52 km, the Faial Ultra Coast to Coast trail starts near the historic fishing port and lighthouse of Bocca da Riberinha on Faial’s east coast, taking in a plethora of unusual and protected volcanic formations. At the Calderia (one of the largest in the world at 2 km wide) in the centre of the island, the Trail of Ten Volcanoes (the size of a half marathon at 21 km) joins the Faial Ultra Coast to Coast trail.
From here, participants will take in 10 volcanoes and rare flora and bird life across nearly half of the island, passing through areas such as the Lavada with its fascinating rail bridge, tunnel and an ancient basaltic volcanic cone. The running trail ends at Capelinhos, a dramatic and unusual landscape on the coast which was created during one of the world’s best documented volcanic eruptions in 1957.
The running event aims to promote and celebrate the islands’ biodiversity and the sustainable tourism activities on offer along its trails such as walking, hiking and cycling. Other activities on offer include climbing, canyoning, paragliding, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, whale watching, scuba diving and swimming with dolphins.
The Azores were named the No.1 sustainable tourism destination by Quality Coast (the international certification programme for sustainable tourism destinations) in 2013, and a certified European Geopark as part of the UNESCO Global Geopark Network.
Fitness enthusiasts can enjoy a week of cycling on Ponta Delgada with Saddle Skedaddle before hopping on a plane to Faial Island for the Azores Trail Run. Skedaddle’s self-guided road or leisure cycling option costs from £815 per person (excluding flights). An extra week in Faial for the Azores Trail Run starts from £975 per person and includes flights from Ponta Delgada to Horta, car hire, hotel accommodation and entry to the Azores Trail Run.
To book, call 0191 2651110 or visit www.skedaddle.co.uk
To find out more or to register for the Azores Trail Run, visit www.azorestrailrun.com/2014/registration
To find out more about hiking trails in the Azores, visit www.trails.visitazores.com/en