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The Red Bull race on the Primitivo

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
A good friend in Oviedo sent me this announcement today — Red Bull is planning a three day race on the Primitivo from September 24-26.


It seems that this will be done in three stages by relay teams of 5 or 6. Maximum number of teams allowed is 40. I have no idea how much interference there will be for peregrinos who are actually walking the camino on those days, but I personally would not want to be there.

I wonder if some official entity received compensation, if some government will provide security — basically I wonder how in the world this came to pass!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
A good friend in Oviedo sent me this announcement today — Red Bull is planning a three day race on the Primitivo from September 24-26.


It seems that this will be done in three stages by relay teams of 5 or 6. Maximum number of teams allowed is 40. I have no idea how much interference there will be for peregrinos who are actually walking the camino on those days, but I personally would not want to be there.

I wonder if some official entity received compensation, if some government will provide security — basically I wonder how in the world this came to pass!

Hmm,

Fortunately there will be only 1 of these days (24, 25 or 26) that they come running. If I would be walking the Primitivo, their presence would probably ruin one of those days, but personally I would be fine with that. And it remains to be seen if there will be so many as 40 groups; could be less. At least they are running and not coming rushing with the speed of cyclists.
 

Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
There's an ongoing discussion on another thread which mentions reasons for doing a camino and what qualifies for a compostela. It is interesting to note that in their blurb they mention being accredited as a pilgrim and collecting the compostela. I can't imagine how running a race across the primitivo over three days in relays could be considered or interpreted as anything other than recreational. There may be some interesting debates at the pilgrims office on Sept 26th...
 
Past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
There's an ongoing discussion on another thread which mentions reasons for doing a camino and what qualifies for a compostela. It is interesting to note that in their blurb they mention being accredited as a pilgrim and collecting the compostela. I can't imagine how running a race across the primitivo over three days in relays could be considered or interpreted as anything other than recreational. There may be some interesting debates at the pilgrims office on Sept 26th...
I was under the impression that the Red Bull race was the Red Bull soapbox race! Good grief I thought, I've been run over by a few things in my time but this really takes the biscuit :)

Samarkand.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Reading a bit more from the website, there is one bit of information that is really useful for the discussion about how much elevation gain there is on the Primitivo. I’ve read posts here on the forum describing an ascent of 1000 m in a day (much like SJPP to Roncesvalles), which always seemed very high to me.

I’m fairly confident Red Bull got it right for their racers. And here is what they found

In the first 100 kms, Oviedo to Pola de Allende, total elevation gain 659 m
Pola to Lugo, total elevation gain 689 m
Lugo to Santiago , total elevation gain 425 m

That comes out to a total elevation gain of about 1800 m over about 320 km. There is certainly a lot of up and down on this beautiful camino, but we should tone down the hype!
 
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AlainC

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Good grief. They had better train before attempting this race. They will also have to contend with the weather and very wet conditions on some parts of the Camino. This is purely a publicity stunt that has nothing to do with the spirit of the Camino!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
My reaction is not so negative, although I do hope that arrangement for security and other logistics take pilgrims (and locals) into consideration. The Camino is not the only acceptable land use!

If I were planning to walk that route at that time, I would either enjoy the event or adjust my plans to avoid it. One year, the hotels in Merida were quite full. Turned out that a marathon was being run, so we stopped and watched it.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It is interesting to note that in their blurb they mention being accredited as a pilgrim and collecting the compostela.
The cathedral must have signed off on this, or else they are making promises they cannot keep.

I got curious and went back to the site, and saw that they said: ”Además los corredores-peregrinos llevarán consigo una compostelana que será sellada en todas las paradas.” Translate — the runners-pilgrims will carry a “compostelana” (what??? They are going to carry a young woman from Santiago de Compostela on their backs??? — they must mean credencial, since you don’t carry a compostela with you), which will be stamped at all stops.

They have an unusual twist at the end - they want all runners, no matter where they are, to get to Monte de Gozo for the 4 last kms into Santiago together. And they say —

“All of the teams will run [into Santiago] together, at a slow pace … knowing that we are only a few minutes away from the most legendary “finisher title“ that exists — the Compostela, which certifies you as a pilgrim.“

So that does seem to indicate that the runners will qualify for a compostela, wow.
 

frida1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
I have no comment on the positives and negatives of the race. I noticed the stats on elevation as in the USA, we hike in conditions that are so rugged. A gain of 1800 meters a day in the Cascade mountains over the course of 20 k is pretty common. And European ranges can be big too. Tour de Mt Blanc covers about 200k with over 15,000 meters of gain and descent.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
Yes, a bit repulsive in it's own way. At least it's only three days and I suppose it's pumping some money into the communities.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I wouldn’t want to be there—but then there’s a reason I walked unpopular paths in colder weather. That said, I imagine it will help economically stressed people we depend upon so…

perhaps when they’re not racing they walk and this qualify for completion of the required distance. My marathon coach always said he’d only do the Camino running. To each their own. I think you miss out on the effect of seeing things slowly, but then so do those on bikes. We each travel our own way.

as for the course, they may be used to races like this, trails or marathons or ultras. Personally this is my favorite marathon (although I haven’t done it in a while): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_Memorial_Death_March

I entered the military heavy category so uniform, boots, full pack and water. I walked. Some teams ran—usually the big young guys. To each their own—I figured carrying over a third of my weight up hills and through sand was enough pain. Maybe some of these runners have walked the primitivo before or will return to walk in the future—in any case I hope it helps the businesses along the way
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
”Además los corredores-peregrinos llevarán consigo una compostelana que será sellada en todas las paradas.” Translate — the runners-pilgrims will carry a “compostelana” (what??? They are going to carry a young woman from Santiago de Compostela on their backs???

They are also going to stamp this poor woman at every stop 😂
 

Lindor

Member
Past OR future Camino
Starting Camino 02/04/2020
I have a friend who is an ultra/mountain marathon runner, and he is planning to run the Camino Frances in the next year or 2. Don't worry, he is NOT sponsored by redbull (or anyone else for that matter😁). He's just a bit crazy, and enjoys long distance running.

No details are finalised yet, but the current plan is his wife (accompanied by their 8 year old daughter) will drive their camper van across Spain, and he will run approx 50-60km a day, then meet them in the afternoons.

I think he will definitely deserve a Compestela after that.

I'm panicking about walking it, yet my friend is cool as a cucumber about running it lol
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I have a friend who is an ultra/mountain marathon runner, and he is planning to run the Camino Frances in the next year or 2. Don't worry, he is NOT sponsored by redbull (or anyone else for that matter😁). He's just a bit crazy, and enjoys long distance running.

No details are finalised yet, but the current plan is his wife (accompanied by their 8 year old daughter) will drive their camper van across Spain, and he will run approx 50-60km a day, then meet them in the afternoons.

I think he will definitely deserve a Compestela after that.

I'm panicking about walking it, yet my friend is cool as a cucumber about running it lol
The wife deserves a medal for driving a camper across Spain. The lack of support crew is what holds back my coach, his wife has made clear if she goes to Spain it won’t be as crew.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I have a friend who is an ultra/mountain marathon runner, and he is planning to run the Camino Frances in the next year or 2. Don't worry, he is NOT sponsored by redbull (or anyone else for that matter😁). He's just a bit crazy, and enjoys long distance running.

No details are finalised yet, but the current plan is his wife (accompanied by their 8 year old daughter) will drive their camper van across Spain, and he will run approx 50-60km a day, then meet them in the afternoons.

I think he will definitely deserve a Compestela after that.

I'm panicking about walking it, yet my friend is cool as a cucumber about running it lol
This made me laugh recalling a conversation I had with a fellow officer the day before I left to participate in the Nijmegen March. I hadn’t had time to train bc of work, but figured it was only four days long, and the distance was in km which I always ignored. “I’ll be fine, I told him, we’re wearing packs but I think it’s only 40 or 50 km a day”. He replied “that’s a marathon a day for four days carrying a full pack and water”. 😳 suddenly it seemed a little less do-able.
 

ksam

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
I have a friend who is an ultra/mountain marathon runner, and he is planning to run the Camino Frances in the next year or 2. Don't worry, he is NOT sponsored by redbull (or anyone else for that matter😁). He's just a bit crazy, and enjoys long distance running.

No details are finalised yet, but the current plan is his wife (accompanied by their 8 year old daughter) will drive their camper van across Spain, and he will run approx 50-60km a day, then meet them in the afternoons.

I think he will definitely deserve a Compestela after that.

I'm panicking about walking it, yet my friend is cool as a cucumber about running it lol
I guess I understand your friend ( and perhaps even the other runners on the Primitive.) Having been a long distance runner in the past it truly can be a very thoughtful process. Actually my favorite runs were in the dark (NO would not recommend this on the Camino!). Found it to be very zen. Me and my tiny little patch of road in my headlamp. The rest of the world and all its worries and things just fell away. So...I would't choose to do the Camino in this way, but...to each his own. I just hope they do remember to watch out for us slowpokes!! Buen Camino a todo!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I guess I understand your friend ( and perhaps even the other runners on the Primitive.) Having been a long distance runner in the past it truly can be a very thoughtful process. Actually my favorite runs were in the dark (NO would not recommend this on the Camino!). Found it to be very zen. Me and my tiny little patch of road in my headlamp. The rest of the world and all its worries and things just fell away. So...I would't choose to do the Camino in this way, but...to each his own. I just hope they do remember to watch out for us slowpokes!! Buen Camino a todo!
That’s exactly what my friend said, he likes the mental challenge of planning his pace, and the zen of the run, and feels he can see things just as well as if he walked.
Maybe we should put bells on the runners as well as the bikes
 
F

Former member 94647

Guest
Wow what a challenge!!

..I think they will pass us on 26th and will be gone by the time we arrive in Santiago!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
My reaction is not so negative, although I do hope that arrangement for security and other logistics take pilgrims (and locals) into consideration. The Camino is not the only acceptable land use!

If I were planning to walk that route at that time, I would either enjoy the event or adjust my plans to avoid it. One year, the hotels in Merida were quite full. Turned out that a marathon was being run, so we stopped and watched it.
I have been up in some 3500+ meter mountains in the Alps-where several hundred hikers were climbing almost 3000 meters in altitude by running a marathon. There were enough volunteers all along the-route keeping everyone safe. Alternative starting points forrunners or pilgrims might be wise…after that, 40 runners will thin out after each relay station. If there are any very narrow paths, someone should be there to head off potential collisions. Hopefully, trails will be marked and announcements made so pilgrims know what is coming.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Unless they have some sort of dispensation from the Archbishop, any runner who does not run - or walk- the final 100 km of the route into Santiago, maintain a credencial, and obtain two sellos daily in that credencial to confirm the route and chronological passage from place to place, is not eligible for a Compostela. Yes, that was a long sentence, but it fully explains the issue.

The second issue is that "teams" do not qualify for a Compostela. Only individual persons qualify for a Compostela.

This said, it might well be that the Pilgrim Office will award some lesser alternative certificate like the Certificate of Welcome. This does not have all the strict rules attached.

Of course, I do not make the rules. This is my understanding of them. As it happens, I am planning to be working at the Pilgrim Office from 7 - 21 September this year.

The good news is that I can inquire further about this oddity when I arrive. The really good news is that I will not be there when they arrive at the Pilgrim Office.

Hope this helps,

Tom
 
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witsendwv

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2015)
My reaction is not so negative, although I do hope that arrangement for security and other logistics take pilgrims (and locals) into consideration. The Camino is not the only acceptable land use!

If I were planning to walk that route at that time, I would either enjoy the event or adjust my plans to avoid it. One year, the hotels in Merida were quite full. Turned out that a marathon was being run, so we stopped and watched it.
This seems very similar to 5 and 10K races that we have done recently in cities with greenways. People in the race use the same space as the locals out for a walk or run. We walk, not run, but try to be polite with passing, and always move to the right and stop for those who are faster to let them pass us by.!! (Helps to keep us ready to walk a camino!)
 

mazzarina

New Member
Past OR future Camino
past: Frances, St Jean Pied de Port-Burgos
future: Primitivo
Fell racers and ultra marathoners are in general very respectful of other people and of the environment. Red Bull have a lot of experience and an established reputation in organising these kinds of running events -- of course they get publicity, but it's a serious event (and a pretty small-scale one, I would imagine). What's interesting here is that they're billing it as something different from an ordinary trail race, emphasising the spirit of camaraderie and team work. It's a lovely idea that they stop at the Monte do Gozo and wait for the last runner before going in together - not a race but a celebration. I don't see why the participants are any less worthy of a compostela than walkers; trail running can be a deeply spiritual practice.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I don't see why the participants are any less worthy of a compostela than walkers; trail running can be a deeply spiritual practice.
If you look at @t2andreo’s comments above (post number 21) the problem has nothing to do with spirituality. It is because the cathedral regulations clearly state that to qualify for the compostela, an individual must walk the last 100 kms him or herself and have two stamps a day. And it has to be an individual, not a team, that covers those 100 kms.

Red Bull surely knows the rules, so I assume they have worked something out with the cathedral authorities. I would be surprised if the runners will get a compostela, but perhaps some kind of completion certificate as t2 suggested.
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
I'd love to know how they've calculated their elevation gains. Using standard accumulator methodology (adding up the numerical intervals on Gronze's profiles ;)) I make it iro 1700 metres between Oviedo & Pola de Allende. I did wonder if they'd used Boyd and subtracted the accumulated descents but that would mean that even if they ran up & down from Everest Base Camp the elevation gain would be zero. A possible factor is that the runners will be sticking to the roads, thereby avoiding all those hilarious yellow-arrowed descents into arroyos and the subsequent climb back to the road.

The standard elevation of Oviedo is given as 232m above Datum, SdC's is 260m. Elevation gain on the Primitivo 28m anybody?
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Using standard accumulator methodology (adding up the numerical intervals on Gronze's profiles ;)) I make it iro 1700 metres between Oviedo & Pola de Allende.

I am always confounded by elevation gain. When I was translating Ender’s Olvidado guide into English (where there is also a lot of ups and downs), the range of possible elevation gain was ridiculously wide-ranging. I basically gave up on trying to provide good information.

Gronze seems to fall right in the middle between Red Bull’s lowball and some of the posts I’ve seen on the forum which talk about a 1,000 m ascent in one day.
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
Pola to the Puerto del Palo is just about a 600m straight up-hill slog. If you start in Borres and add in the climb from there to the Alto de Lavadoira (150m) and that bump after Montefurado (100m) and maybe the climb up through Lago (100m) before the final breath recovering descent to Berducedo you're getting close to 1000m of ascent in one day. Then again Borres sits at 650m, Berducedo at 900m. Total ascent 250m o_O

I tend to measure elevation gain in tintos, Borres to Berducedo was a whole bottle day....
 

mazzarina

New Member
Past OR future Camino
past: Frances, St Jean Pied de Port-Burgos
future: Primitivo
If you look at @t2andreo’s comments above (post number 21) the problem has nothing to do with spirituality. It is because the cathedral regulations clearly state that to qualify for the compostela, an individual must walk the last 100 kms him or herself and have two stamps a day. And it has to be an individual, not a team, that covers those 100 kms.

Red Bull surely knows the rules, so I assume they have worked something out with the cathedral authorities. I would be surprised if the runners will get a compostela, but perhaps some kind of completion certificate as t2 suggested.
Indeed, sure, but individual members of the teams will be completing the full distance, so as long as they have a system for their twice-a-day sello (they're bound to; probably at the time checks), then they should qualify.
 

mazzarina

New Member
Past OR future Camino
past: Frances, St Jean Pied de Port-Burgos
future: Primitivo
It's a Relay race according to Red Bull. Relay teams don't all run together. Perhaps all the runners will run together from Lugo. And, as the rule is that Pilgrims collect two stamps per day from Lugo they'll not need many stamps 'cos they're planning to run it in one day
Ooh, thanks - much less fun as a relay! I'm not about to register, though ;-) Think I prefer your measurement-by-tintos approach...
 
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Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
It would be nice to think that many of the participants will, in the process, fully embrace the spirit of the camino and get something from it as individuals. From its inception though, the event has a single purpose: to advertise red bull and to this end, the company is shamelessly exploiting 'the camino' for profit. That is just this person's cranky and cynical view of course, and from some of the posts above I expect many will disagree..
 
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Jyrki Wahlstedt

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Reading a bit more from the website, there is one bit of information that is really useful for the discussion about how much elevation gain there is on the Primitivo. I’ve read posts here on the forum describing an ascent of 1000 m in a day (much like SJPP to Roncesvalles), which always seemed very high to me.

I’m fairly confident Red Bull got it right for their racers. And here is what they found

In the first 100 kms, Oviedo to Pola de Allende, total elevation gain 659 m
Pola to Lugo, total elevation gain 689 m
Lugo to Santiago , total elevation gain 425 m

That comes out to a total elevation gain of about 1800 m over about 320 km. There is certainly a lot of up and down on this beautiful camino, but we should tone down the hype!
That might be the difference between lowest and highest point of the leg. I very much doubt that it's the total elevation gain, as e.g. from Grado to La Espina my equipment recorded 1000+ metres, and from Oviedo to Santiago ~7500 …
 

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