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Mágina Ultra Trail

18-Apr-2020 Cambil, Jaén, Spain


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Trail Race Race Terrain
83KM / 51Miles
1 Day

Alternate Distances: 45KM/28M 24KM/15M 10KM/6M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

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Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Mágina Ultra Trail

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08:48 05-05-19

Ultra Magina Top Trail 2019 entailed 'hitting the wall' three times! Let me explain... the Spanish describe certain mountains as 'walls' and the 80km, 4,500m+- Ultra Magina route includes 3 major climbs.
Rolling out of the Jaen town of Cambil at 6:00am, the 100 or so of us runners, enjoyed a pre-dawn start of 300m of road (the last we would hit until the final 400m of the race) before hitting rolling trail and the mountains started for proper as we headed into the Sierra Magina Natural Park as dawn struck.
First light - that magical time in the mountains - saw most of us mid-packers hitting the first proper climb onto Pena Jaen. Rising to 2147m, the climb was relatively steady and gentle on a hiker's path, through the rocks. Passing the third checkpoint, the field was thinning as the crossed more rocky and technical terrain with spectacular early morning views toward the distant snow-capped Sierra Nevada peaks, before descending via the 'Rope of the Miracle'. Loose translation here...but I now understand what a miracle this is as we hit 3km of scree and a roughly marked zig-zagging track. Not being the bravest, and never having encountered anything like this before, my English heart missed several beats and I'd be lying if I didn't think about retiring at the next checkpoint at just 25km in!
Rallying it was time to stock up and press on with the Vkm up Pico Magina (2167m) and the highest point in Jaen province. The path started off rocky, zig-zagging over mountain streams as we slowly clambered up, crossing pasture, the final ascent started on the steepest and most difficult loose scree terrain. By this time, the first marathon runners, were catching us ultra runners. While it was busier on route, their faster pace and cheery calls, were welcome on course.
With a few calls down to watch out for falling stone, the VKm was mastered - 2 walls down!
The route was now roughly marked across the ridge-top, and off trail to the Refugio Miramundos and the fourth checkpoint. Despite it being a warm spring day (20C+) it was time to keep moving as a keen wind blew across the high slopes with Jaen spread out at our feet. Picking up a marked hiking path, the route traversed the ridge before descending on a rocky, moderately technical path onto pasture and gorgeous rolling trail.
A hot and undulating dirt road, brought us into Los Puertos, and the half way point. Drop bag time! Being such an isolated route, all of the aid stations are outdoors affairs but well managed and well-stocked with water, cola, isotonic, fruit, chorizo, and ham sandwiches. Supplies are basic and runners are rightly expected to be self-supportive.
Onwards with mainly runnable jeep trail to Fuenmayor, before a tough but short climb through traditional Andalucian Holm oaks. Opening out onto sunbaked single track, the mid afternoon sun was beating down and even the Spanish runners commented on the heat.
Beautiful runnable track - blessed after the mountain trudges - took us to Bercho and the checkpoint before the last 'wall' of the day. Despite only going from a mere 1130m to 2036m (!) over 8km (so no Vkm here!), it was tough! The accumulated ascent already in the legs was taking its toll on everyone, and with no defined path, just tape and flags to guide us, progress seemed slow. The masts of Almaden just didn't seem to get any closer, and the temperature varied from hot sun to cool gusts of wind as we traversed exposed ridges following an old fence line up to the heavens.
Finally, alongside the masts the route started to descend, and what a descend it was as flags took us across loose, cambered soil and rock, down and across the mountain's belly, high up. One false move here, and all would not be well!
And I suspect this is why, the race organizers were strictly enforcing cut off times, this descent would have been treacherous after dusk.
Finally, reaching the checkpoint of Los Puertos again, but this time at 60km, the three walls were conquered. It was just a matter of rolling in the remaining 20km to the finish.
Descending through pasture and woodland, the trail was easy running before the route took us onto jeep track and back onto single track heading downhill through pine woodland and into the Magina Natural Park visitors centre we'd headed through on our way out earlier in the morning.
The final 10 or so km back to Cambil followed a similar route to the one we'd started on, although very different in daylight as it threaded through woodland, olive groves, on track and trail. For those still able, this was a rolling run home.
Eventually Cambil and the finish line came into sight, as the last 400m took runners onto road and over the timing mats.
All in all a spectacular and well organised race. Runners are treated to a fabulous race experience with chip timing, all the razzmatazz of a supported start/ finish, showers, hot food and drinks...all included in the modest entry fee.
Do not underestimate the challenge of this race however, it's extreme, tough, has masses of positive gain, is exposed and technical. But if you want a proper mountain race with zilch tarmac, that is isolated, difficult, off-grid, and with breathtaking views then look no further.

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