Andorra’s Ultra Trail Vallnord
A look at the remote Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord, a European ultra-racing gem.
The entire country of Andorra is only 181 square miles. But this landlocked nation between Spain and France feels almost more vertical than horizontal, with 72 soaring Pyrenean peaks and an average elevation of 6,550 feet. The best way to experience Andorra’s rugged landscape is by running in the annual Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord. It features four major races: Ronda del Cims (105.6 miles), Mític (69.6 miles), Celestrail (51.6 miles) and Marató del Cims (26.2 miles), plus the 10K Solidaritrail. Each event is designed with a looped course to give runners an all-encompassing view of the countryside. But the vistas come with a generous dose of sweat effort—each race has a brutal amount of vertical gain. The 170K Ronda del Cims, which circumnavigates the entire country, tops them all, with more than 44,000 feet of climbing and descending. (The 2016 Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord is scheduled for July 14–17.)