The Grancanarian runner makes his debut in the competition as the runner-up in the male category ahead of stars like Luca Papi or Marco Gubert
Luca Papi finishes his eighth 360 in third position in the male category, while the relay team of Esteban García and Francisco Estévez achieves victory in this category
Accompanied by the ringing of bells from his teammates at the Kabrankeros Sports Club, local José Bordón stopped the stopwatch at the finish line of the 360º The Challenge Gran Canaria in Tejeda in 61 hours, six minutes, and 36 seconds. This achievement earned him the title of runner-up in the male category and third place overall in his debut in this race. He finished behind the Romanian Claudiu Beletoui —who arrived with a lead of four hours and 40 minutes— and the Frenchwoman Claire Bannwarth, who secured second place overall by crossing the finish line two and a half hours earlier.
Such was the energy provided by his teammates in Tejeda that Bordón, after 269 kilometers of racing and over 14,000 meters of elevation gain in his legs, dared to dance Joseph Fonseca’s El caballito de palo and even received a celebratory toss from his friends, including his teammate Javier Blanco, who had initially led the race but was forced to abandon it on Thursday at noon.
“I’m going to eat a typical palmera from Tejeda that I already have reserved, and I’m going to try to have a shower without crying because my arms are scraped,” admitted the 36-year-old runner from Ingenio after his first 360.
“I started calmly, tested myself, and felt comfortable… and here we are”, he explained with a smile that accompanied him in many moments of the race. Despite admitting that this result was not in his mind before starting the competition, once it begins, the terrain puts each participant in their place. “The surprise came when I was climbing to Acusa, and I found myself surrounded by very strong people. That’s when I thought, I don’t know how long I’m going to last… but based on how I felt, I was doing well to keep up with them,” he emphasized.
Bordón pointed out that, for him, one of the keys to this race was the competition during the night, for which he had prepared by training to control his tolerance for lack of rest. Like the top two finishers, he had also not slept during the day and a half he was competing, although he admitted that this made him suffer on Friday morning. “It was the only moment of suffering; I was a bit beaten from lack of sleep, but it went away as soon as the caffeine took effect.”
Finally, he thanked his friends, family, and partner who accompanied him throughout the race. “They have been with me and have been sending me messages of encouragement at all times,” concluded Bordón, the first Canarian to complete one of the most demanding international ultra-trail running events this year, as evidenced by the fact that out of the 84 runners who started, 59 have abandoned the race (55 male athletes, two female athletes, and two relay runners).
Esteban García and Francisco Estévez win the relay category
This Saturday, the relay composed of Canarians Esteban García and Francisco Estévez also crossed the finish line. The two Canarian athletes claimed victory in this category, making its debut this year in the 360, with a time of 75 hours, nine minutes, and 44 seconds. The other relay, consisting of Iker Karrera and Zigor Iturrieta, could not finish the race, as Iturrieta withdrew from the competition after Karrera left the race on the first day at Cercados de Espino, around kilometer 100 of the route.
The competition continues as, by noon on Saturday —aside from the relay— eight runners have crossed the finish line, leaving 15 athletes who have until 2:00 PM on Sunday to reach Tejeda. On Saturday at 3:18 AM, Italian Luca Papi completed his eighth 360º The Challenge Gran Canaria, the only finisher in all editions held, finishing third in the male category in 66 hours, 18 minutes, and 11 seconds in 2023. In the morning, the French runners Sylvain Chapays (fourth male with 71 hours, 45 minutes, and 46 seconds, first time finishing this race) and Stephane Higueret (fifth male with 72 hours, 46 minutes, and 28 seconds in the fifth time finishing this race), the Bulgarian Pirin Galov (sixth male with 73 hours, 32 minutes, and 3 seconds, third 360 completed), and the Italian Marco Gubert (seventh male with 74 hours, 21 minutes, and 2 seconds, three times finisher) also finished.
In the women’s category, Slovakian Soňa Kopčoková remains in second place —about 40 kilometers from the finish line at noon on Saturday towards the Fontanales life base— and Hungarian Szilvia Lubics, who is about 60 kilometers from the finish.
Meanwhile, in the men’s category, it is expected that the locals Ignacio García del Castillo, Alfredo Vila, Eduardo Falcón, and Yeray Rodríguez will arrive in Tejeda during Saturday afternoon, along with the Irishman Eoin Keith, Italians Giancarlo Callisardi and Vittorio Bienvenuti, and British Jonathan Burnhams. Following them, still in the race, are Raúl González, Juan González, Alberto Mansilla, Attila Kele, and Marco Antonio Martínez. The GPS position of each participant still in the race can be tracked through the website https://chronorace.tracktherace.com/es/eventos-deportivos/trail-running/360-the-challenge-gran-canaria/carrera. Additionally, daily updates of the race are published on the social media channels of 360º The Challenge Gran Canaria.
The 360º The Challenge Gran Canaria is organized by Arista Eventos and is sponsored by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria through Turismo de Gran Canaria and Gran Canaria Isla Europea del Deporte, the Government of the Canary Islands with Promotur – Islas Canarias, Tejeda City Council, and Fred. Olsen Express; with the collaboration of Lorenzo González Automoción, Gofio La Piña, Inerza, and Provital.