The Azores islands are considered to be one of the great secrets kept on earth. Their location, which for a long time made them not easy to reach, not calling many attentions, was also responsible for keeping this piece of the Atlantic unexplored.
The Archipelago of the Azores was selected as the second best islands in the world for Sustainable Tourism by National Geographic Traveller. The Azores are indeed the perfect destination for someone who wants a lifetime experience surrounded by living elements – unexplored nature.
The archipelago has nine islands: São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores e Corvo – locals say each one of them a whole life might not be enough to get to know all of the corners of each of them.
The azores maritime climate is temperate – it can vary from 16º (60º) in Winter to 26º (79º) in Summer. The mild temperature of the sea is influenced by Atlantic sea currents – it goes from 16ºC to 22ºC. In December the average temperature is 15ºC and humidity rounds 70%.
On an average day, there are 3 to 4 hours of daylight in Winter and 7 to 8 hours in Summer. Rain periods are frequent throughout the year, though probabilities are higher in winter. There are some climate changes in short periods of time: during the day, sun, wind, rain may appear alternatively or even together.
EPIC Trail Run Azores is a trail race that takes place on the biggest island of the archipelago: São Miguel - with 64,7 km in length, 8 to 15 km width and 140.000 inhabitants. The altimetric profile is shaped by the three main mountain ranges: Tronqueira Mountain; Fogo mountain and sete Cidades mountain – East/West direction, separated by a low platform named Picos area, between the last to mountains.
In this fourth edition the race has an almost totally renewed route with East - West direction privileging the most mountainous and challenging region of the island.
The volcanoes were shaped not only by the long and steep climbs but also by the steep descends that shape our race trek. – surrounded by green fields inhabited by the typical black and white cows.
This challenge will put you on proof physically and technically. The race follows a route that connects two of the three most iconic lakes of the island, the Furnas lake and the Fogo lake, which are ancient extinct volcanoes.
The main race - EPIC120 - begins in Vila do Nordeste, overlooking the highest point of the island, Pico da Vara with 1103m of maximum altitude, where the race is headed, following the Graminhais plateau.
Then the descent of this massif takes us to the half-slope of the volcano, towards Faial da Terra, which is characterized by the creek of the same name. It follows the ascent to the Bodes Peak and the descent to the Village of Povoação, which owes its name to the fact that it was where the conquerors and the first settlement of the island landed.
Towards the east, the race passes through the footpath of the Agrião and follows to the Ribeira Quente with passage by the creek of the same name and then going up towards the Village of Furnas.
The Furnas valley is actually the crater of a volcano that fell asleep in 1630, the date of the last eruption. Since then, it has served as a shelter to the village of Furnas, Povoação county. This zone is located in one of the three active central volcanoes of the island of São Miguel. Volcanism is present in all the small details of the life of this small town, which is one of the largest hydropolis in the world, due to the large number of hot springs and water courses. However the most popular use among visitors coming to Furnas is undoubtedly the thermal bath. The athletes can feel in their own feet the hot water coming from a stream located next to the Pool of Dona Beija.
The passage through the Furnas Lagoon is a privileged place to glimpse abundant volcanic manifestations fumaroles and boilers of boiling waters. On the banks of this lagoon, and due to the fervent volcanic waters that heat the soil, the traditional cooked of the Furnas are made, under the earth with the heat of these volcanic manifestations. This event could not fail to pass the recent walkways and over this dazzling natural spectacle.
Passing through the Congro Lagoon and next to the Dark Mountain, the race continues towards the Serra de Agua de Pau in the volcanic massif of Fogo, classified as a Regional Natural Reserve since 1974. The highest elevation in the area is Pico da Barrosa, with a maximum elevation of 974m , and is one of the highlights, from where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Fogo Lagoon, with the city of Ribeira Grande to the north, and on the southern slope, the islet of Vila Franca do Campo and the village of Água de Pau. From this point you can also see the major city of the island, Ponta Delgada, which recently, in 2008, had its coast renewed and expanded with the "Portas do Mar”.
Passages along the rails of the water route and Janela do Inferno, the race follows to the sea and the beach of Água d'Alto, last supply before the goal that is located in the Açor Arena Sports Hall in Vila Franca do Campo, that was the first capital of the island of São Miguel. The last difficulty of the athletes will be the passage by the pedestrian route of the 24 fábricas da Luz” (4 factories of Light).
Having made the general presentation of the scenario surrounding this great event, the organization aims above all, that in addition to being competitive and challenging, this race is a true experience for the senses and discovery of this fantastic green island.
Epic Trail Azores will have 4 competitive events – one of them can be made as a leisure event in trekking mode, the EPIC15.
- EPIC120 – Ultra Trail Endurance category– Starting at Nordeste village and finishing at Açor Arena sports hall in Vila Franca do Campo – 120.6km e 5770m D+
- EPIC60 – Ultra Trail category - – Starting at Furnas village and finishing at Açor Arena sports hall in Vila Franca do Campo – 63kms e 3380mD+
- EPIC30 – Trail category- Starting at Água de Pau village and finishing at Açor Arena sports hall in Vila Franca do Campo – 34.3km e 2060mD+
- EPIC15 – Light Trail category- Starting at Água de Pau village and finishing at Açor Arena sports hall in Vila Franca do Campo – 16.3km e 784mD+