The event was born out of the will of Dr. Carlos Martins, president of the Associação Portas do Mar (APM), as a way of publicizing the infrastructure recently created in the center of the capital city of the Azores, Ponta Delgada.
It was in the year 2015 that the first races of Trail Run are organized on the island of São Miguel, although in the Azores some races have been organized on the island of Faial with the Azores Trail Run. The races at this time follow the evolution of the local athletes and are based on distances in the trail category, below the marathon distance.
The geographic potential, beauty, risk and challenges of the island of São Miguel gave the name to this atlantic race, the EPIC Trail Run Azores.
The EPIC has its origin in a partnership between the organizing entity the APM and the Clube Açoriano de Todo o Terreno e Turismo (CATTT) with the support of the Clube Desportivo Metralhas (CDM), which is the result of some organizational experience of other events are responsible for race direction, with Alcino Pires (2015) and Bruno Fernandes (2016 and 2017). In 2018 the technical direction becomes the responsibility of the Clube Morcegos Trail, and the race direction is assumed by Luis Onça.
1st edition - 2015
This edition took place in 2 stages, with a night race on 10 October, the EPIC15, and the main race, EPIC28, on 11 October. The EPIC15 took place in the Forest Park of Pinhal da Paz and surroundings. The EPIC28 departed at Pico da Barrosa and arrived at Portas do Mar. On the 10th october, an EPICtrailTrek was organized, with a circular route, on the Fogo Lagoon railroad in the municipality of Vila Franca do Campo.
This edition had the participation of about 80 athletes. Had as invited athlete the ultra marathonist João Colaço.
2nd edition - 2016
For the 2nd edition, the race grew in distance and difficulty. There were 2 races and the EPICtrailTrek. On October 15, the ultra race of the EPIC60 departed from Vila Franca do Campo, next to the Açor Arena pavilion with the main checkpoint set up at the departure point of the EPIC30, the town of Água de Pau. The next day the EPIC caravan joined again in Água de Pau to EPICaminhada (EPICtrailTrek), in a walk of about 10kms with the inauguration of the new trail developed by the Municipal Council of Lagoa.
This edition had the participation of about 80 athletes.
edition - 2017
This was the EPIC statement in the national panorama of the sport. As the organization changed the date of the race for December and this month was the date of the final of the Portuguese Cup in the trail distance by the Association of Trail Running Portugal (ATRP), contacts were initiated with the regional government. to bring the best national athletes to the Azores to compete in this 1st edition of the cup final.
It was in this edition that EPIC grew to the 3-digit category to an Ultra Trail Endurance event race, the EPIC100. This race started on December 1st at Lagoa das 7 Cidades at 00h00. For the Portuguese Cup, the EPIC40_ATRP and the EPIC40_Open ( athletes non-finalists in the cup) race, the start was set at Água d'Alto beach in the Pestana Bahia Praia Hotel, in the municipality of Vila Franca do Campo. At 10:30 am, the EPIC15 started at the Cerrado dos Bezerros Forest Park. All the arrivals were concentrated in the idyllic Furnas Lagoon, next to the furnace boilers.
This edition had the participation of about 500 athletes and had as invited athlete the international Salomon athlete Armando Teixeira.
4th edition - 2018
The 2018 edition, unlike the previous edition, was marked by a 180º in the course definition, starting at Vila do Nordeste from East to West towards Açor Arena Sport Center at Vila Franca do Campo.
The weather conditions that were felt on the day of the race were excellent, which allowed the athletes to enjoy all the surroundings and the stunning landscapes of the island of São Miguel. recorded in memory were the race starts of the EPIC120 in Vila do Nordeste, the human frame of the EPIC30 and EPIC15 start at Agua de Pau village, the sunrise in the Salto da Inglesa and PAC6 - Castelo Branco and also the endless views of the island from Pico da Barrosa (peak).
It was the confirmation of a +100k EPIC race with more than 70 enrolled in EPIC120, close to 105 athletes in EPIC60, 185 athletes in EPIC30 and 185 in EPIC15, for a total about 540 souls and 18 nationalities.
For future memory stands the regist of 15h12 made by Bruno Dantas, an athlete from Madeira island in the EPIC120.
5th edition - 2019
In this edition the event organization continued the work of last edition. The courses were maintained, with the exception of the queen event which went from 120 to 110 km, with minor changes in the other events and the event's base was now entirely in the Açor Arena pavilion in Vila Franca do Campo.
In this edition the number of registered athletes exceeded all the best expectations, 709 registrations were registered, with 86 foreign athletes of 21 nationalities. 118 athletes in EPIC110, 113 in EPIC60, 230 for EPIC30 and 248 in EPIC15.
Highlight at EPIC110 for the victory of Frenchman Patrick Bohard of Team Hoka France with 12h56min and the renewal of the title for local athlete Vera Oliveira from CD Metralhas. In EPIC60 the victory went to the Spanish Basque athlete, Zigor Iturrieta with 06h16min and the French athlete Manon Bohard 3rd of the general classification. For EPIC30, the winners were Helder Pereira and Joana Esperançaso and in EPIC15, the Spanish Nicolás Garrido and Célia Neto.
2020 Edition - canceled due to the Covid19 pandemic
6th edition - 2021
The best EPIC in history. This edition grew under the stigma of the pandemic and the organization feared that due to some more restrictive measures, athletes could not enroll in the competition. This did not happen and the expectations of the organization were exceeded.
Restrictive measures to prevent the pandemic were adopted, in the finish zone and in the PACs (supplies) which were transmitted and well accepted by the athletes and the race took place within normal limits.
As in 2019, the focus was on the continuity of the routes, with the need to change only the EPIC110 route due to the partial closure of the “Pico da Vara” trail. Thus, the start was given in front of the church of Santo “António Nordestinho” with the usual fire works marking this race. Another important change was the departure of the EPIC60, which took place in the geisers of “Vila das Furnas”, among the scalding water geysers in an incredible setting.
The number of athletes was surpassed, and we reached 821 entries distributed as follows: EPIC110 – 85; EPIC60 - 131; EPIC30 - 271; EPIC15 – 334 with 566 men and 255 women in the competition. 21 nationalities were represented among the 77 foreign athletes. From mainland Portugal we had 294 athletes and from Madeira 22. With the exception of Corvo island, all the Azores islands were represented in competition, with São Miguel bringing 351 athletes and 74 athletes from the other islands.
As for the results, in the EPIC110 men's race the victory was disputed until the last kilometers, Pedro Fernandes (Monsanto Running Team) won in the woman´s competition the French Lucie Jamsin (Team MAC Sport) take the victory with a route record. In EPIC60 race, the men's victory went to North American Zachary Sonoga, beating the race record for 2 minutes, the women's former world champion by Spain, Teresa Nimes Perez, won. For the EPIC30, the victory smiled for the national trail running champion Hélio Fumo (Runners do Demo) with a track record with less 25 minutes than the previous record, in the women's category, France's Cecile Buffard won, taking 5 minutes off the race record. The shortest competition, EPIC15, was won in the men's by the local athlete Márcio Azevedo (Clube Operário Desportivo) with a race record and by the also local athlete, Joana Oliveira (Juventude Ilha Verde – trail).
7th edition - 2022
This edition of EPIC Azores by Decathlon was epic in its own way, maybe too much! The thousand of participants was exceeded, which was an expectation of the organization and which was confirmed, but the weather conditions, on the 2 days of the event, did not make life easy for anyone.
Because of the wind, rain and cold, which together are not common in the region, the race has undergone several adaptations. At the start, the EPIC110 and EPIC60 races had its course adapted from PAC6 Areeiro, having been later confirmed to have been a right decision, given the exposure of the places and the difficulty of access. The start of EPIC110 had to be moved to the sport pavillion of EB/S do Nordeste, having managed to maintain the traditional fireworks. The departure of the EPIC30 and EPIC15 was adapted, since the wind did not allow the assembly of the structures.
With all the races on the move, the organization took the decision, at 3:30 pm, to neutralize the race from the PAC7 Lagoa do Fogo, given the yellow alert issued and having verified that the conditions tended to get worse and the night would bring many challenges for organization and athletes. It was a difficult decision, but the most sensible and accepted by the athletes. A rescue operation was activated for athletes from PAC5 to PAC7, namely athletes from EPIC110. Of the 101 that started, 22 finished.
The number of confirmed athletes in this edition was largely surpassed, having reached 1111 athletes in the 4 distances, surpassing the 821 subscribers of 2021. EPIC110 – 105; EPIC60 – 201; EPIC30 – 338; EPIC15 – 467. We had, again, 21 nationalities and 88 foreign athletes. There were 413 athletes from the Azores region and 27 from Madeira. The great increase in athletes was in the “Mainland” contingent with 583 athletes, many companions, groups of teams and athletes repeating the race.
In the classification, the EPIC110 was the event that had the most DNFs. The male winner was César Duarte from Boavista FC Trail with 14h55 and in the female sector we had 2 finalists, the winner Fátima Buchas from Sharish Gin/Piranhas do Alqueva with 17h18, followed by the winner of the “Azores 100 Milhas”, Margarida Bagão (GDC Sines and Algarve). At EPIC60 the winners were Vitor Cruz (FC Penafiel) and Célia Neto (Olímpico Vianense). For the EPIC30 the highest places on the podium were to Ricardo André (Sharish Gin/Piranhas do Alqueva) and Susana Echeverria (Saca Trilhos Anadia). In the shorter race, the EPIC15, the champions were Eugénio Medeiros (CD Vila Franca), home athlete, and Margarida Pestana (Clube Desportivo de Espite), with this athlete recording the only record of this edition with 1h28.
This EPIC left many marks… starting with the teachings that nature gave us, the need to “professionalize” and continue to evolve in the quality of the event and confirmation of the projection that the Trail Run has in the Azores destination. The EPIC is one of the major sport events in the region and in Portugal. Why not think internationally? We count on everyone to continue to grow.