If there is one benchmark event ofthe ultra-trail world tourin the Canary Islands, without a doubt it has to be the Transgrancanaria HG. Deserving of its fame, this is one of the most demanding competitions on the international calendar, bringing together professionals and ultra-trail lovers of the highest level every year, such as Pau Capell, Luca Manfredi, Tófol Castanyer, Luca Papi, Magdalena Laczak or Claudia Tremps.
Since 2003, the trial has crossed the island of Gran Canaria– nearly half of the territory of which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve - from north to south and coast to coast. There are eight different modalities and the jewel in the crown of the event, the 126-km Classic, runs through impressive landscape and picturesque villages for 126 kilometres, on a route with a cumulative elevation gain of 6,919 metres.
The most extreme runners face heart-stopping elevation gains in the Vertical Kilometer race, ‘El Gigante’, and enthusiasts of hiking, family sports or running on tarmac a few times a week can find races designed for them in the remaining distances, which range from 15 to 62 kilometres.
In the words of the Gran Canarian writer Domingo Doreste Fray Lesco: “Gran Canaria is a miniature continent”. Of course it is. If you don’t believe it, ask runners like Pau Capell, Pablo Villa or Ragna Debats, who bear witness to the fact that running in a unique setting, silhouetted by volcanic reliefs and dotted with indigenous flora, is priceless.
They do so championing the defining principle of the Transgrancanaria HG: a profound respect for nature and for not disturbing the everyday life of the inhabitants of the municipalities the itinerary runs through. Because this competition is not only an enticement to practise sports in nature, it is also a transmitter of knowledge and respect for environmental and cultural values.
Puerto de Las Nieves, the pine forest of Tamadaba, Artenara, Fontanales or Valleseco are some of the places around the island the race runs through. And emblematic hiking trails like the one that connectsTeror and Tejeda, or the mythical paso de la Plata, greet the runners, helping them forget the titanic effort a trial of this kind involves, for a few seconds at least.
Running for the pleasure of running is a reward in itself, but it is absolutely priceless when you cross the finish line feeling the warmth of Maspalomas beach and admiring its imposing lighthouse, built by Juan de León y Castillo in 1890. Because the operations centre of the Transgrancanaria HG lies in the southern municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, one of the warmest places on the island and where all the competition’s running modalities finish.
Classic 126 KM
Would you like to discover the most emblematic spots in Gran Canaria on foot and in under 30 hours? This is your trial.
With a positive elevation gain of 6,919 metres and a distance of 126 kilometres, the Classic is perfect for people with experience in ultra-endurance races who also love nature and adventure. The route, traced from north to south, passes through famous places in Gran Canaria like Roque Nublo, Cruz de Tejeda or Garañón.
Starting at the capital’s beach of Playa de Las Canteras, the jewel in the crown of the Transgrancanaria HG forms part of the Spartan Trail World Championship. In 2020, moreover, it was part of the Spain Ultra Cup alongside six other well-known races in our country, like Tenerife’s Santa Cruz Extreme, Penyagolosa Trails or the Gran Trail de Peñalara, among others.
62 KM Advanced
Departing from one of the wildest areas of the island, Artenara, with a total distance of 62 kilometres and a positive elevation gain of 2,765 m. The perfect cocktail for the brave with high endurance levels and experience in long-distance mountain races.
Maratón 43 KM
A positive elevation gain of 1,355 m. in one of the swiftest races on the national scene, perfect for anyone who chooses to train a few times a week on tarmac and has experience in somewhat demanding hiking, in physical terms.
Starter 26 KM
Without a doubt the perfect modality for beginners in this type of races, a route with 562 m. of positive elevation gain and 1,469 m. of negative elevation, and a predominance of downhill stretches, linking Tunte to Maspalomas.
Promo/ Youth / Family Trans 15 KM
Transgrancanaria HG aims to encourage family sports, committing to amateur runners and offering an interesting route over short distances for sprinters. The 15-kilometre modality is available for all these categories, leaving from Ayaguares with a positive elevation gain of 238 m.
In 2022, Transgrancanaria HG celebrated its 20th anniversary with the creation of the Vertical Kilometer race ‘El Gigante’: 1,130 m. of positive elevation gain over 5.7 kilometresrunning through the mountains of Tamadaba, one of the most spectacular partsof Gran Canaria.
This trial uses the time trial start system, with staggered individual starts and limited numbers of runners;undoubtedly, the demanding nature of ‘El Gigante’ cannot be contested, but neither can the enjoyment of indelible views of this area of the island.
The race leaves from the neighbourhood of San Pedro and ends at the Tamadaba pine forest, returning to what was for years the setting for the departure point of the Transgrancanaria HG: Agaete.