Eye for an Eye! Interview with the Race Director of the Pyrenees Stage Run 2018!

There is one person that always gets me into trouble. He’s not a bad guy, it’s just that he attracts problems without even knowing it! He is a good friend I’ve made a couple of years ago when I was younger and doing my first steps into mountain running. Well, Dimitrios Troupis has this gift of always being excited about everything that has to do with trail-running or mountain running or other outdoor activities. Funny thing is that you’ll never understand were you have got yourself into until you’re in the middle of an ultra-trail race exhausted, dehydrated, lost or beaten by the weather! It’s not his intention, I know that, it’s just that, sometimes, I really wish I could pay him back. An eye for an eye! 


So, I started searching for great ideas, things that would be pretty on the outside but devilish on the inside. It took me only a few minutes to come up with a Machiavellian plan and I knew the perfect man for this job! His name was Tomàs Llorens Marès, race director of the Pyrenees Stage Run. Well, I had never met this guy in close but he had very good recommendations and a reputation adequate for my case! Although he was thousands of miles away he soon realized my intentions for my friend Dimitrios Troupis. In fact, he offered to explain to me all the “juicy” details of his work!



Hello, Mr. Tomàs Llorens Marès and welcome to this unusual interview. On behalf of Advendure and all the Greek mountain running community I would like to ask you to be extremely discreet about this conversation. Everyone must think that what is about to happen is going to be an accident!


[Advendure]: So tell me, please, is my friend Dimitrios going to cry in the end? I saw the trailer of your race and everyone is crying the last day when they cross the finish line in Salardu! Why is this happening, can you explain this to me? Is my friend Dimitrios Troupis going to experience unprecedented, agonizing pain?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: Absolutely, our race has something inside that makes every person cry when they cross the finish line… You may not know whether it is from pain or emotion, but it really gets into your bones. Crossing the finish line after 7 days of effort, amazing landscapes and the best company is something that you can’t understand until you feel it yourself.




[Advendure]: Every crime has its murder weapon, the most suitable equipment for getting the job done! In our case, we’re talking about one week on the Pyrenees Mountains that involves running or hiking some very difficult routes! This is not just “one” race but a series of races, seven days in a row! Can you tell us, exactly, what equipment are we going to need, head to toe, in order to get the job done?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: Well, you will need exactly what you use for a one-day race, because we carry your complete luggage from the start to the finish line each day. The mandatory equipment is the usual: technical gear to face bad weather conditions, drinking water, rescue blanket, whistle, food reserve (500 calories) in case of emergency… The main difference is that as a team you have to carry a GPS device with the track of the stage, the race is marked with ribbons, however, we believe that GPS watches are a great tool to make us feel really safe in the mountains and that’s why it is mandatory equipment (one per team). We believe that with this equipment you are all set to commit your biggest crime!


[Advendure]: Are you working by yourself or do you have a partner? Race registrations are only allowed to teams of two or three persons, so I can guess you are not alone. Would you tell us more about the ones helping you while the PSR lasts? What does that mean to you, to have a group of people by your side all these days in order to have everything ready and everyone happy?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: It’s two of us working the whole year to make the PSR happen every September, Jordi Vissi and me. However, during the race we need a much larger team, we actually are 35 members of the staff team, working in order to carry the luggage from one place to another, mark and unmark the route, perform controls at difficult and high cols, set the food stations… The most important thing with the staff team is that they are a part of the adventure too, they make a relationship with the runners and feel the race the same way the runners, that’s why at the end we are a big family.


[Advendure]: Who is the Master-Mind behind the Pyrenees Stage Run? Actually, how did everything begin? Clearly, team-stage races are not very popular so what did you have in mind when you were trying to organize a new event like this one?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: As I said, Jordi and I are the organizers of the PSR, we are very passionate about trail running and we love the Pyrenees, so we just followed the idea of the archifamous Transalpine-Run and make it happen but in the Pyrenees. We also love organizing and make the people feel like they are doing something very special, and that’s what the PSR is about: emotions, adventure, challenge, breathtaking landscapes… It’s a unique race for unique runners!


[Advendure]: There is no way a project like the PSR to be a piece of cake for those trying to make it happen for the first time. How easy was it for you? What was the major difficulty that you have encountered as the race director of this event?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: As you said we started from zero, and it was not easy to contact all the towns and present them our huge project, we had to look for the best dates, etc. The route was pretty clear, but convincing, and contacting all the institutions and looking for the best places to stay was really difficult. Now we have it clear, and the towns are really happy with the race so it’s much easier to make it happen after these two years.


[Advendure]: What was the main reason for doing a seven stage race instead of a single one of 250 kilometers and 15.000 meters of elevation gain on the Pyrenees? For instance, Tor Des Geants is a well-known race that attracts hundreds of runners each year, despite being harder, in numbers (330 kilometers & 24.000 meters of elevation gain), than the Pyrenees Stage Run.

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: We want the participants to breath the Pyrenees, and the only way to truly do that is in stages. We don’t want the runners to run during the night so they don’t see the landscapes and finish completely exhausted after 240K. We want them to enjoy the route, to get to know other runners, volunteers during the every-night dinner and the people in the Pyrenees. It’s actually a whole experience, a holidays in the Pyrenees that you will never forget, and we are sure that the best way to do this is with a stage-race.


[Advendure]: The Pyrenees are indeed a great spectacle but if you don’t know where to look they’re just rocks and stones and mountains. So which are your favorite parts on this seven-day trip that no one should miss?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: The PSR is a journey in which you run from east to west feeling the changes in vegetation, and type of rock, every day wilder as you enter the heart of the Pyrenees. There are middle mountain stages with really impressive forests, however, if you are looking for technical and high-altitude views, you have to focus on stage 3, when you are entering Andorra (UNESCO heritage site of Madriu-Perafita-Claror), or stage 5 when leaving Andorra (Comapedrosa and Alt Pirineu Natural Parks), but the fireworks are during last stage, when you run through Aiguestortes National Park, just a few kilometers from the finish line, a really technical and breathtaking part of the route.


[Advendure]: According to your opinion which day has proved to be the toughest for the runners and why is that?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: For sure the 5th stage is the toughest for most runners, it’s a long stage (42K and 2800m elevation gain) with a big climb in the beginning and people get really emotional at the finish line, because it’s also when they realize they are going to make it to the end of the adventure (if nothing bad happens).


[Advendure]: There’s no doubt that the key element, in order to finish each stage happily on time, is to eat healthy food and manage to recover quickly after each stage run. What can the organizing team of the PSR do to help every runner start his/her race refreshed, the next day?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: We make our best to make the runners feel hydrated and well fed during the race, that’s why there is a complete food station every 10K, and also at the finish line where you can have a cold lunch in order to recover very fast from the stage. We also offer a massage service at the finish line, which also helps the runners muscles to recover faster to be ready for the next start. And finally the every-night dinner is also included in the registration, as well as the breakfast. During this dinner we also make the next-stage briefing, give the prizes for the stage and watch videos of the very stage we just finished!


[Advendure]: Why did you choose to organize the Pyrenees Stage Run the exact same date with an identical event such as the Gore-Tex Transalpine Run? Don’t you think that choosing a different week might attract more runners? Wouldn’t this be better for you?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: That was the problem with the dates… We didn’t want to make it this week, but it was imposible to organize it any other time. However, we feel that there are a lot of runners that have already run the Transalpine-Run, that might be really interested in running the Pyrenees Stage Run! Are you one of them? Come on! Don’t think twice and come to discover the great Pyrenees!


[Advendure]: The bigger the race, the better the prize! Please, tell us more about the prize every team gets when they cross the final finish line.

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: For every finisher there is a really special wooden medal, as well as a certificate and a wind-jacket that you’ll love! The classification winners will get a special trophy as well as some extra prizes for the win.


[Advendure]: Last question and this is your chance to prove your race’s reputation for the past two years. Why is it worth to spend a lot of money and more than a week to visit the Pyrenees Mountains and participate in the PSR?

[Tomàs Llorens Marès]: I think that I made it clear during this whole amazing interview! ;) Are you ready to live the most unforgettable experience of your life? Are you ready for 7 consecutive days of pure trail-running? Are you ready to have your heart broken by the Pyrenees? Are you ready to finish the PSR with friends from all over the world with the same passion as you? Well, I really think it’s really worth it! See you in the Pyrenees! :D



Thank you Mr. Tomàs Llorens Marès! You are way more evil than me! Certainly, I cannot overlook your offer for a free participation in the Pyrenees Stage Run, together with my friend Dimitrios Troupis, as team “Advendure”! I can assume that we have a deal then! Things couldn’t have been better…


*** Advendure is an Official Media Sponsor of the Pyrenees Stage Run 2018 and will participate with its team (Dimitrios Troupis, Theoharis Lezpouridis) in the race, which takes part between 2 & 8 of September 2018. We would like to extend our gratitude to the PSR organization team, for the honour of including us in the event as Official Media Sponsors and for the warm and generous hospitality and free participation.

*** More details about the Pyrennees Stage Run can be found in the article that we recently published at Advendure: https://bit.ly/2Gvdo9q

*** Registrations are open till July 31, 2018, for 45 teams consisting of 2 or 3 persons (5 reserved from PSR). There is an earlybird discount valid till April 30, 2018.


Theoharis Lezpouridis


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