The well-known sports commentator talks to us about the rise of mountain races and the position of the Canary Islands in the organization of the races
Mountain races have proliferated in the Canary Islands in recent years, with the islands being chosen for the celebration of major national and international events seeing the participation of the best runners in the world. The commentator, José Antonio de Pablo – “Depa” – has experienced first-hand the growth of this sport in the Canary Islands. In this post he talks to us about Trail events, the level of the runners who participate in them, and the return after the break caused by the pandemic.
Depa started working as a sports announcer 13 years ago and he came to it by chance. “I was in Tenerife at a race organized by a friend where he himself was the commentator, and he asked me to take the microphone at a time when he couldn’t be there, and I started to encourage the runners. During that race I was offered the chance to take part in two more races.” His racing calendar reached 40 races per season before the break last year.
I’ve been very lucky to be able to turn my hobby into my livelihood, and I work as a commentator on mountain races, and communicating in general around the world of trail running.
For the commentator, trail running has enjoyed two phases: one that went from the 1970s until the end of the century, when “the runners were not so competitive but rather adventurous”, and the other phase “began 20 years ago which was when the great boom of mountain races began with major international events, a time when it a certain professionalization of the sport began.”
The big boom in competition has occurred since 2000, from 2000 to 2020, over these last 20 years.
After the break caused by COVID-19, mountain races have returned and the places have sold out. “There was a lot of desire to put on a bib and it seems that people have realized that you have to do sport, enjoy being outdoors and somehow feel alive training or participating in the events.”
The calendar of mountain races has also resumed in Lanzarote. In August the Famara Total was held with the participation of the runner-up in the Trail World Championship, Cristofer Clemente and with Depa as race commentator; Tinajo YouTrail held its fifth edition in early September with a record number of participants; and the Haría Titán will be held in November. Depa assures us that “the Canary Islands have a privileged position in terms of the organization of Trail races and the best runners in the world want to come to run in the Canary Islands.”