Shepherd, comes from the old English word herd. Who is a person that tends, guards or herds sheep.
On Sunday, 12th of April was held in Arenas de Cabrales, Asturias, the II Trail of the Shepherds, a mountain race that came about in its day as a tribute to the shepherds both male and female who with dedication, strength and sacrifice, would settle in the wild prairies of Sierra de Portudera, a mountainess región which rises above the village of Arenas de Cabrales. It is to these people that we owe the trails and fields that we, the runners, use today to enjoy the unimaginable surroundings, scene to steep channels, high pastures, limestone, waterholes and folds, which lure more than one to the point of becoming morbid. A race that develops with such praiseworthy principles that deserve their proper recognition.
The morning of the 12th of April, Sunday the team of mountain racers of Picos Xtreme, visited Arenas de Cabrales to form part of this sincere and emotional tribute, and at the same time enjoy and suffer at the same time of the European Peaks’s Cabraliega face, it seems like a contradiction, but it is true.
To enjoy and suffer or suffer and enjoy, let’s choose one or the other to describe our feelings, but both are reflections of the experience of that Sunday morning.
We enjoyed a wonderful day in the mountain, the surroundings and a spectacular course where there was one. We enjoyed a great day among friends and above all we enjoyed the success of two colleagues: Anabel Merino y Sergio Besoy, both humble runners. To speak of success within quotation marks with the clear idea to express the importance of this word and its use.
I don’t pretend to focus on the placement or the position in the classification, but rather to focus on the self-compensation of personal strength, tendency or the persistence necessary to be able to overcome the physical and mental barriers each and everyone has. Those same barriers that added to the natural surroundings, were the ones that the original shepherds of Portudera had to overcome.
One can fall in the temptation of becoming egocentric and value the race only on personal results. To do this, in my opinion, would be to go against the true value that many decades represented to those shepherds, who were the exclusive focus of this passionate race. In this ever more saturated world of trail and mountain races we run the risk of losing those values that they, the shepherds, left us. It is for this reason that we enjoyed those emotional eyes of our teammates on the podium at Arenas.
Enjoyment was one of the objectives and we managed to do so, but we also suffered. We suffered going up to Somas and suffered making our descent via Calluenga, Boy did we suffer!, we endured the Bierrru and Tordín passes and suffered the sun’s punishment that would not leave our side at any moment during the race.
Both objectives, enjoyment and suffering were reached on Sunday the 12th of April in Arenas de Cabrales in the II Trail of the Shepherds of Portudera, and we did it thanks to a fabulous organization who takes care of their elderly, for example the prescence of Iñaki, Sergio y Anabel in the race and the cheering on of Alfonso, David, Puertas Raquel ,Noe y Javi Gallo throughout the event.
I want to finish this personal note, hoping all my teammates feel the same and making a special recognition to our ancestors, who like the shepherds of Portudera, dedicated a large part of their lives to tending and herding the livestock. To the parents of Anabel who forged a future together in the Palencia Mountains, to the families of Iñaki and Sergio, of Liébana and Valdeón, shepherds and caretakers of the mountain and all those people in the European Peaks who made it possible for us to run on their paths and mountains today.
We will return to share the enjoyment and suffering in Portudera.
Sergio Besoy 2º Absoluto
Anabel Merino Campeona Femenina
Congratulations to all who participated!
Text: Victor Puente Cantero Picos Xtreme Sport