Raid Gallaecia - The 2021 Adventure Racing World Championship

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Interview with Pablo López Franco - Race Director of Raid Gallaecia - The Adventure Racing World Championships

Raid Gallaecia Media / 19.09.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
Pablo López Franco
Pablo López Franco / © Raid Gallaecia

Pablo López Franco is the Race Director of the Raid Gallaecia-AR World Championship 2021. After he practiced athletics in his youth, more exactly athletic walking, with the passage of time he tried other disciplines, such as mountain biking, until he landed in adventure racing.  A participant in several events of the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS), he has been the Race Director of the Raid Gallaecia since its inclusion in the world circuit in 2015. That is, he is in command of the Galician race for the fourth consecutive edition, the most important of all.

This man from A Coruña, who will turn 45 the day after the start of the World Championship, analyzes various aspects related to the race, such as the birth of the idea, the level of participation and the difficulties generated by the global pandemic situation.

- How was the possibility of organizing the Adventure Racing World Championship 2021 in Galicia conceived?

We started organizing adventure races in 2005. We were the first organization to bring a Spanish League race to Galicia. For us, passionate about this sport, it was the way to give back what the sport had instilled in us. And above all, we wanted to show people from other places the potential that Galicia has for sports and adventure activities.

 From there, it has been a path of constant learning, always trying to improve what we did. Thanks to all that work over so many years, we managed to enter the World Series and celebrate our first expedition race. Before that we organized several Spanish and Iberian championships. After three editions of the Raid Gallaecia as proof of the World Series, the natural thing was to take this step and put the icing on the cake.

- What does it mean for the organisers of Raid Gallaecia to organize the Adventure Racing World Championship 2021?

It means showing our land to the world, teaching everyone about Galicia.  There are many people who have come to our race and have been amazed at the potential we have here.  In the purely sports part, as lovers of competition, bringing the best here gives us great pride. It will be a spectacle and an enjoyment to see them compete here, in the most open world championship, without a clear favourite, in many years.

- What can Galicia offer to adventure racers?

Everything!  Galicia offers what any other powerful adventure destination can offer, with the advantage of good infrastructure, its culture, its gastronomy ... We have landscapes, mountains, rivers, many kilometers of coastline and incredible natural spaces, all in a temperate climate, which allows activity all year round. One of the objectives of our race is to show all the potential we have. Hopefully we will do so.

- What did the obligation to create a route of at least 600 kilometers entail?

The truth is that, on the one han,d we see it as an advantage, because we have more freedom to use all of the land we have, but on the other hand it requires a greater logistical and field work effort, in addition to all the bureaucratic inconveniences that they entail. Visit more territory and with it comes processing permits. But sticking to the sports part, it is very good to be able to offer a true expedition race, with everything that involves running a race over 600 kilometers. Anyway, we have already produced races of 450 or 500 kilometers before.

- To what extent has the global pandemic situation affected the organization and staging of the Adventure Racing World Championship 2021?

Much. I don't like to complain, but it has been very difficult. Organizing a race like this is already a very big challenge, but having to implement all the measures that we are going to take, with a specific protocol for the race, where all the teams will be tested and all the regulations applied, it has been a very laborious job.  Then there is the uncertainty generated by a pandemic, the teams that will not be able to be here ...  Even so, it will be the reunion race.  It has been a long time since there has been a race with a total of 24 nationalities represented and with 100 teams. We are very proud to have accomplished this. We feel rewarded for the hard work.

How many people must be mobilized during a race of more than 600 kilometers without a marked route for this to be possible?

More than one hundred people will be in the organization. They will be a starting point, a finish point and six transitions to manage. In addition to security personnel, transport logistics, toilets, trackers ... A lot of activities that will accompany the race, such as concerts, ecological activities, smaller sporting events, etc ... The Raid Gallaecia family is very large. Many have already worked on other editions. They are all looking forward to seeing you all!

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