Raid Gallaecia - The 2021 Adventure Racing World Championship

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Pre World Championship Interview With Vidaraid Captain Urtzi Iglesias

Press Release / 25.09.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
Urtzi Iglesias
Urtzi Iglesias / © Raid Gallaecia

Interview by Raid Gallaecia Media team

Urtzi Iglesias Mota (Bilbao, 1979) needs no introduction. With two decades of adventure sport experience and a dozen World Series (ARWS) victories, he leads team Torpedo Vidaraid, number 2 in the ARWS ranking. The Basque raider is a benchmark of the discipline and his team is one of the favorites for the world title.

With a degree in Basque Philology and a diploma in Early Childhood Education, Urtzi left teaching to dedicate himself professionally to adventure sports and combines his activity as an athlete with his work as an organizer of races such as the Guaraní Expedition and the Basque Expedition Race, among others. Linked since 2011 to the Vidaraid structure, in Galicia he will share a team with his inseparable teammates Jon Ander Arambalza and Marco Amselem, as well as New Zealand's Isla Smith.

World champion in expedition-type obstacle courses in 2019, Iglesias has accumulated three podiums in the Adventure Racing World Championships: he was second in Costa Rica 2013 and Ecuador 2014 and third in Australia 2016. The only step missing from his extensive honors is the World title.  Will he rise to the top at the Raid Gallaecia-AR World Championship 2021?

You have been competing in adventure races for more than 20 years, what does this sport mean to you?

- Today, everything revolves around adventure. What for me began as a recreational activity 20 years ago, became a competitive sport, and soon after, my way of life. Since, a few years ago, I put aside my previous job to dedicate myself exclusively to adventure, with the organization of races and other activities related to adventure.

You have been twice second and again third in the World Championship, you only need first place, is it a motivation or an extra pressure?

- The first place is something that, obviously, I would like to be able to achieve, but I know very well how difficult it is and it is not something that keeps me awake. I am very happy with what I have achieved so far and I continue to train in order to be able to win more races. If it ever comes, it will be amazing. And if not, we will have enjoyed the road. Adventure racing has given me much more than trophies and medals.

Vidaraid Torpedo is number 2 in the World Series ranking, do you consider yourselves favorites?

- This seems the most open World Championship in recent years.  There are several teams that have been fighting for the highest positions in the last World Cups and it is foreseeable that, in this one, we will also be in that fight. But the ranking only reflects how often teams race in the World Series. In a World Championship what counts is the here and now and I am sure that there will be other teams not high in the rankings, who will be in contention.

In 2017 you participated in Raid Gallaecia, what do you hope to find in this edition?

- I ran half Raid Gallaecia (his team had to leave) and some other races designed by Pablo (López Franco, race director). He has his own style and I don't expect big surprises compared to other editions. But surely one of his objectives when plotting the route will have been that the runners can enjoy many of the outstanding corners of Galicia.

The segments and some details of the route have already been revealed, is there something that caught your attention?

- The race has a very powerful start, which is sure to define many things. But it continues with several very long stages that are going to be the key to the race.

How important is teamwork and rest management in a non-stop race with more than 600 kilometers?

- It's fundamental. Training on foot, by bike or by kayak is relatively easy if you have time and dedication, but facing a race of these characteristics requires other abilities beyond the physical. Being mentally prepared, knowing how to manage breaks, eating, teamwork, and the attitude and efficiency that one has in the face of adversities and unforeseen events, is essential to successfully complete such an adventure.

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