One of the aspects of Doñana Challenge For those who most attract attention to those who dare to dispute it is their journey. A route that has changed over the past nine editions, but has always had a common denominator, the Doñana national park, with special sensitivity and respect for the environment by the organization.
The change in the order of the segments, one of the hallmarks of the race
One of its main hallmarks has always been the change in the order of the segmentss, starting with cycling, following for swimming and ending in the race on foot along the beach. And that has never changed.
The current route is 100 kilometers by bike, swim across the mouth of the Guadalquivir on a route of 1 km and travel 30 km on foot along Malandar beach, 15 one way and 15 back. The mouth of the Guadalquivir presents a curious mixture of freshwater tides from the river and salt of the Atlantic Ocean, which make it very characteristic and spectacular for sports.
The first edition in 2019
But it was not always like this. In the first edition, held on Saturday 12 of September of 2009, the total distance was 200 km (169 km by bicycle, 1 km by swimming and 30 km of running race) and with the attention also placed on the defense of the environment and in sustainable development.
The departure was in Cádiz and the goal, as in the first editions, at Matalascañas beach, in the Almonte municipality of Huelva. The 30 km of the running race were done in a straight line. It was the first time in history that a sports event crossed this protected space. This tour was maintained in the following two editions.
The fourth edition, held at 2013, has already undergone changes in the distances to cover. The cycling segment reduced the route to 90 km through different locations in the province of Cádiz, the crossing was kept the same, but the 30 km of running on foot was made with departure and finish at Malandar beach.
That was the initial plan, but for reasons beyond the organization, the day before the route was changed and the test became a aquathlon, eliminating the swimming segment and performing the running segment on foot along the beach of the shore of Sanlúcar, in a circuit of eight kilometers. The following year, the modification in the route proposed by the organization for the previous edition could already be released, and so it remained until the next edition.
In 2016, in the seventh edition of the Doñana Challenge, there was the last modification in the course of the test to date. The most significant change was the increase of 90 to 100 kilometers in the cycling segment, and the passage through the town of Trebujena, which thus joined Sanlúcar de Barrameda, El Puerto de Santa María, Jerez de la Frontera, Roya and Chipiona.
A sporting event by Doñana
El Doñana Challenge It is one of the toughest endurance sporting events in Andalusia. In its tenth edition, which will be held next September 21, it will once again run through one of the best preserved nature reserves in the world, the Doñana National Park. And one of the objectives of the organization of the Doñana Challenge is to support the protectionist policy of the environment.
The passage through the Doñana National Park corresponds to the third segment of this extreme triathlon, the foot race. The triathletes, after cycling through part of the province of Cádiz and swimming across the Guadalquivir, arrive at Punta de Malandar, on the opposite shore of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Running shoes fit in Malandar and there they meet the real challenge of the test: complete 30 km alone by the sand, the final sector of this test unique in the world for its physiognomy and space where it develops. This last sector on foot through the endless sand of the Doñana beach is what gives meaning to the test and one of its most attractive aspects.
To maintain and support the protectionist policy that is responsible for monitoring the preservation of Doñana, no motor vehicle outside the park, or that is not previously authorized by it, may step on this long and beautiful beach, which implies an important organizational effort to Keep attention on athletes and volunteers. Before, during and after the passage of triathletes, an entire operation will be launched so that this magical space nothing, with special attention to cleanliness.
El Challenge Doñana 2019 It is organized by the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Junta de Andalucía, with the technical support of the Andalusian Triathlon Federation, and the collaboration of the municipalities of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Trebujena, Jerez, El Puerto de Santa María, Rota and Chipiona (for which the test runs) and the Doñana Natural Area.