Sidónio Freitas and the Madeira Island Extremely-Path – iRunFar


AJW's Taproom[Author’s Note: This is the second of a 10-part series in AJW’s Taproom called Race Director Chronicles, where we profile the unsung heroes who make our sport’s racing possible.]

“Because it has been from the very starting, our purpose is to ship a world-class path working expertise that showcases the pure magnificence and distinctive challenges of Madeira Island, whereas additionally offering truthful competitors in a secure, sustainable, and pleasurable occasion for all members and spectators.” — Sidónio Freitas

Madeira Island is a Portuguese territory positioned within the Atlantic Ocean, over 900 kilometers west of Portugal. Since 2008, Madeira has been house to the Madeira Island Extremely-Path (MIUT) working occasion, and from the start Sidónio Freitas has directed the race.

What started as a club-sponsored run for 141 members in 2008 has grown to a global extremely spectacle, which attracts over 3,000 runners to the island each April. Whereas the weeklong occasion options a number of distances, the marquee occasion is the 115-kilometer race, which traverses all the island from Porto Moniz on the northwest coast of the island to Machico on the southeast coast. Packed into the 115 kilometers is over 7,000 meters of elevation acquire throughout the stunningly stunning and brutally rugged mountains of Madeira Island.

Sidónio Freitas (right) with men's winner François D'haene. François is holding the tape and the clock reads 13:50:49.

Sidónio Freitas (proper) with males’s winner François D’haene on the end of the 2019 Madeira Island Extremely-Path. All pictures: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Because the longstanding race director, Freitas derives his deepest satisfaction in easy methods. “To me, essentially the most satisfying side is when the race begins after which finishes with none critical issues.” And, after a pause, Freitas provides, “And, it’s nice and powerfully emotional to witness the individuals coming in to our end line.”

Freitas believes that there are 4 elements that make MIUT so particular:

  1. Gorgeous pure surroundings: The race takes place on the gorgeous island of Madeira, which boasts breathtaking coastal and mountain landscapes. The route takes runners by means of quite a lot of terrain, alongside steep and lengthy cliffs and luxurious inexperienced forests, offering an unforgettable path working expertise.
  2. Difficult course: The course for MIUT 115 is taken into account very powerful, with steep climbs and descents. The technical terrain, considerable stairs, and unpredictable climate circumstances make the race uniquely tough. It’s a true check of endurance and talent for even essentially the most skilled path runners.
  3. Supportive group: MIUT has a robust and supportive group of volunteers, organizers, and spectators who cheer on the runners and supply help alongside the best way. This creates a constructive and welcoming ambiance that helps inspire and encourage members to push themselves to their limits.
  4. Cultural immersion: The occasion gives a chance for runners to expertise the wealthy tradition and traditions of Madeira, together with native delicacies, music, and festivities. This cultural immersion provides to the general expertise of the occasion and makes it a really distinctive and memorable expertise.
Katie climbing with a handrail and smiling.

Katie Schide taking the large mountains in stride on her method to second place within the 2019 Madeira Island Extremely-Path. Third place Audrey Tanguy is within the background.

Freitas and his group work laborious not solely to offer a world-class occasion however to supply members a doubtlessly once-in-a-lifetime expertise, which matches past working to construct a stronger group, elevate consciousness, and nurture cross-cultural understanding.

After all, an occasion of this magnitude just isn’t with out its challenges, particularly given the distant location. Freitas explains that he and his group spend months getting ready for the race and grappling with what he believes are the three greatest challenges:

  1. Course administration: The rugged and technical terrain of MIUT’s course presents a big problem for course administration. We have now to make sure that the course is well-marked and maintained, and that security measures are in place.
  2. Logistics and coordination: MIUT includes coordinating numerous logistics, together with transportation, volunteer staffing, and medical help. We should be certain that all these components are organized and functioning easily, to offer the absolute best expertise for runners and spectators alike.
  3. Environmental sustainability: With its delicate ecosystems and numerous wildlife, Madeira Island requires cautious consideration and administration to make sure that the occasion is environmentally sustainable. In each version we attempt to reduce as a lot as potential the occasion’s affect on the atmosphere and promote conservation efforts.

“For me, above all else, directing MIUT requires a excessive degree of group, planning, and a spotlight to element. There’s the necessity to steadiness the calls for of managing a large-scale occasion with the necessity to present a secure and sustainable expertise for all members.”

Lastly, I requested Freitas what a few of the greatest adjustments he has seen within the sport for the reason that first version of MIUT in 2008. Citing the increase in path working’s reputation, elevated professionalization on the elite finish of the game, developments in gear and expertise, elevated variety, and environmental consciousness, it’s clear to me that Freitas has his finger on the heart beat of the game. In his work because the race director of MIUT, it’s also clear to me that Freitas is working laborious to steadiness all of the adjustments within the sport with the values that he and his race group maintain so pricey.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s beer of the week is, not surprisingly, one in every of Portugal’s hottest beers and one which is offered in varied locations in North America. From the big Portuguese brewery, Tremendous Bock, comes Tremendous Bock Stout, a wealthy, hearty stout with all the physique and texture of basic stouts world wide. Tremendous Bock Stout efficiently marries the sweetness and bitterness of typical high-end stouts in a package deal that’s surprisingly reasonably priced.

Name for Feedback

  • Have you ever run the Madeira Island Extremely-Path and seen race director Sidónio Freitas laborious at work?
  • If not, is it in your bucket record?!



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