If you’re a lover of country running and like a bit of a challenge, then the Lecrin Valley has routes aplenty and lots of fabulous scenery, sights and sounds to distract you from the hills! Local runner and our new colleague, Catherine Walkley tells us why she loves running around El Valle de Lecrín…
“At the top of my list when house hunting was knowing that I would have access to great running routes from my doorstep. And I have not been disappointed. In fact, even now after more than ten years of living in Melegís, I am discovering new trails.
It’s not only the scenery, the smells and the seasons which I soak up as I plod along; it’s a deeper connection to the countryside. I can chart the hours which people dedicate to their land, I am aware of when the rivers are hurriedly carrying the snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada, I track the growth of the newly planted avocado trees and am ready to pounce on the first fresh figs.
I treat the hills as a bonus, an unavoidable extra effort that will give me a shot of endorphins, a privileged vantage point and a chance to relax as I let the momentum carry me back down.
There are days when I avoid the slopes and favour routes along the Múrchas canal or the Béznar reservoir, and others when I seek to clock up the altitude and to conquer the Hermitage in Pinos or explore the Sierra de Mondújar which several kilometres of climbing.
The distances are infinite, as are the possible routes. I pick my trail according to my whim, often subconsciously. To run from Melegís to Restábal, a distance along the road of one kilometre, I will choose from one of eight options, each one a track of differing terrain, distance and elevation.
I can opt for the shaded overgrown track along the river passing willows, poppies and wild garlic, or head down to the reservoir look out for turtles and and hop over the stepping stones, perhaps I will take the dusty path alongside the vegetable allotments and check out the progress of Antonio’s tomatoes or if it’s hot I will head past Fuente Chica and fill up my water bottle.
I am proud to call this my territory, to breathe in the landscape and greet other trail users with a smile or a “¡hola!” – a mutual recognition of of how fortunate we are to immerse ourselves in sport and nature in the Valle de Lecrín.”