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The runners prepare on the starting line just after the cyclists set off
The runners prepare on the starting line just after the cyclists set off / Álvaro Cabrera

7,500 competitors take part in Spanish Legion's gruelling 101 kilometre race

  • The famously tough 101 kilometre race celebrated its 20th anniversary at the weekend

Runners and cyclists from all over Europe flocked to the province to compete in this year's 101 kilometre race, which has taken place in Ronda and its outskirts every year since 1997.

A massive 7,500 entrants congregated on the starting line at 10.30 on Saturday morning, despite the slightly more stringent application process which was stipulated by the Spanish Legion this year.

Cyclists had just 12 hours to complete the route which meanders around Arriate, Alcalá del Valle, Setenil de las Bodegas and Benaoján. José 'Quillo' Márquez from Marbella crossed the finish line in Alameda del Tajo park in first place, for the third consecutive year, with a personal best time of three hours 55 minutes and 56 seconds. Some 15 minutes later, Márquez was joined by second placed Alejo Fuentes, and Juan Francisco Rodríguez 10 minutes after that. The first female cyclist to finish, with a time of five hours, 17 minutes and 49 seconds, was Sanne Van Paassen, who had travelled from Holland to

Cyclists at El Puente de la Ventilla y Navetas in Arriate

Cyclists at El Puente de la Ventilla y Navetas in Arriate / Álvaro Cabrera

compete.

The runners were given 24 hours to complete all 101 kilometres. Much of the race was lead by José Antonio Castilla from Granada, however it was Valencia's Joan Marc Falco, who had been on the former's heels for much of the race before overtaking him on Los Molinos hill, who eventually took first place with a time of eight hours 37 minutes and 13 seconds. Castilla finished eight minutes later with Rubén Delgado from Almería later finishing in third.

Of the 7,500 competitors, 7,115 crossed the finish line before it closed at 11am on Sunday morning, even 79-year-old 'Super Paco' from Cártama who completed the race in 20 hours and 15 minutes.