When our freedom is restricted, we have to become more creative, or at least that's the philosophy of Dani García, one of the top authorities in Malaga province on the subject of mountaineering. This outdoor sport has become more popular recently, as people find it a way of escaping from the stress of the pandemic. Dani, a firefighter from Rincón de la Victoria, used to be a boxing champion but decided to take up trail running instead when he realised that he felt more at home running up a mountain than he did in the ring.
His level of fitness soon attracted attention and he often competes for the Andalusian and Spanish trail running teams. He was in the winning team at the world championships in Italy and his achievements as a high-performance athlete have been recognised by the Athletics Foundation and Mountaineering Foundation.
Like all sportsmen and women, this year had looked promising for Dani but Covid-19 put paid to that. To make up for the lack of competitions and keep himself fit, he decided to set himself a challenge and take up 'Everesting' in the province which is his home.
This sport began in 2014 and its creation is attributed to Australian cyclist Andy van Bergan. It sounds easy but is actually very hard. It involves walking, running or cycling up and down a hill or mountain as many times as necessary to complete 8,484 metres (the height of Everest) in a single day. Dani decided to 'climb Everest' in this way but without leaving Malaga province, to demonstrate to other people how many mountains there are in this area and how easy they are to access.
Obviously, it will take him time to complete his challenge, but to make it a bit more competitive he decided to explore the limits of his body. "I have been up all the most emblematic mountains in Malaga at some time, but what I want to do now is set records by going up and down as fast as possible from the nearest village," he says.
He uses two apps designed for runners, Strava and Wikiloc, where the GPS on your mobile phone shows the route, the gradient and altitude and the time it has taken, kilometre by kilometre, from start to finish.
Progress so far
Dani began Everesting in September and has achieved record times on each mountain he has tackled so far.
"I started in the Axarquía with La Maroma (2,069 metres) from the village of Sedella, and then went on to the peak which has no name," he says. That peak is slightly higher, at 2,087 metres, and is the highest in Malaga province. On that day he ran 16.2 kilometres with a gradient of 1,515 metres, in a time of 2.07:28.
After that, he did the Pico del Cielo in Nerja (19.43 kilometres, 1,532 metres of gradient and a time of 1.50:05), La Concha, in Marbella (9.91 kilometres and 996 metres of gradient, in 1.31:14) and La Bola, in Mijas (13.85 kilometres and 954 metres of gradient in 1.12:54). He is now planning to do La Reina, in Malaga; Chamizo, in Alfarnate; Lucero, on the boundary of Malaga province and Alhama de Granada; Los Reales, in Estepona and Torrecilla, in Tolox. This unusual and competitive challenge may even start a trend among keen runners in the province.