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From left to right, Ismael Bacas (second), Falcó (winner), Marcos Juncal (third), and Cristina Palomo (women's winner).

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From left to right, Ismael Bacas (second), Falcó (winner), Marcos Juncal (third), and Cristina Palomo (women's winner). V. M.

Joan Marc Falcó and Cristina Palomo, winners of the Spanish Legion's 101-kilometre race

Some 9,000 people, either on foot or bike, navigated the tricky terrain around Ronda, Arriate, Setenil, Alcalá, Montejaque and Benaoján on Saturday

Vanessa Melgar

Monday, 13 May 2024, 16:25

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In a display of sheer endurance and determination, Joan Marc Falcó returned to winning ways as the Spanish Legion's gruelling 101-kilometre race returned to Ronda on Saturday.

Falcó's reign began in 2017, and he maintained his supremacy with successive first-place finishes in 2018 and 2019. However, in 2022, his performance was hindered by illness, as he unknowingly participated in the race while battling Covid-19, mistaking the symptoms for a common cold.

Despite this setback, Falcó's determination remained unwavering, driving him to return to the competition and reclaim his title in 2024, crossing the finish line with a time of nine hours, two minutes and 59 seconds.

With scorching temperatures posing a significant challenge throughout the race, following closely behind him were Ismael Bacas, who secured second place with a time of nine hours, 14 minutes and 19 seconds, and Marcos Juncal, who claimed third after nine hours, 16 minutes and 38 seconds.

As participants navigated the terrain around Ronda, Arriate, Setenil, Alcalá, Montejaque and Benaoján, they were supported by a dedicated team of volunteers and medical professionals, ensuring their safety and well-being throughout the race.

Other winners

In the women's category, Cristina Palomo emerged victorious, crossing the finish line after 11 hours and four minutes of relentless effort.

Victoria Mayoral trailled her by almost 40 minutes, followed by Francisca Sabina.

Meanwhile, the cycling component of the event saw José María Sánchez from Morón de la Frontera emerge as the first cyclist to conquer the challenging course, completing the race in three hours, 56 minutes and 22 seconds.

Natalia Fischer, from Estepona, made a memorable debut in the cycling category, securing victory among the women with a time of four hours, 49 minutes and four seconds.

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Imagen principal - Joan Marc Falcó and Cristina Palomo, winners of the Spanish Legion's 101-kilometre race
Imagen secundaria 1 - Joan Marc Falcó and Cristina Palomo, winners of the Spanish Legion's 101-kilometre race
Imagen secundaria 2 - Joan Marc Falcó and Cristina Palomo, winners of the Spanish Legion's 101-kilometre race

Back with a bang

After the event's suspension in 2023 due to the Legion's military commitments in Lebanon, the resurgence of the race in 2024 was met with unprecedented excitement and anticipation.

Some 9,000 places were made available, divided into 3,700 for cyclists, 4,200 for walkers and 1,100 for walkers in groups and, as ever, these were snapped up within seconds with 25,000 people trying to apply.

The event's economic impact on the Ronda area is undeniable, with an estimated 20,000 people (mostly Spaniards) flocking to the town throughout the weekend.

With meticulous planning and preparation, the organisers ensured a seamless experience for all involved.

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