Run Azores Challenge is a four-race concept over four days based in two different locations on the island of Sao Miguel.
Monday September 20 - Ponta Delgada 5K
This is a gentle introduction to your time in the Azores with an out-and-back 5K along the harbour side of Sao Miguel's capital city. We start early to beat the Monday morning crowds. It's a fast course which rises and falls gently at two turnaround points and finishes close to our base at the Azor Hotel. You will be back in time to enjoy the sumptuous hotel breakfast buffet or you can cool down with a dip in the open air swimming area sheltered inside the harbour, which is just a short walk from the finish.
Tuesday September 21 - Volcano Half Marathon
You will struggle to find a more picturesque course than today's half marathon around the Sete Cidades lagoon, the huge crater in the midst of an extinct volcano on the west of the island. The route is not easy. It starts with a steep climb up to the rim of the volcano and follows a track which climbs and falls regularly on the circular route before you descend steeply for a mile into the heart of the volcano. The last two miles are run on tarmac roads as you pass the town of Sete Cidades and finish beside the lagoon.
Wednesday September 22 - Lakeside 6K
After two days in and around Ponta Delgada the racing relocates on day three to Furnas, a small spa town to the east of the island. Today's run starts beside the sulphurous thermal pools of Lagoa das Furnas. The 6.5K route circles the lake and its course is a mix of wooded dirt trail, road and cobblestone path. Today's race is run as a handicap with the slowest runner from the first two events starting first, followed by the next runner 30 seconds later with the fastest runner starting last and tying to chase down the rest of the field. After the run there is plenty of time to relax beside the lake or visit the town of Furnas to enjoy its array of magnificent natural thermals baths and spas.
Thursday September 23 - Serra Tronqueira 17K
Your running challenge finishes on day four with another beauty: a point-to-point course along a secluded forest trail on the east of the island of Sao Miguel. The first few few kilometres climb gently upwards before the course flattens and tips downhill on tree-lined forest trails with the final couple of kilometres on tarmac roads that eventually lead into the coastal town of Nordeste. After the run we'll have drinks and light refreshments in a local restaurant before we take the coach back to Ponta Delgada for the celebration dinner and awards ceremony on the Friday evening.