Local runner Daniel Duarte was the first athlete to set off under tough weather conditions on the first stage of the Eurafrica Trail 2018 at Europa Point yesterday afternoon.
The two-continent, three-stage trail run saw the first stage hosted in Gibraltar.
Close to 200 international and local participants took part in yesterday’s Vertical Rise stage, which was set off by s the Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes.
Starting at Europa Point, the runners followed a four kilometre vertical climb to O’Hara’s Battery at the top of the Rock.
They will next be setting off to run in Alcornocales Natural Park in Spain, setting off from Algeciras today, before heading to the third and final stage in Morocco.
This year the final leg has been moved to the town of Belynouch.
Over 1,000 athletes are expected to take part in the unique trail race which will take athletes across three countries and two continents and three countries, including Gibraltar.
The event focuses on using natural habitats as the main routes and the local leg was considered as the steepest climb the runners would encounter in the three-stage race.
It was a cold start for the runners with rain and a chilly breeze affecting the route yesterday afternoon.
Speaking before the race, local runner Daniel Duarte, an employee of the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority, was still in high spirits and undeterred by the weather.
The runner indicated how he had only made his final decision on whether to run on the eve of the event.
“I have had an ankle injury these past days and I wasn’t sure until yesterday if I would run,” he commented.
Other local runners included Ian Howes, who regularly runs long endurance trail races.
Prior to yesterday’s event, he indicated that “because I don’t have to carry anything with me this time”, he would be wearing the GibSams vest to raise awareness of the charity and its cause, something he has done too in the past.