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Fourth Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon in Ometepe

Róger Solórzano Canales | Jan 31, 2013

Fuego y Agua 2013 promotional image.

Enthusiasts and elite competitors from around the world will run across the island this February.

The 2013 edition of Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon will be held in Ometepe Island next sunday February 16th. It will gather more than 300 runners from various world destinations. For the first time this year, it will take place “The Survival Run”, an extreme challenging race with setup obstacles that will make the run a little more “fun” for those elite competitors that love to experience a “Spartan Race” feeling.

Zac Wessler, Fuego y Agua race manager, informed that up to now, they have less than 50 spots available for registration in the categories. Amateur and expert runners from different countries have already registered, including around 40 Nicaraguans. Registration will be close on February 13th and you can register online through their website.

Fuego y Agua challenge will offer four sections:

  • 25K: a 25 kilometers course trail held in Moyogalpa area. It starts at 7 AM. Cutoff time: 6 hours. Top performance 2012: 2h and 14 min, set it by Dirian Bonilla.
  • 50K: a 50 kilometers course that starts off at Moyogalpa and ends at Merida. It starts at 4 AM. Cutoff time: 12 hours. Top performance 2012: 6 hours and 6 min, by José Birce.
  • 100K: a 100 kilometer ultra trail. It is a point-to-point course starting and ending in Moyogalpa. It starts at 4 AM. Cutoff time 24 hours. Top Performance 2012: 13 hours and 8 min, set it by Ben Lavigueur.
  • 100K Relay: this relay event follows the same course as the 100km. This time composed by 2 participants who can split the trail in 50 km each. Same cutoff times apply as the 100km solo option.
  • Survival Run: extreme trail course with setup obstacles, making it longer than 70 kilometers. Limited entry, registration is done with pre-approvals only.

Ometepe Island will be filled with the energy of the event and a nice ambiance in each starting and

finishing point, including socials get together afterwards. It will also have a special event where runners, volunteers and island local come together the day before the race to pick up garbage along the streets and trails of Ometepe. Followed by the Calzado Kids Run (a race for ages 6-16 that sponsors shoes donation) on February 17th.

Survival Run Race

“So, why you probably won’t make it on Survival Run?", this is one of the application questions asked to all 50 ultra runners, in order to be pre-approved for this category - which is already all booked up-. According to coordinators, the competition promises to be the most extreme challenged race and obstacle trail done so far. It is also the first one thrown in Nicaragua.

“Survival Run will reunite the most fierce competitors at an Iron Man level race, Adventure Race, Spartan Race and Death Race. All together”, said Jouse Stephens, founding director of Fuego y Agua. He explained: “It is an ultra trail of 70 km, along with several ascents and descents of the Maderas Volcano, you will be challenged with climbing, swimming lakes & jungle rivers, carrying all sorts of things, digging, running brutal terrain, throwing, memorizing and overall surviving this epic event!”.

As well as several international participants, this demanding course will count in with local ometepino, Johnson Cruz Barrios, twice winner of the 50K Fuego y Agua. For Zac Wessler, this local runner has a big chance of winning, despite the fact that he is competing along the world’s best.

Fuego y Agua Background

Fuego y Agua was envisioned in 2007 as a project by US citizen Josue Stephen, ultra runner, who had already worked with Spartan Races in his country. Josue tells that by that time he came in contact with Micah True (1953-2012), famously knows as Caballo Blanco in the Ultra Race community, also, Cooper Canyon Ultra Mexico event director, and character of the famous book “Born to Run”, by Christopher McDougall. And that after running in the Cooper Canyon, he decided to make the ultra run in Ometepe.

Josue Stephen
“I have spent a lot of time traveling Nicaraguan lands since 2003. Throughout this time, I discovered Ometepe island, and I loved it”, says Josue. In 2008 he organized the Calzado Kids Run, a children’s race that donates a pair of shoes, shirts and medals for all kids participating in the run. And it is in December of that year when the first Fuego y Agua initiates with approximately 30 ultra runners from Italy, the United States, Germany, Colombia and Scotland, and the sections 50K and 100K.

A year latter (2009) the second edition carried out, in which the 25K category was incorporated for those runners who did not wish to make the ultra distances. This time they had more international competitors and island participants, who won the 25K and 50K category.

The next Fuego y Agua challenge, was held a year after, and pushed until February 2012. With this timeline, they managed to attract over 100 international runners. Nicaraguans once again won the 25K and 50K, and a competitor from Alaska took the 100K first place . It also increased the support of private and state sponsors.

It is so, that it has gone over now to the fourth Fuego y Agua challenge, with more competitors of more countries around the world and with the first edition of the demanding “Survival Run” section. This year will be covered by specialized known media and feature outstanding ultra runners such as this list.

A runner finishing the 2012 Fuego y Agua receive his medal from Josue

Translated by Vanessa Aragón