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More than 450 expected at Saturday's Formentera All Round Trail

Foto presentació FARTThis Saturday marks the fifth year of the Formentera All Round Trail (FART), a footrace with an expected participation of more than 450. The Formentera Council's head of sports, Jordi Vidal, unveiled details on the event at a press conference this morning. Participation in the FART has grown exponentially since the race first started a few years ago—from 50 runners to nearly 500 today. However, as Vidal pointed out, despite an exploding popularity, the FART is intended for experienced runners only.

The footrace follows a 72.5-kilometre circuit around the Formentera coastline. Runners will set out at 8 a.m. from la Savina. For those who are a bit less experienced, there are two shorter routes as well: the Half Round Formentera Trail, a 40.5-km run that leaves els Arenals at 11:30 a.m., and the Tros de FART (roughly translated as 'a little bit of FART'), which runs 21 km and has participants leaving the starting blocks in Es Caló at one midday. Five refreshment stations will be set up along the routes and all three competitions share a finish line in the la Savina port. The maximum run time is 13, 9.5 and 4 hours respectively. The event is sponsored by the Formentera Council (CiF), the Grup Esportiu Espalmador and Elitechip.

Athletes can sign up to participate at www.elitechip.net until Thursday, 25 February at 8 p.m. Numbers can be picked up in the organisation tent on Friday between 5 and 9 p.m. in la Savina. Also that evening, Pere Serra, a psychologist and specialist in this kind of competition and a specialist group from Eivissa will lead a conference on the so-called 'ultra trails' in general and one such trail in particular: the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). Saturday morning at eight organisers will begin handing out numbers to participants of the two shorter races. Later on, runners will be transported to els Arenals for the Half Round and Es Caló for the Tros de FART.

Vidal thanked all the offices that had played a part in the organisation of this year's race, including the port authority of the Balearic Islands and the Govern Balear ministry of the environment. The councillor also seized the opportunity to highlight the important work of the Formentera local police, the Guardia Civil, civil protection services and other volunteers that have all signed on to ensure the race takes place safely. Saying he hoped everyone «gets into the spirit» and «gets an eyeful of Formentera's beautiful coastline», Vidal gushed about the FART's environmental commitment as well and reminded runners that anyone caught tossing rubbish along the way will be penalised. Also at this morning's presentation were Daniel de la Dueña, CiF department of sport staff specialist, event organiser Vicent Rosselló and Pere Serra.

More grant money for sportsmanship and improved training

Signatura convenis esportsFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and Esperança Camps, minister of community involvement, transparency and culture of the Govern Balear, met today to sign an accord promoting sportsmanship among school children with a programme called Posam Valors a l’Esport (Putting the Sportsmanship in Sport). By signing the deal, the Govern and the Formentera Council (CiF) commit to provisioning the programme with €10,000 and €5,000 in funding, respectively. According to Ferrer, the Council will oversee the initiative, which will cover anything – from outreach and awareness campaigns to training courses – that emphasises good sportsmanship and the other traditional values inherent in sport.

The two officials signed an additional accord laying out the terms of a partnership between the Formentera Council and the Fundació per a l’Esport Balear. The goal of the partnership is to ensure the quality of local sports training. The programme will cover the year 2016, explained Ferrer, and «set in place high standards not only for our trainers but also for our local athletes».

To receive grant money, programme activities must take place between 1 January and 30 November 2016 and can include specific training sessions, travel to specific training sessions, nutrition, sports psychology, physiotherapy and training for sports specialists.

In order to achieve the targets of the partnership, the Council has committed to coming up with a procedure to determine the eligibility of specific programmes and allocate funding; draft a set of criteria for eligible sportsmen and women and trainers; setting up a committee to review applications. The committee will have an oversight role for the different programmes and will ensure proper documentation proving eligibility is provided.

In another move to assure the goals of the partnership are met, the Fundació has committed to contributing technical advice, €10,000 in funding and a staff specialist from the Fundació to serve on the oversight committee.

Councillor of sport Jordi Vidal was also present at the signing of the accord. He explained the subsidies will apply to tennis players as well as participants in athletics and judo. Camps declared her satisfaction at being able to take part in the partnership, a way of chipping away at Formentera’s de facto geographic isolation and promoting sports and sportsmanship

Pupils of island learn value of aid

Conferencia Solidaritat premsaEarlier today, the 515 pupils of Formentera’s three primary schools all attended a talk entitled Aid and solidarity in the Third World by Javier Colomo, president of the NGO Amigos Solidarios. The talk was given three times at the Sant Francesc cinema. Councillor of sport Jordi Vidal explained, «the children were able to get an in-depth look at what aid and solidarity are all about, and learn how they can get involved and help out the less fortunate».

Tomorrow’s talk open to all audiences

Tomorrow, Friday 22 January, the same conference will be given to students of the IES Marc Ferrer secondary school. Later on, another version of the same talk – this time open to the public – is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Casal d’Entitats. The CiF office of sports has organised the Solidarity and aid conference as part of Esport és més (Sport is more), a campaign to promote the positive values of sport sponsored by the Council and Govern Balear. The goal of the initiative is to «encourage participation in sports as a way for young people to stay healthy, develop character and grow socially».

On your marks: sports events take off in Formentera

RP prova BTT premsaEarlier today the Formentera Council (CiF) announced details about the mountain bike competition Non Stop Tracks. Slated to get under way next Sunday 7 February, the El Club Trideporte-organised event has so far secured commitment from 180 participants (60 of whom hail from mainland Spain). According to sports department head Jordi Vidal, the CiF hopes to see that number at 200 by Sunday.

Non Stop Tracks will be the first trial of the 2016 sports calendar. As Vidal noted, the event and others like it are a way to get people taking pleasure in sport – and if it can happen before the start of the high summer season, all the better. The CiF councillor of sport was also sure to thank Formentera local police, the Guárdia Civil, civil protection services and other volunteers for helping make the race safe for all those participating.

Long race starts and ends in la Savina

Organiser Fátima Blazquez was on hand at the morning press conference to relate event details. «The longer race is 85 km and will start at 10:30 a.m. Sunday in la Savina. The shorter one is 45 km and will begin at 12 noon in Sant Francesc», she said. Both races have their finish line in la Savina, though to get there the circuits snake around the island, «making sure participating cyclists get a chance to take in the natural beauty of the island», Blazquez added.

Organisers hope the event – now in its second year – continues to gain participants and momentum. Registration costs €10 and can be done online at www.elitechip.net. Blazquez noted a team of more than 50 helpers will be there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch. She thanked the Council for its help, «both with logistics and prizes for participants». On race day, road closures will be kept to a minimum (approximately five minutes) and will affect only secondary roads.

Twenty-some sport meets planned for Formentera low season

Mitja marato 2015  J.Antonio ArribasThe Formentera Council department of sports has, together with a handful of local sport and fitness clubs, organised some twenty sporting trials and other meets for the low season. Standing out among the different events on this year’s calendar are the footraces, which «attract athletes from around the country and around the world» and whose relevance, according to department head Jordi Vidal, «will only continue to grow in the coming years».

Races

The starting shot will take place 27 February with the Formentera All Round Trail, an event that will have more than 400 participants circling the island by way of the coastline. On March 1st, the Cursa de la Dona will coincide, as in years past, with the local holiday celebrating our autonomous region: Dia de les Illes Balears. The Cursa Pagesa Solidària (literally, the ‘women farmers’ solidarity race’) will be held March 6th. This year’s lighthouse-to-lighthouse footrace (De Far a Far) is scheduled for April 16th and this year will include a special category for Nordic walking. The Half Marathon (la Mitja Marató) – described by Councillor Vidal as the most renowned of the Formentera fitness events – will be held May 14th. Several years ago the event reached its established capacity of 2,400 runners, a self-imposed limit Vidal explained as ensuring «safety and tranquility of all those involved».

Formentera to Run, which in 2016 enters into its eighth year, will be held between May 29th and June 5th. The event is aimed at attracting a different brand of visitor – the active tourist. Councillor Vidal pointed out that runners who participate in Formentera to Run are often drawn by the prospect of spending an entire week on the island. On June 5th the island will celebrate the fourth year of NB Formentera Trail. Then, as the summer season proper draws to a close, the Pujada a la Mola footrace will be held October 12th. Finally, on December 12th, the John Tunks memorial race – la Cursa de la Constitució – turns 36.

Cycling

The councillor of sports also talked about four competitive cycling events on the 2016 programme: Tracks Formentera BTT (February 7th), Trofeu CDE Ciclisme en Ruta Illa de Formentera (March 27th), Copa Illa de Formentera (June 12th) and BTT La Mola (October 23rd). Another important post-season event in 2016 will be the fourth annual Formentera triathlon, scheduled for October 2nd.

Regatte

Councillor Vidal was proud to announce a string of nautical events on this year's sports calendar: the Regatha Ophiusa in May, the Regata trofeu penyal d'Ifac in June and – another event for windsurfers – la Volta a Formentera on September 18th.

New events

Councillor Vidal also announced the creation this year of a new sports trial, scheduled for April 3rd: Duatlon Cross. Other events in the works include an international beach volleyball tournament and an open-water swimming marathon, both in October. Vidal says his department's goal is to make the island more than just a great option for competitions: «Formentera has got an absolutely fantastic climate. That, and many possibilities for contact with the outdoors. We want athletes to see Formentera as a place to come train at the start and end of the season».

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