San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Coastal Challenge 2010 Off and Running

Coastal Challenge competitors hit the ground running, climbing, and hiking on Sunday, beginning a six-day trek spanning 220 kilometers through the mountains, jungles and terrain of northwestern Costa Rica.

Kicking off in La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano northwest of San José, runners from around the world began the daunting six-day mission of traversing the course known as the “Route of Fire,” which includes eight- to 12-hour days of scaling mountains and running through rainforest vegetation before concluding today at Junquillal Beach on Bolaños Bay, on the Pacific coast near the Costa Rican-Nicaraguan border.

On day one of the sixth running of the Coastal Challenge, runners took off from La Fortuna and completed a 24.3 km trail that included two ascents, the higher of the two measured at 1,150 meters. On Monday, the runners left from Rancho Margot in Monteverde, in the Northern Zone, on the longest trek on the week, a 62-km jaunt with a series of peaks and hills, making for a cumulative ascent of 4,280 meters.

Runners in the Coastal Challenge come from countries around the globe, and they represent a wide variety of backgrounds – from a United States doctor, to a Costa Rican potato farmer, to a pastry chef from Spain.

The Coastal Challenge features both team and individual competitions, as well as two courses – the Expedition course for the more advanced competitors, and the less grueling Adventure course.

–Adam Williams

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