Don’t blame Ramon Blanco if he was a bit too tired to raise his glass in toast after finishing with the third edition of the SMS SPAIN24 held in Pedreña, Spain, July 11-12: He just finished paddling 156 kilometers in 24 straight hours to win the prestigious – and some say longest – SUP race in the world.
“It’s certainly a long, long paddle,” says organizer Luis Garcia. “They were all pretty tired.”
The race started at noon with a massive exit from the SD Remo Pedreña, where the favorites are quickly put on the steam, out-distancing the pack at a high cadence. Racers had 24 hours to make the most laps possible in a route marked by the organization.
During the first hours of the race, Majorca’s Miguel Martorell, Madrid’s Antonio de la Rosa and the Cantabrians, Ramon Blanco and Saul Viadero, were all evenly matched without losing any lap between them until the end of the day period at ten. At night, every athlete chose a different strategy attempt to distance himself from his rivals.
With the favorite De la Rosa having to stop and rest, the final fight came down to Martorell, Blanco and Viadero. Around four am, there was a change in leadership, with Blanco taking a lead he never relinquished. In the end, he finished with a margin of two kilometers over Martorell.
In the women division, Ane Zulaika took the title ahead of Cinthya Coto and Susana Dawilibi. The women had different strategies, with Dawilibi taking the maximum turns in idyllic conditions of flat water at night, with Zulaika and Coto fighting itout during the day.