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Bricklayer overtakes 320 competitors, crowned champion at the hundred-mile 2023 Patagonia Run

During those 100 miles, I crossed forests, streams, and trails. The lengas and poplar trees surrounding me dyed the land in yellow and green. The fruit of the Autumn season emanated an earthy smell. From the summits of the three highest hills – El Teta, El Colorado, and Quilanlahue – I witnessed the most beautiful scenes.

  • 10 months ago
  • August 9, 2023
4 min read
Subject Information
Sergio Gustavo Pereyra won the 100-mile 2023 Patagonia Run, which is part of the Spartan Trail circuit in San Martín de Los Andes, Patagonia. He overtook the favorite Catalan Pau Capell, who led the competition for a long stretch. Sergio Pereyra, presently positioned as the best long-distance runner in the nation, won with a time of 19 hours, 25 minutes, and 29 seconds. In his daily life he works as a bricklayer but travels internationally for long distance trail runs.
Background Information
The 2024 Patagonia Run will gather April 3-7 next year and expects thousands of people to converge from around the world for what is considered the most important nonstop ultra-trail race in all of Latin America. Participants can participate in anything from a short 10K to the 100-mile race in the mountain town of San Martín de los Andes. The unique challenges and scenery draw the world’s elite athletes, competing for the title Spartan Trail World Champion.

NEUQUEN, Argentina ꟷ Running through the mountains feels like flying. A sense of freedom takes over, as I discover new landscapes, meet new people, and visit incredible parts of the world. During the 2023 Patagonia Run, I felt myself vibrating as an incredible energy ran through my body like magic.

When I crossed the finish line after running 100 miles, I could barely walk. My legs felt numb, and it took days to recover. Little by little, I began to walk slowly. Eventually, I could do some circuits on the bike. Despite a flu that complicated my last 15 days of preparation, through all the training and the competition, I continued to grow. Winning the 2023 Patagonia Run meant everything to me.

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Seeing the earth in all its glory

I still find it hard to believe I am the champion. For years, I have worked as a bricklayer, specializing in aluminum carpentry and dry construction. I built a small family business in my hometown of Junín de los Andes. Now I can say the Andes Mountain Range in the Neuquén Lake region has a son amongst the best in the world.

Running for my homeland in the most important ultra-trail nonstop race in Latin America vindicated me from taking second-place last year. In 2023, I faced off against the previous year’s winner Paul Capell. We passed through the trails of Chapelco Hill and Lanin National Park.

During those 100 miles, I crossed forests, streams, and trails. The lengas and poplar trees surrounding me dyed the land in yellow and green. The fruit of the Autumn season emanated an earthy smell. From the summits of the three highest hills – El Teta, El Colorado, and Quilanlahue – I witnessed the most beautiful scenes.

As we battled it out, Paul held the lead, but he finally gave in around the El Colorado post. He slowed the pace and by the final stretch we fought side-by-side. I pulled into the lead and felt stunned when I finished at 19 hours and 25 minutes.

I crossed the finish line at dawn and my legs trembled. It was 6:30 a.m., but my daughter Sofia and my family and loved ones awaited me. They rushed forward with tears in their eyes, jumping for joy, as we melted into an embrace. I was the champion.

The peaks of Patagonia now bear my name

All this madness and passion birthed inside me when a physical education teacher at school told me I had the traits to become a great runner. At the time, I herded animals in the fields. At just 12 years old, I began my training, running up and down the mountainsides.

Today, all these years later, I wake up early in the morning and go to work as a bricklayer. In the afternoon, as soon as my workday ends, I drink a good cup of coffee and start my run. Every race I join forces me to learn. In this discipline, you never know what you might face, and each experience presents new challenges.

[As of this interview] I remain in season in Italy, sponsored by the Argentinian Scarpa Team. [Scarpa creates innovative athletic footwear through processes to minimize the consumption of natural resources and reduce waste.] I am participating in the UTMB, the most mythical and prestigious trail running race in the world. The competitors and I run around the Mont-Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe. We pass through Italy, Switzerland and France.

As a world champion, today, when I look down at my legs or I see the mountains through the window, I feel different. The peaks of Patagonia now bear my name. The prize feels amazing, but my greatest achievement is overcoming years of obstacles to further my passion. Racing in the mountain range of birthplace and winning feels indescribable.

All photos courtesy of Nicolás Arias.

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