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Staying active among spiders and bats

Ragna Debats and Pere Aurell are a pair of ultramarathoners who have become regular protagonists of mountain races around the world. Their Rolling Mountains project involved running nine races on six continents, until the coronavirus stopped their plans, but not their desire to stay active as a family.

Ragna, world trail champion, and Pere, winner of the prestigious Transvulcania race, started their route in Hong Kong last January. They continued to Chile and then to Argentina, where they climbed Aconcagua. They were supposed to run an Ultra Trail there, but they preferred to run another event, 4Refugios.

They arrived in Costa Rica to do the third Rolling Mountains stage, a 230 km race that was due to start on April 5, but was also canceled when the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 outbreak had become a pandemic that threatened the entire world.

But the pair of runners was already in Costa Rica with their five-year-old daughter Onna, and they decided to leave for a semi-deserted beach on the Pacific coast in Costa Rica, with the aim of remaining active.

With barely a dozen human neighbors (and many more of other species), they are isolated enough that they do not have to resort to confinement to stay healthy, and they have an entire earthly paradise to train as if there were no pandemic.

As reported by the journalist Hernán Sartori from the Clarín newspaper, Ragna and Pere were equipped with enough canned food to survive at least 21 days. Perhaps they were not aware about the bad habits of the monkeys, who steal everything that is within their reach, but they appreciate the blessing of the fish with which they replenish their groceries.

“We could go, but we are here freely. We have a very exceptional experience and we believe that it is a way to protect our daughter and us, and also to help prevent the virus from spreading in the country. We don’t know what will happen and we will stay here indefinitely. We are better than at home, even if we have nothing luxurious. It is better to be in nature, ”says Ragna.

Family days begin with sunrise at 5 am, but end as soon as sunlight begins to fall at 7 pm. First they slept in the open, until a neighbor invited them to share their roof with bats, original inhabitants of their temporary home.

Their daughter Onna has learned to distinguish species of spiders and other insects, while the parents have 2.5 kilometers of coastline and a nearby jungle to put into practice their extreme skills.

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