You’ll Have to Run Against “Knights” For the Championships

Pro-Ams are a beautiful thing. I just wish there were more of them. I know I’m not the only one who wishes he could lace up his cleats and play or run alongside world-class athletes like Ronaldo, Thomas Müller or Tom Brady. Every athlete dreams of competing against the best of the best. Unfortunately, only a tiny percentage of us will ever get that chance.

Fortunately, the running community has that very possibility this June at the adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships. Normal folks like you and I can lineup side-by-side with some of the greatest runners on the planet. The adidasTERREX team of runners, alone, is an all-star lineup that should strike awe into the hearts of all trail runners, but they will also be joined by super-teams from all around the globe. Korean teams, Russian teams, American teams etc,.are all signing up to be the trail running, team relay, world champions of 2018.  

In the running against these all-stars are some amateur teams with high hopes. These  normal folks from all over the world run as a hobby, yet are coming to Gastein/SalzburgerLand to try to beat the best in the sport. And if they don’t, they’ll still come out winners, experiencing a premier event that will without doubt set a new standard for trail running.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing some of the amateur teams recently, the first of which was the JINETES. The guys of this all-male team from Spain, which name translates to “Knights”, have known each other since birth and have been running together for many years.

Dani, Nacho and Mario are originally from the small town of Albatera in Alicante, Spain and came up with their team name many years ago while running the streets of their hometown where they spent much of their time as adolescents.


“The name was something that we wanted to mix several ingredients like riding, outdoors and something legendary. So Jinetes was what we came up with,” said the outgoing spokesman of the group, Dani.

“Disclaimer: We´ve never ridden a horse,” he added with a laugh.

The three share a hometown, a nickname, and have raced many times together and still try to do a few runs each year even when it’s inconvenient.

“We started with a 10k New Years Eve Race, which is every 31st of December in a neighbouring town.  For us, this race is probably the most special meeting of the year, where we get to see each other and go back to our roots. We have been taking part in this race since we were 15 and so naturally we have a ritual for it. Before the big event, we “dress up” and meet for coffee at our favorite bar where the other patrons are dressed very properly and we are wearing some costume like: ninjas, rugby players or Papa Noel. So much fun!”

These lifelong friends no longer live in the same town nor do they kick a soccer ball through the streets during the day and make trouble at night. They are spread out over Europe with Dani in Nürnberg, Nacho in Toulouse and Mario still in Alicante. They still love getting together to run and are especially excited for the adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships: “For us it’s such a great opportunity to share some time together and run the Infinite Trails, plus have a lifetime experience in the Alps and hopefully inspire some young generations of our lovely town.”

These three have run dozens of races including marathons, triathlons and iron man events but only Mario has competitive experience with trail running at high elevation. Though they have a lot of experience under their belts and will no doubt be a group to watch in Gastein, they aren’t stressed about the results: “As for the results, our goal is to finish the race and have fun. We are far away from being competitive with the outstanding line-up for the event.”

Dani, who lives in Nürnberg, has already run the trails around the Gastein Valley several times  and was the one who talked his buddies into joining him from June 21-24th in SalzburgerLand, Austria because, according to the Spaniard, “it’s a can’t miss event.”  

“The area, the organization and the event as a whole make it one of the most attractive races of 2018! We would be crazy not to take part!”

Dani will pick up his friends from the airport and drive down together with them from Munich to Gastein where they are excited to meet runners from all over the world, spend time together again and run some of the most beautiful trails in the world.

I’m looking forward to meeting the “Knights” in person, myself, and most especially hope that they are wearing some sort of costume for the adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships.

Fun guys who clearly know how to have a good time. Thanks for your time, JINETES, I can’t wait to see you in June!

The JINETES are in.

Are you?


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P.S. The JINETES think that there should absolutely be some prize for the team with the best name at the adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships. I’d say if there is, they are at least in the running for first place! Maybe there will also be a prize for best costume. Go big or go home, right guys?