Núria Picas’ story isn’t just about winning races; it’s a testament to determination and unwavering dedication. Her journey has been one of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges, fueled by her love of the mountains.
World champion, Ultra trail runner, climber, cyclist, skier, firefighter, writer, mother, role model, and long-time BUFF® ambassador, the list of achievements Núria Picas has checked off in her various careers is truly impressive. Born in Manresa, close to the famous Montserrat mountain range, her life has always been linked to nature and sport. Beginning in childhood, when she says she could never sit still, her tomboy fearlessness was encouraged by her parents, who took her climbing and skiing.
Her passion for the mountains inspired her to see the world and eventually to mountain races, and at the age of 22, she ran her first marathon in the Pyrenees, finishing 3rd in Aneto. But her early success was cut short when she broke the talus bone in her left foot in a serious climbing accident and was told she might never run again. To say that she proved her Doctors wrong is a mighty understatement, and despite almost constant pain, in the years that followed, Núria not only ran again but discovered trail running as her true passion. In between times, she also qualified as a firefighter, a profession she loves for its team spirit, resilience, and need to be physically and mentally on top form. Everything she loves about her firefighting work has also been essential to her running career.
In 2011, she entered her first ultra trail event at Cavalls del Vent with low expectations –not only did she win the event and set a new course record, but it was also the start of her incredible trail running career. Just one year later, she became the first Ultra Trail World Tour Champion. Her long record of successes since then includes wins at some of the most prestigious and challenging races in the world: 5 wins at the Salomon Ultra Pyrenees 100K, 1st UltraTrailMount FujI 170K, 1st Diagonale Des Fous 164K, 1st TransGranCanaria 120K, 1st Vibram Hong Kong 100K, 1st Salomon 4 Trails, 1st HORSE PATH 85K, 1st Everest Trail Race, 1st BUFF Epic Trail 105K, as well as multiple podium places. She is the only Spanish woman to have won the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the pinnacle event in trail running, which she won in 2017 when she had already turned 40.
However, the pain from her injured left foot was always in the background and eventually caused her to pull out of a race in 2018, convincing her that she had to find a long-term solution or face the end of her running days. Fortunately, medical technology has advanced, and in 2020, Núria decided to take the risk and underwent surgery, not knowing if she would ever return to the racing world. Getting back to fitness during the pandemic was another challenge. Still, her trademark grit, determination, and combination of strength training and careful nutrition helped her return and triumph again, winning her 5th 100km Ultra Pyrenees race at the age of 46!
I don’t know how many more races I will run, but… let’s see!”
Now, as she approaches 47, she knows that each time she puts on her bib may be her last race, but having just placed 3rd in Val D’Aran, Núria is ready again for Chamonix and ready to show the world once more why she is a legend in the sports world. As Núria continues to scale new heights and conquer uncharted terrains, her legacy as an icon of the sport grows stronger with each race she conquers and every step she takes.