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More than 450 expected at Saturday's Formentera All Round Trail

Foto presentació FARTThis Saturday marks the fifth year of the Formentera All Round Trail (FART), a footrace with an expected participation of more than 450. The Formentera Council's head of sports, Jordi Vidal, unveiled details on the event at a press conference this morning. Participation in the FART has grown exponentially since the race first started a few years ago—from 50 runners to nearly 500 today. However, as Vidal pointed out, despite an exploding popularity, the FART is intended for experienced runners only.

The footrace follows a 72.5-kilometre circuit around the Formentera coastline. Runners will set out at 8 a.m. from la Savina. For those who are a bit less experienced, there are two shorter routes as well: the Half Round Formentera Trail, a 40.5-km run that leaves els Arenals at 11:30 a.m., and the Tros de FART (roughly translated as 'a little bit of FART'), which runs 21 km and has participants leaving the starting blocks in Es Caló at one midday. Five refreshment stations will be set up along the routes and all three competitions share a finish line in the la Savina port. The maximum run time is 13, 9.5 and 4 hours respectively. The event is sponsored by the Formentera Council (CiF), the Grup Esportiu Espalmador and Elitechip.

Athletes can sign up to participate at www.elitechip.net until Thursday, 25 February at 8 p.m. Numbers can be picked up in the organisation tent on Friday between 5 and 9 p.m. in la Savina. Also that evening, Pere Serra, a psychologist and specialist in this kind of competition and a specialist group from Eivissa will lead a conference on the so-called 'ultra trails' in general and one such trail in particular: the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). Saturday morning at eight organisers will begin handing out numbers to participants of the two shorter races. Later on, runners will be transported to els Arenals for the Half Round and Es Caló for the Tros de FART.

Vidal thanked all the offices that had played a part in the organisation of this year's race, including the port authority of the Balearic Islands and the Govern Balear ministry of the environment. The councillor also seized the opportunity to highlight the important work of the Formentera local police, the Guardia Civil, civil protection services and other volunteers that have all signed on to ensure the race takes place safely. Saying he hoped everyone «gets into the spirit» and «gets an eyeful of Formentera's beautiful coastline», Vidal gushed about the FART's environmental commitment as well and reminded runners that anyone caught tossing rubbish along the way will be penalised. Also at this morning's presentation were Daniel de la Dueña, CiF department of sport staff specialist, event organiser Vicent Rosselló and Pere Serra.

Renewed joint action with Ràdio Illa

Signatura acord ACAFConsell de Formentera (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer and Paco Pérez, president of the Associació Cultural Audiovisual de Formentera (ACAF), have put their signatures on a joint action plan on content production at the island's public radio station, Ràdio Illa. The signing took place today at 12 midday in the plenary hall of the local administration.

President Ferrer said he was glad to be renewing the joint agreement, which this year provides a more substantial grant —40,000 euros compared to 33,000 last year—«so that Ràdio Illa can continue growing into its role and carry on providing more and better content». Ferrer congratulated Ràdio Illa on its work over the years, a quality service he says is appreciated by the Council and the people of Formentera alike.

The ACAF president gave special thanks to the CiF for trusting the group's ability to deliver results. Pérez also thanked Ràdio Illa listeners and the workers at the station that make daily operations possible. He noted, finally, that 2016 is a year of anniversaries: this year ACAF will turn 10 and the station will turn 30. He mused, «Ràdio Illa has become our island's go-to station, and we want to keep it that way». As for ACAF's biggest targets for 2016: «ever-increasing news reports and the creation a news portal».

Formentera cheers Xicu des Capri on Ramón Llull award

Xicu des CapriThe Formentera Council, by way of the administration's office of the presidency, extends its congratulations to Formentera-native Francesc Marí Mayans—Xicu des Capri—who is slated to receive the Govern Balear's Ramón Llull award on Monday 29 February. CiF president Jaume Ferrer expressed his delight seeing the formenterer snare such an important distinction.

According to the Balearic Islands government's website: «The award is conceived as a way to recognise and honour persons — both legal and physical — who have made a notable contribution to the region in terms of culture, sports, law, trade, civics, humanitarian work, research, education or linguistics».

Tourism and tradition

Organisers chose to grant this year's honours to Xicu—a pioneering entrepreneur in Formentera's tourism sector—for fomenting the role of community associations and defending traditional art forms like llaüt (dinghy) based fishing. Xicu was born in 1938, and has come to be held as the paradigm for promotors and tradesmen in tourism. Not only did he disseminate the values of an older, more traditional Formentera through an unbroken commitment to professional fishing, but he would also remain an active figure in the local tourism business throughout his life.

Xicu promoted and ran numerous es Pujols businesses but, as the CiF president pointed out today, was always mindful of keeping the traditional family spirit of the island intact. He served his own catches to the patrons of his restaurants – a clever way to promote traditional fishing – and was the face of Formentera for countless tourists.

Party reps want to meet with port authority, Eivissa administration to discuss new port

RP Junta de Portaveus Estació MarítimaThis morning, the grouping of local political party representatives known as the Junta de Portaveus gathered with Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer to discuss last week's meeting of the Formentera Council of Entities. Wednesday, 17 February, members of the local business community and different island organisations convened an evening gathering to discuss the location of the new Formentera landing in the port of Eivissa. That evening, meeting attendees unanimously rejected the Balearic port authority's proposed relocation of the landing to Eivissa's commercial dock.

In a joint press conference, Ferrer announced the Junta's decision to request a meeting attended by Juan Gual de Torrella, president of the Balearic port authority, CiF president Ferrer, Formentera's party spokespeople and representatives of the two Eivissa administrations (the Council and the Ajuntament), «to open up new dialogue – with all the involved parties – on the relocation of the Formentera landing». In so doing, the Formentera representatives have taken up Gual de Torrella on an offer he extended at the Wednesday gathering to «meet with all the sectors affected by the relocation plans». After the meeting, Ferrer explained, «another gathering of the Council of Entities will be convened to report back».

All those present at the Junta gathering indicated their support for the decision, and reiterated their insistence on keeping the Formentera landing in its current home. If a move is ultimately unavoidable, party reps said they want their suggestions – which include calling for a maximum number of services and accommodation for Formentera residents – to be heard before the port authority.

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