Alberto Pelaez Serrano is an experienced ultramarathon runner. He has won twelve ultramarathons and marathons – including the high profile ‘Ultramarathon of Lanzarote’ three times. He has the speed record for ascending and descending the Toubkal Mountain in Morocco – that’s 4167 metres of height gain.
Alberto has also done long-distance cycling, completing the Transpirenaica, a 657 km route across the Pyrenees. The route has 15,000 metres of height gain, and is done in one 42 hour stage. He has also completed a course from the north to the south of Spain in a 1067 km course, which he completed in 54 hours.
In 2018 he entered the 100km Rincon de la Vieja in Costa Rica and won by 15 minutes.
“My favorite races have been the ‘Ultramarathon of Lanzarote’ which I won 3 years in a row”, Alberto told us. “And the ‘Ultramaratón del 10.000 del Soplao’ which I also won twice. Another one of my favourites is definitely the ‘CCC Courmayer Chamonix Champex’ which I did a top ten in, with many professional runners.”
- Speed record for the climb and descend of Toubkai Mountain
- Three time winner of Ultramarathon of Lanzarote
- Completed extreme cycling events across the Pyrenees and North to South borders of Spain
In 2008 Alberto turned vegetarian and in 2011 he became fully vegan. “I am totally vegan and whenever I travel, I manage to find food that doesn’t have any animal products in it” he says. “It is always simple to eat out and if there is no option, then I eat the typical menu of chips, salad and fruit.”
Alberto turned vegan as he became aware of the cruelty of the animal farming industries. “My motivation for going vegan was always the animals. When I became conscious of the suffering and exploitation that they go through, I realized that changing my lifestyle and becoming a vegan was the least I could do for them.”
“I have always considered myself as an animal lover, as my mother did teach me how to respect animals from a young age. But curiously, we still ate them, not knowing that there was another option, as many people do believe. Everything changed after visiting a small town in China as I witnessed the dog meat trade and how the animals were treated. From that moment I realized that what I was doing in consuming other animals, was exactly the same as what was occurring to the dogs in that place.”
The vegan diet is more than enough to sustain the demands that Alberto places on his body. “I usually train in the mountains, doing approximately 150km a week and also by bike, doing 200km weekly. Obviously this depends on what I am aiming for. Sometimes I work out in the gym as well.”
Fuelling the distances
“My diet is mostly based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts. I love the typical Spanish stews but in vegan version and also Indian cuisine which does come with a lot of vegan options.”
In addition to adopting veganism, Alberto also promotes veganism through his running.
“I have achieved more than twelve victories in different ultramarathons and marathons. In each one of them I have had the opportunity to show my ‘I don’t eat animals / No Como Animales’ message on my t-shirt on the podium.”
Both of his extreme cycling events were fundraisers for farm animal sanctuaries. Over the two events, Alberto and his friends raised €11,000, which he is very pleased with.
With so much achieved, it is perhaps not surprising that Alberto doesn’t have his veganism challenged. He is also part of a growing vegan movement in Spain.
“Fortunately, I have many vegan friends who train along with me. An there are many others who aren’t vegan but do not see it as an issue, due to our good results in training and in races.”
When we caught up with Alberto he had plenty more planned. “I am looking forward to an event in June , which is to try and beat the record of ‘Camino de Santiago’ in Spain, running 800km in less than 7 days. I will also carry on competing in ultramarathons, such as in the ’North Face Challenge Costa Rica’ in May  and ‘CCC’ in Mont Blanc in September.
“My principal motivation is to raise awareness about respecting animals by not consuming or exploiting them, through the sports I do. Especially when up on the podium. I never forget to wear my t-shirt with the ‘I don’t eat animals / No Como Animales’ message on it, to erase false myths about vegans being weak or having protein deficiency.”