After there were no more spots available in the men’s division, a man who identified as “gender fluid” won the women’s division of a mountain race in Spain. Quim Durán Pradas goes about his daily life as a man, but running makes him feel “feminine.”
The 13th edition of La Cursa de NaDalt took place on December 26, 2023. It is a chrono-climbing competition that takes place in Catalonia every December. The race is a short but tough event that takes place on a picturesque course of trails and climbs of 3,862 meters with a positive elevation gain of 620 meters. It begins in Sant Pere de Torelló and concludes at the Sanctuary of Bellmunt.
At the finish line, each competitor receives a glass of sparkling wine, a snack, and hot chocolate to cap it all off in typical Spanish style.
The controversy unfolded during the awards ceremony when it was revealed that the winner of the women’s division was a 48-year-old man. According to sources from the event’s organizing committee who spoke with La Vanguardia, a few individuals got into an argument.
Among them was 48-year-old male runner Quim Durán Pradas, who was seen at the awards event with jewelry, cosmetics, and a ponytail.
According to sources from the event’s organizer, the Centro Excursionista Serragrenyada: “[He] was saying that [he] had won in the women’s category and that [he] had every right to be recognized. As an organization, we were caught off guard. There had never been a case like this in previous editions.”
Durán Pradas was adamant about his victory, threatened legal action if not awarded the prize – a valuable leg of cured Iberian ham. It may be worth anywhere from €100 to €500 (about $107 to $540 USD).
The organizers attempted to diffuse the tension and provisionally recognized him as the women’s general category winner. However, this decision was met with disapproval from the audience.
Laia Montoya was the fastest female and had previously won in 2022 and 2023. Despite being displaced by Durán Pradas, the organizers offered her a package of Iberian ham in apparent recognition of how unjust the circumstances were.
If Durán Pradas had competed in the men’s division, he would have finished in 55th position.
The race’s organizing team posted an explanation of “the ethical, moral, and philosophical dilemma” they were facing on Instagram.
They wrote: “We want to show our support and the utmost tolerance, solidarity, and empathy towards gender-vulnerable people. However, at the same time we also want to underline that the NaDalt race has always tried to promote women’s sport, because historically it has been discriminated and less visible.”
Durán Pradas appeared on a popular Spanish morning show, Más Espejo. He explained that he is a “gender fluid” athlete who feels “feminine” while jogging in natural settings but “masculine” at all other times. He does not want to pursue any surgical procedures and is not currently receiving hormone treatment.
He said: “I am gender fluid, and when I run in the mountains, I feel like a woman, I feel like the other female runners. I have been to an inclusive psychologist who told me that this is not a disorder. I am simply a person who, depending on the situations, is gender fluid. In my day-to-day life, at home when I’m with my children, I feel like a man. In my leisure time, in contact with nature, I feel like a woman.”
Durán Pradas said on the show that he wanted to raise awareness of gender fluidity and that he had previously been too afraid to compete in a women’s category. However, he ultimately made the decision to take a chance after learning that there were no more spots available in the men’s category.
He said that the questions from the presenter and the other panelists on the morning program were too “argumentative” to address. Therefore, he declined to take them. When one of the panelists accused him of “cheating” by running without adjusting his testosterone levels, he claimed he was being the victim of a “hate crime.”
He said: “I thought this was going to go well for me, and you just won’t let me justify my position. People who do not understand [gender fluidity] and ridicule it as you are ridiculing it… it can become a hate crime.”