In a few hours the Diagonale des Fous 165 Km trail race here on Reunion Island will commence, and heroes from vastly opposite sides of life will attempt the race.
Last years winner, Francois D’Haene from France, completed the 165 Km course in 22 hours and 58 minutes. Athletes of that caliber start the race and get to the finish in one go. No sleep. They simply keep going. For a little perspective again, the 67 Km race has a cut-off time of 19 hours. These top athletes finish the 165 Km course in 23 hours. We have the greatest of respect for them, but at some point the gene pool smiled greatly in their favour, enabling them, with lots of added training, to do it for a living. Also, their incentive is paychecks and sponsor bonusses. To us all, they are the heroes of this sport.
Meet another kind of hero, Tae Sueng Chung from South Korea. He set aside 50 hours to finish the race. Tae might sleep a few hours, sit down for a good meal or pause for a break. He will manage the 165 Km with 9917 meters ascent with intuitive as well as calculated care, so he can push the limits of his physical abilities and cast memories that will never go away. Money can buy you a Ferrari, but money cannot buy what Tae will experience. You have to do it yourself. Tae is here for no prize money or public glory. Together with 2500 other competitors he represents the spirit that makes this a world class event. All these athletes might not have Francois D’Haene’s talent, but they chase the finish line with the same grit and deternination. They are true heroes of a different kind! A big salute to all the Grand Raid Diagonale des Fous competitors!