Day 3 – The Grand Raid Trail Race – The calm before the storm


Two days and 17 hours. That is the time the Diagonale des Fous trail runners have to get to the finish line. They need to conquer 175 kilometers and 9917 meters of ascent in that time, and with the hours ticking of towards T minus Zero hours, things have become eerily silent today on Reunion Island as far as the Grand Raid competitors go. The reason is simple: registration takes place tomorrow for all three races, and all the backpacks and race equipment need to be sorted out already. Tomorrow everything will be scrutinized and checked to make sure everything conform to race regulations.


On Thursday morning at 04H00, the gun will go for the 175 Km race and the cut-off time is on Saturday at 21H00. When to run, sleep and eat, is up to each competitor. As long as they keep going, the finish line will get closer, stride after stride. The record time is just under 23 hours, so a 65 hours cut-off time indicates that a lot more is necessary for mere mortals to get to the finish line. Ironman allows 17 hours before cut-off, so just add two full days to that time and go figure the battering the average human body will take during this race! For the 93 Km/5600m ascent race, the Trail de Bourbon, competitors get 35 hours, and for the Mascareignes route, 67 Km/4000m ascent, 19 hours are allowed.

The average temperature will be a very humid 30 degrees for the biggest part during race days, so nutrition and energy management is vital. Medical personnel will do compulsary checks during the race to make sure competitors are in a good enough shape to continue. This race can cause severy injury, so one interesting rule is that competitors will be heavily penilized, even disqualified, if they refuse to assist an injured or incoherent competitor. After the race a time bonus will be given to those who assisted an injured competitor. Thumbs up for camaraderie!


There are as many ways to keep going during this race as there are competitors, but they will all enjoy the same nature, blue skies and breathtaking views. Tomorrow a few thousand competitors will meet, mingle and share the calm before the storm that will start at 04H00 the next day. By now you all would want to be here for this awesome challenge, the the Grand Raid Trail Race, so google it for info and start stuffing the piggy bank. You have one year to go before stepping out of your comfort zone in a very big way. Join this race!

Stay tuned to hear all about the massive registration day in the town of Saint Pierre tomorrow…

Follow Frank Smuts and Enduro Hub as he conquers the 67km Grand Raid Trail race while also covering all the events as journalist.