I was lying awake at 2.30am waiting with excitement for the 2.50am alarm. As it buzzed I jumped up, running clothes on, wrapped up in a rain jacket and set out into the dark wet morning. I was doing the first leg of the relay with Martin Gaffuri from Good People Run. My leg 33km, his 40km. there was going to be a lot of mud and snow for sure even with the re-routed course.
Wonderful smiles and of course kisses welcomed us at the 5am start. The individuals loading up on the vast array of pain du chocolates and café that was so inviting. The first flat kilometres were quiet, people waking up, warming up, focusing on the coming day. And first up – pretty much a vertical Kilometer in mud. Glorious mud. I giggled and breathed deep becoming more covered with mud every time I tried to get a hold of something to pull me up the hill. Committed volunteers stood in the dark forest, with their lights blurring in the distance in the fog and drizzling rain.
Flowing trails took us to brief views of summits that were peaking out through the cloud, then back to the mud. As we climbed higher, the temperature dropped, gloves on, calf socks up, into the snow. Nearing the top, I could smell a fire burning, crackling wood with orange sparks against white snow. Dogs and their owners huddled up under a hand built shelters.
The villages put on gourmet aid stations, apart from emptying some mud from my shoes, I didn’t stop as I didn’t know if I would have been able to start again with such a wonderful atmosphere and picinic.
Col du Colombier was my final climb and almost half way for the individuals was thick with snow. Incredible for this time of the year. Through the walls of snow we could see Chinaillon down below, mud covered and soaked through but warm I eased down the hill to the change over, where friends and family waited eagerly. My tired legs had managed the 4 heavy hours, and after only 3 weeks of running again after a niggling sciatic nerve I was in pain free bliss. A ‘quick’ relay change over and Martin was off into the cloud covered mountains.
He raced strong, gaining positions and cruised into the finish in 4hrs in 4th overall team. Results.
A big lunch and social afternoon put on by the fantastic organising committee was a great way to spend a long day out and some great photos can be seen of the event here.
Definitely a race to put on the ‘To Do List’