Vendée: four passionate and slightly crazy athletes go to Réunion for a race

Vendée: four passionate and slightly crazy athletes go to Réunion for a race

Alexandre Bouchet, Gael Bachelot, Julien Fertilet and Sébastien Brosseau. ©

There are four from the Saint-Jean-de-Monts triathlon and athletics club and they are taking part in La diagonale des fous in Réunion from 20 to 23 October 2022. It is an ultratrail: a run of 165 km with 10217 meters of positive and negative elevation differences. The race leaves from Saint-Pierre in the south of the island at 21:00 on October 20th, crossing the entire island through kars, peaks and ramparts. The destination is in Saint-Denis at the La Redoute stadium. It’s the most legendary ultra trail in the world and this year it’s celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The event is called the Grand raid and includes 4 races including La diagonale des fous with a relay that Denis Brogniard will take part in. It brings together between 7 and 8,000 people, including 3,000 for the race the Montoises will attend.

A childhood dream

“It’s quite a selective race and it’s very complicated to get your number. To earn points, you must complete selection races. All four of us have experience of participating in circuits longer than 80 km. This gave us access to the race draw in Réunion. We do four to five races a year, the last concentration was the endurance trail in Milo. We worked on it for a year and in January we got the bibs. It’s a childhood dream, I’ve been running since I was little, I’m 24E ultras,” Alexandre Bouchet announces very enthusiastically.

40% dropout

It’s a 40% dropout race. It is done without sticks to preserve the environment, the trails. The first arrivals take 24 hours and the last up to 66 hours. The bibs have chips that track runners who can access a supply every 15km. There are also three Life Bases where they can find their change bags, one at 72km, 120km and on arrival. The temperature change is significant 30° during the day 0° at night. There will be five departure points for 600 people between 21:00 and 21:40. 45 nations will gather. By watching with bibs it will be possible to have access to lives. Runners are required to have in their bag: headlamp, ID card, survival blanket, whistle, 1.5 liters of water, food supply, spare battery for phones, tapes in case of injury. A bag weighing 3 to 5 kg.

“I Survived, I’m Crazy”

“We are leaving with the youngest and the oldest because Alexandre is 28 and I just celebrated my 50th birthday. This race is really a dream, I have ten ultras under my belt. After this race, I don’t think I’ll do another one, I’m slowing down,” said Sébastien Brosseau.

You should know that the first and the last are welcomed in the same way. Nothing to win except a “I Survived, I’m Crazy” t-shirt. The Montois runners depart on October 15 from Saint-Jean-de-Monts.

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