Published On: Fri, Oct 23rd, 2015

Grand Raid underway on Reunion Island

TRAIL1-7306Forty-three nationalities are represented this year at Reunion Island’s three cross-country races, which are staged under the banner of “Grand Raid” and is comprised of 3 main races – the Diagonal of Fools (163 km, 2,633 registered – 2,403 men and 230 women); the Bourbon Trail (93 km, 1,576 enrolled – 1,328 men and 248 women); and finally the Mascarene (64 km, 1,806 enrolled – 1,389 men and 417 women).

The participants come from across the world, namely from:

South Africa: 7
Algeria: 1
Germany: 8
England: 6
Australia: 4
Austria: 3
Brazil: 1
Canada: 13
China: 3
South Korea: 12
Scotland: 1
Spain: 11
USA: 8
France: 1,106
Gabon: 2
Guadeloupe: 5
Guatemala: 1
French Guiana: 1
Hong Kong: 2
Hungary: 1
Reunion Island: 1,272
Mauritius: 9
India: 3
Ireland: 1
Italy: 23
Japan: 24
Kenya: 1
Latvia: 3
Luxembourg: 3
Madagascar: 1
Martinique: 11
Mayotte: 12
Norway: 2
New Caledonia: 5
Poland: 3
Portugal: 3
Czech Republic: 1
Russia: 2
Singapore: 2
Sweden: 2
Switzerland: 31
Thailand: 1
Turkey: 1
Vietnam: 1

The races started yesterday night at 2200 hours on the site Ravine Blanche in Saint-Pierre, and everyone watching asked who will succeed Francois d’Haene, the winner of the diagonal of Fools 2014.

The Grand Raid of Reunion Island was appropriately renamed Diagonal of Fools, describing the difficulty of its course and the required performance of ultra-trailers, those crazy enough to accept the challenge to participate. Plenty fit that bill though as thousands of participants from abroad gather on Reunion every year from around the globe. The Great Raid cross-country races are both an individual and collective human adventure where emotions are palpable, especially from the spectator side, who are present throughout the race to encourage the brave athletes.

During this event, competitors explore and push their own limits, but also measure up in a hot contest against their fellow competitors. This race has existed since 1989 and over 26 years evolved to the point of making a global splash with its challenging courses. Affirmation of the status of these races came from the international scene when the Grand Raid was integrated into the global Ultra Trail World Tour last year. This sporting event brings together a world circuit of 10 ultra-trails from Hong Kong to the island of Reunion, through Spain, New Zealand, Morocco, Australia, the United States, France, and Japan.

The Reunion Island races are the ultimate stage of this incredible world tour and, of course, Reunion Island will offer competitors a perfect show at the height of the toughest races in the world assembly.

The elevation details of the three races are also intriguing, affirming that the Diagonal of Fools is a high-octane, high-performance race which only the hardiest of sportsmen and sportswomen can master.