An amazing “Grand Raid de la Réunion”!
The 25th edition of “Grand Raid de La Réunion” has been very animated with lots of surprises, especially in “La Diagonale des Fous”. The race was crazy with an unexpected victory of the French man, Benoit Girondel.
The 25th edition
For its 25th anniversary, “La Diagonale des Fous” gathered the best athletes. With 165Km, the outcome was very uncertain. 2600 runners began their race from Saint Pierre with the goal to cross the island from the South to the North with an elevation gain of 10000 meters. In front of the race, lots of French runners like Antoine Guillon, Camus’ brothers, Julien Chorier, Ludovic Pommeret, Maxime Cazajous, Emilie Lecomte, Mélanie Rousset, Maud Gobert and the local Marcelle Puy. Xavier Thévenard missed the race for physical reasons. He wanted to prevent injuries and preferred to end his season. Diego Pazos, Andrea Huser, Seth Swanson, Fernanda Maciel and the American Jim Walmsley have brought an international dimension to the race.
The race very uncertain during more than 100Km
From the start, the favourites were all together. Then, Jim Walmsley decided to take the control, as he did at UTMB®. He imposed his own pace and led the race. His pursuers were, nevertheless, on the alert. Antoine Guillon ran calmly, as usual, with his experience from previous editions. He was with Chorier, Cazajous, Camus’ brothers, Pommeret, and Benoit Girondel.. Concerning women, Andrea Huser and Emilie Lecomte led the race without surprise.
« La Diag » took another dimension, when we learnt, in within a few minutes’ succession, the dropouts of Julien Chorier (he has been lost during 15Km), Ludovic Pommeret and Maxime Cazajous (injured).
From this moment, a three-way race began, between Jim Walmsley, far ahead Benoit Girondel and Antoine Guillon. But after 106Km, the American, once again, as he did at UTMB®, blew up at “Roche Plate” checkpoint. He was forbidden to leave the checkpoint before to feed himself normally but he was too weak. Thus, the assistance judged that he had to quit. Therefore, Girondel took the first place. Andrea Huser, on the other hand, took the lead of the race without any difficulty and set the pace, in a way that, nor Emilie Lecomte, nor Fernanda Maciel were able to follow.
From “Roche Plate”, Benoit Girondel had a 20 minutes lead over Antoine Guillon. During the press conference, he has not been presented as an Elite athlete. The hardest was to hold still 60Km, under the heat, until the finish line.
His efforts have preserved his 20 minutes on Antoine Guillon, and he reached Saint Denis in 23hours, 53 minutes and 53 seconds. At the beginning of the “Diagonale” 2017 no one would have bet on him. Guillaume Beauxis, 3rd, realised a great finish in overtaking Diego Pazos (4th) et Urs Jenzer (5th) in the last kilometers.
About women, Andréa Huser respected her leadership status and won the race. She has even finished 8th at scratch. Emilie Lecomte (2nd) and Marcelle Puy (3rd) complete the female podium.
“Le Trail de Bourbon” 110Km race of Ultra-Trail® World Tour, have seen the young Camille Bruyas win for women and David Hauss for men.
“Le Grand Raid” changes its mind
Before the 2018 UTWT season, “Le Grand Raid de la Réunion” decided to leave the international circuit, due to different strategic points of view.
The Ultra-Trail® World Tour wishes successful continuation to “Le Grand Raid” and good luck in the preparation of their next edition.