At 9 p.m. Thursday, October 21 in Reunion, 7 p.m. in metropolitan France, the Diagonale des fous, a race of 160 kilometers and 9,400 meters of vertical drop through the volcanic rocks and the humid forests of the Meeting. This legendary ultra-trail is back after a year of absence due to Covid-19, to the delight of Patrick Ramoudou, journalist at Réunion la 1ère. He has been following her since 1994. “It’s a bit like our Tour de France”, he explains with a smile.
This exceptional race, one of the hardest in the world, circles the island. “Each time, it’s really madness, whether at the start or on the trails. There are a lot of people. Reunion is in all its forms with runners who come from all over the world to take up a challenge. : cross the finish line after endless hours of effort “. For the Reunionese, the Diagonale des fous is a truly exceptional event, despite the sanitary conditions this year.
“The runners start in waves of 500. It takes away a little this exceptional image of human tide with its 2,500 runners. But it’s still something magnificent.”Patrick Ramoudou, journalist at Réunion la 1ère
The race will be followed from start to finish in a special program on television, on the radio, indicates Patrick Ramoudou.
Of the more than 2,600 registered, 185 internationals and 1,400 metropolitan residents made the trip. Among them, the oldest, Odyle, is 77 years old. And the youngest Clément Mention is 22 years old. He runs for his association, Fô-Gninta-Solidarity, which helps children in Burkina Faso. And for him, it really is the race of his life. “I’ve been waiting for this race for ten years, and dreaming about it. And I tell myself that this is the big day, he rejoices. We came to live, to feel these sensations. It’s a bit like the Grail, the race to the extreme, to surpass oneself, to see how far my body can go, to seek my limits. “
The runners start with an ascent of the Piton de La Fournaise massif, a still active volcano. And despite the excitement, Clément has a hint of apprehension when he thinks of the nights under the stars. “I ask myself forty thousand questions. My difficulty is to get through the night. I tell myself that I have to do two. We’ll see how the body reacts. You have to stay attentive every second. inattention and we can end up in a vacuum, we can fall, twist an ankle, break something. I have only one thing in mind, and that is to cross this finish line. race. That’s what I often explain, it’s an adventure. “
Clément, Odyle and the others have 72 hours to cross the finish line. In 2019, the winner completed the race in 23 hours and 33 minutes.
La Diagonale des fous takes off again – report in Reunion Island by Marine Clette.