Hot Wheels and High Fives – The Prologue
As teams approached the village of Hell Bourg, the venue for the stat and prologue they got their first real look at the vertiginous scenery of Reunion. The buses took them up switchbacks into the mountains with vertical green walls studded with waterfalls either side of them - this was what they’d come for and tomorrow they will somehow trek across these volcanic ancient craters to start the race.
First there was the flag parade and prologue to take part in and they were taken to the football stadium above the town (I checked it is a flat) to leave their packs and prepare. Flags were handed out and a local band struck up some cheerful tunes then lead the way down into town.
The town is known as one of the most beautiful in Reunion (and in France) and they passed small wooden shops and houses with carved verandas and tropical gardens full of giant palms and ferns. There were supporters all along the route and the teams were already paired up with a local child, proudly wearing their own race bib and ready to run in the prologue with their team.
This began on the edge of town and the race would be the local children’s pastime of ‘Kours La Rou’, running with a small car tyre and guiding it with two large sticks. The race said the children had been training for their run in the World Champs and it soon became clear some were as competitive as the teams! The advice was to put some soapy water into the tyre rim (which they just happened to have handy) and soon racers were practicing up and down the road.
It was all in fun, but there was a competitive edge as teams will start tomorrow in 30 second intervals based on the prologue result, so the last will be 30 minutes behind the first. The top teams don’t want to lose a second, or be behind other teams on narrow trails or ropes, so they wanted to do well.
The course was a short relay, with one stage for each of the racers and on the final stage all the team ran in with their new team mate for the day. Some of these were too fast for the teams to keep up with and others struggled with their tyre and needed a bit of help along the way. (Avaya got off to a tricky start with a photographer being run over by Chris Forne and Nathan Fa’avae did say it was ‘a bit random’. Their team mate was one of the smaller children so they probably didn’t do so well.)
With the band playing and a sizeable crowd there to cheer the teams in there was a great atmosphere at the finish line and the teams enjoyed the company of the children. There high fives, hugs and team photos all round and it’s a day the town and children will remember for a long time.
Teams sat out at the cafes nearby and the ice cream store was busy, and they then had time to explore the town before returning to the stadium for a local meal provided by the town. They will sleep there tonight, all together in the town gym and they’ve all been given a mat to put on the floor.
It won’t be the most comfortable night, but will be the same for everyone as those savvy teams who booked B&B’s were told they had to cancel (and would be refunded). With what lies ahead maybe would they would not have slept much wherever they were for the night ...
About The Author
More About This Event
In 2016 I stepped away from top level adventure racing after winning the World Champs in Australia. The reasons were that I’d
The closing ceremonies for a remarkable 8 days of racing on Reunion Island took place at Village de Corail tonight. The beach
The last few days of bad weather on the Volcano have made the end of the race particularly hard for the teams at the back of the
The two Russian teams in the race approached the finish today, looking close together on the tracking map, but as they were both moving
More teams have been crossing the finish line of the AR World Championships this morning and I caught up with a couple of the teams with an
The 4th team to cross the finish line at this year’s AR World Champs was ‘Black Hill Salomon Opava Net’ from the Czech
The trek up and over the Piton de la Fournaise volcano is the centrepiece of this World Championship course and teams feel it’s the
You wouldn’t think it’s likely to have a sprint finish in an expedition adventure race, not after 5 days of brutal racing, on a
They said they were here to have fun and explore Reunion and that the result was secondary, that they had their doubts and were not
For the leading teams at ARWC 2018 on Reunion Island the end is almost in sight and the top five teams should finish sometime tomorrow
While the leaders paddle up the west coast towards an early morning finish tomorrow, a third of the teams in the race are still continuing
All of the action on day 4 took place on the East Coast of Reunion, but in some very different locations as the field spread out. The
This morning two teams, who camped out overnight on the River Marsouins, arrived at Transition two at the football field in Saint Benoit,
Teams slow down in the dark, but if it’s a Dark Zone they have to stop altogether as its deemed unsafe to continue. So beating
Losing mere minutes may have devastating consequences tomorrow. After an epic first leg of 106kms of mountain hiking and nearly 8000m of
Day two, and for all of the teams it was still about finishing the first leg of the race, the mighty 106km mountain trek. Most teams
On the morning of day 2 of the race I caught up with the Olympus Red Ants team from South Africa and briefly with the Merrell Adventure
Into the second day of the race the first stage continues as the teams travel through the 3 vast collapsed volcano craters which are such a
With teams running well ahead of the predicted fastest times the leaders arrived at CP4, at the swimming pool in the town of Cilaos before
Teams woke this morning to a fine morning at Hell Bourg, with daylight coming around 5.30am. Some said they’d been a little cold on
I took the opportunity to talk to Race Director Pascal Bahuaud this morning in the race office, while all around us the Raid in France
As teams checked in for today’s race briefing they were given 3 sheets of paper with a course profile, a summary of the stages and a
The atmosphere at the race HQ for ARWC2018 is relaxed compared to most previous World Champs, but it would be hard to be anything else in
The team list for ARWC 2018-Reunion has 64 names on it. Some are there for the experience, some have won a place as a World Series race
SleepMonsters will be working with the ARWS on the live race coverage, and you can read all the stories and news from Rob Howard right here
In an expedition adventure race the competitors cram in so many intense experiences and emotions they lose track of time completely, the
Merrell Adventure Addicts will be lining up amongst the world’s finest Adventure Racing teams at the start inside an old volcano on
When Reunion Island was announced as the venue for the 2018 AR World Champs the response was most likely, ‘Where?’ followed by