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The Grand Raid of Reunion Island

An iconic race!

Reunion Island, a trail running destination

Reunion Island is heaven on earth for those who enjoy outdoor sports, and there are almost 1,000 kilometres of hiking trails winding all over the island. 42% of the island is listed as World Heritage by Unesco.

You can enjoy all kinds of sports on the ultimate island (MTB, paragliding, diving, deep-sea fishing, canyoning) but one of them is unique, original and sometimes offers a brand-new experience: the Grand Raid of Reunion Island!

 

The Grand Raid of Reunion Island is considered a legendary “Ultra Trail”, due to the difficulty encountered and the rugged mountain tracks of the island. There are four races in this competition, including the “Diagonale des Fous” (Madmen’s Diagonal) which is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT), which groups together the most iconic races in the discipline.

La Diagonale des fous has even been named the most iconic Ultra Trail in the world by the French magazine l’Equipe.

How to sign up for the Grand Raid of Reunion Island 

 

If you would like to take on the challenge of the next edition of the Grand Raid, here’s how to sign up:

  • To participate in the Diagonale des Fous, you must be over 20 years old, and be able to prove that you have participated and finished two trail runs or ultramarathons and earned at least 85 points.
  • To participate in the Trail de Bourbon, you need a minimum of 75 points.
  • To participate in the two other races linked to the Grand Raid of Reunion Island, the “Mascareignes” and the “Zembrocal Trail”, you don’t need any points but we advise you to get the right experience and training beforehand.

 

Once you’ve completed the registration form, runners from Reunion Island will be chosen at random, as well as French runners who do not live on Reunion Island. You can fill in the registration form on the website for the Grand Raid of Reunion Island.

The Grand Raid of Reunion Island: cross the island’s most beautiful landscapes

Reunion Island boasts an exceptional mountainous heritage, contrasted terrain (peaks, high-altitude balconies, natural habitats, plains, rainforests, sheer cliffs, rivers, small islands (îlets) full of history, etc.), and various tourist offers, that ensure this adventure is a huge success every year.

 

The Grand Raid of Reunion Island departs from the seafront in Saint-Pierre. Runners then pass through the National Park, and cross the three Cirques of Mafate, Salazie and CIlaos. Along the way, they will see the Piton de la Fournaise and the Piton des Neiges and their adventure will come to a close at La Redoute Stadium in Saint Denis.

 

From Saint-Pierre in the south and Saint-Denis La Redoute in the north, to take on the “Pitons, Cirques and Rampart”, and cross a succession of iconic sites and landscapes, runners need good breathing techniques and tenacity, to face the cool evenings in the highlands and the hot sun throughout the day, where the rugged rocky terrain reveals a primary, wild, unique and spectacular world, with a change of scenery guaranteed.

Ranking for the 2019 edition

Men’s Results

 

  1. BENOIT GIRONDEL FRA 23:18:48
  2. FRANCOIS D’HAENE FRA 23:18:48
  3. MAXIME CAZAJOUS FRA 24:40:04
Women’s Results

 

  1. JOCELYNE PAULY FRA 28:54:26
  2. AUDREY TANGUY FRA 29:23:25
  3. JULIETTE BLANCHET FRA 29:23:25

How can you prepare for an ultramarathon on Reunion Island ?

Not everyone has the ability to run in an ultramarathon like the Grand Raid of Reunion Island. It requires intense training beforehand, as well as being in good physical condition. If you have considered participating in the “Diagonale des Fous”, you can start training by following our recommendations.

Regular weekly training

You need to train on a regular basis At least 4 sessions per week are essential to be able to run an ultramarathon. We also recommend regular physical training such as weightlifting.

Long-term preparation 

You should start your preparation well before the race. Start preparing for the race around ten months before, and make sure you put on the brakes one week before the competition.

Adapt your body to intense effort and differences in altitude

Get used to running for a long time and along tracks with steep uphill/downhill sections. If you live on flat terrain, you can train in a gym to replace the training sessions in mountainous terrain.

Test equipment

Make sure you test your equipment before the day of the race. Some of your equipment could be faulty or maybe not suitable for your body shape and/or the way you run.

Mental preparation

This race is a long and difficult one. The landscapes you’ll be crossing may be magnificent, but the challenge will not always be pleasurable. Make sure you prepare yourself mentally, to be ready to take on the Grand Raid of Reunion Island.

Study the terrain

We recommend you study the terrain before taking on this race. If you know the terrain well, you will be able to manage your race and your endurance much better. If you can’t go there before the actual race, you can study the map.

Manage your pace and endurance

With the right training and experience, you’ll be able to develop your own strategy for the race. Learn to know your own body and know how to manage your effort.

 

 

Good recovery

After such an effort, you must remember to recover properly. Make sure you plan for recovery time and plenty of rest. If you do not recover properly after this kind of effort, this could lead to serious injuries.