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Ultra Distance & Trails Running: other races around the World

Philippe in Amazonia (© P. Gatta).
Philippe in Amazonia (© P. Gatta)

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Trail in the Sinai desert, Egypt (© P. Gatta).
Trail in the Sinai desert, Egypt (© P. Gatta)

Guyane Raid Amazonie: Amazonia rain forest, French Guiana

The Guyane Raid Amazonie is a 6 days race taking place in Amazonia (French Guiana). Six stages of 20 km, 23 km, 24 km, 26 km, 37 km and 20 km. Half of them are in the deep rainforest where runners have sometimes to cross rivers and swamps. The trail is made only a few weeks before the race.


Race Information:

End of the 40 km stage in the jungle (© P. Gatta)
End of the 40 km stage in the jungle (© P. Gatta)

Last stage of the Guyane Raid Amazonie (© P. Gatta)
Last stage of the Guyane Raid Amazonie (© P. Gatta)

Diagonale des Fous: La Reunion Island

La Reunion is a beautiful island located in the Indian ocean off the coast of Mauritius. The Diagonale des Fous is also called Grand Raid of la Réunion. It's an ultra non-stop race of 125 km and 8,000 meters of total ascent. The race starts at Langevin, crosses the volcano Piton de la Fournaise, and three calderas: Cilaos, Malfate and Salazie to finish at Saint Denis.


Race Information:

La Réunion (© P. Gatta)
La Réunion (© P. Gatta)

La Réunion (© P. Gatta)
La Réunion (© P. Gatta)

La Réunion (© P. Gatta)
La Réunion (© P. Gatta)

La Réunion (© P. Gatta)
La Réunion (© P. Gatta)

Guadarun: Guadeloupe Island

Guadarun is an adventure raid taking place in the Guadeloupe archipelago. During the 6 days of race, the runners can enjoy multiple sceneries of the various islands: Grande-Terre, la Désirade, Marie-Galante, Basse-Terre and Les Saintes. Of course, the trails are also very different from one island to the other; sand, mud, rocks, forest and beaches.


Race Information:

Guadarun (© P. Gatta)
Guadarun (© P. Gatta)

Bivouac on the beach (© P. Gatta)
Bivouac on the beach (© P. Gatta)

Guadarun, stage in forest (© P. Gatta)
Guadarun, stage in forest (© P. Gatta)

Guadarun (© P. Gatta)
Guadarun (© P. Gatta)

Iditasport: Alaska, USA

Iditasport is Ultra-race taking place in Alaska in winter, along the famous Iditarod trail (dog sled race). Iditasport has 3 different divisions: foot, ski and bike. There are also three options for the distance: the traditional Iditasport 130 miles (210 km), which goes from Knik to Finger Lake. Time limit is 4 days. The Iditasport Extreme runs 350 miles up to McGrath. Time limit is 10 days. The Iditasport Impossible runs 1100 miles up the entire Iditarod Trail to Nome. Time limit is 40 days.

The competitors have to be self sufficient; they have to pull in a sled with their gear, tent, sleeping bag, clothe, food, stove…for the entire length of the race. The race is pretty committed with very few marks along the trail, long distance between the lodges and no rescue team.

In February 2001, Philippe participated to the Iditasport 130 in the foot division. With the hope to run the 210 km, he didn't take any snowshoe and used instead normal trail running shoes with big and warm socks protected by full GoreTex gaiters. The race started in fairly good conditions with very cold but clear and dry conditions. Unfortunately the weather changed quickly into a storm which lasted several days. The temperature dropped to -35ºC and the trail was covered by a meter (3 feet) of fresh snow. After two days in the blizzard and 90 km covered, he met two moose hunters on snow-machine decided to stop the race.


Race Information:

Iditasport start (© P. Gatta)
Iditasport start (© P. Gatta)

Storm coming on Yentna river and Denali (© P. Gatta)
Storm coming on Yentna river and Denali (© P. Gatta)

Défi de l'Oisans 2006: Alps, France

The Défi de l'Oisans is a 200 km race round the Ecrins National Park (Alps, France). The trail starts and finishes in Les Deux Alpes and follows the GR 54. The race is very well organized by a friendly Team. Below are the details of the stages:

Sunday 30/07, stage 1: Les 2 Alpes - Auris en Oisans: 14 km, +810 m
Sunday 30/07, stage 2: Auris en Oisans - Le Chazelet: 28 km, +1790 m
Monday 31/07, stage 3: Le Chazelet - Villar d'Arêne. 5 km "contre le montre", +430 m
Monday 31/07, stage 4: Villar d'Arêne - Monêtier les bains. 21 km, +780 m
Tuesday 01/08, stage 5: Monêtier les bains - Vallouise. 19 km, +950 m
Wednesday 02/08, stage 6: Vallouise - La Chapelle en Valgaudemar. 54 km, +2940 m
Thursday 03/08, stage 7: La Chapelle - Valsenestre. 31 km, +2510 m
Friday 04/08, stage 8: Valsenestre - Les 2 Alpes. 18 km, +1790 m

Total: 200 km, +12,000 m of positive ascent


Race Information:

Defi de l'Oisans (© P. Gatta)
Defi de l'Oisans (© P. Gatta)

La Meije, Defi de l'Oisans (© p. Gatta).
La Meije, Defi de l'Oisans (© P. Gatta)

Ultra Trail of Cromagnon: from Limone to Cap d'Ail, Alps, Italy and France

The Cromagnon is a non-stop trail starting in the ski resort of Limone (Italy) and finishing at the beach of Cap d'Ail (France) near Monaco. The race crosses the National Park of Mercantour and follows somehow the GR 52.

There is also a shorter version of the trail called Neander-Trail (57 km). It starts half way of Cromagnon at 8pm and follows the same trail.

Race Information:

Philippe le long du GR5 (© Pascal Clementi)
Philippe le long du GR5 (© Pascal Clementi)

Philippe le long du GR5 (© Pascal Clementi)
Philippe le long du GR5 (© Pascal Clementi)

Grand Raid of Verdon: France

Philippe participated to the 8th edition in 2000. The race was 120 km long with 6,100 m of total ascent. It started and finished at Aiguine and followed various trails in the beautiful Canyon of Verdon. There were 3 stages: 1) Aiguine - Rougon: 36 km, +1580m / -1380m. 2) Rougon - Aiguine : 47km, +2470m / -2670m. 3) Aiguine - Aiguine : 42km, +2060m / -2060m.

The race is now called Verdon Canyon Challenge.

Race Information:

Canyon of Verdon (© P. Gatta)
Canyon of Verdon (© P. Gatta)

Canyon of Verdon (© P. Gatta)
Canyon of Verdon (© P. Gatta)

White River: Crystal Mountain, Washington, USA

White River is a 50 miles trail run in Crystal Mountain, Washington. The race has been created in 1993 and is a national championship event since 2001. The race offers great views of Mount Rainier and the northwest forests.

Race Information:

Views of Mount Rainier National Park (© P. Gatta)
Views of Mount Rainier National Park (© P. Gatta)

During the White River Trail, Mount Rainier behind (© P. Gatta)
During the White River Trail, Mount Rainier behind (© P. Gatta)

Mount Rainier (© P. Gatta)
Mount Rainier (© P. Gatta)

Finish line of White River Trail (© P. Gatta)
Finish line of White River Trail (© P. Gatta)

Desert Cup: Wadi Rum desert, Jordan

The Desert Cup is an unsupported race of 168 km (4 marathons) non-stop. The runners have to carry their gear and food and must complete the race within 62 hours.

The first editions of the race took place in Jordan. The trail went through 104 km of soft sand in the Wadi Rum desert, then 24 km of various trail and 41 km of mountain track. The race ended in the beautiful archaeological site of Petra. Marco Olmo won the 2000 edition in 21 hours 41 minutes.
Then the race moved to Mali for following editions.


Race Information:

Wadi Rum (© P. Gatta)
Wadi Rum (© P. Gatta)

Petra (© P. Gatta)
Petra (© P. Gatta)

Totem Pole Race: Monument Valley, USA

The Totem Pole Race is a 200 km trail in Monument Valley. During 6 days, the race goes around Cooper Canyon, San Juan River and Mystery Valley.


Race Information:

Totem Pole Race: Monument Valley (© P. Gatta)
Totem Pole Race: Monument Valley (© P. Gatta)

Totem Pole Race: Monument Valley (© p. Gatta).
Totem Pole Race: Monument Valley (© P. Gatta)

Trans Sinai: Sinai desert, Egypt

The Trans Sinai is a race starting in Sharm El Sheikh and ending at the Monastery of St. Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai. The 5 stages offer a variety views along the Red Sea, the desert and the Mountains around St. Catherine.


Race Information:

Trans Sinai, Egypte (© P. Gatta)
Trans Sinai, Egypte (© P. Gatta)

Trans Sinai, Egypte (© P. Gatta).
Trans Sinai, Egypte (© P. Gatta)


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