Grand Raid Race – La Réunion

We’re mixing things up a bit with this French tradition because it actually happens on La Réunion, an overseas territory of France. Every year, the island of Réunion holds a race that attracts many runners from across the world. This year the Grand Raid will take place from the 18th to the 21st of October.

The race is one of the hardest in the world because runners have to cover 165km of varying trails. The course also has an altitude change of around 9000m, which introduces extra strain when running. For these reasons, the race also has the nickname ‘La diagonale des fous’, which translates to ‘Mandmen’s Diagonal’. Considering how difficult the race is, you can see why!

However runners have the beautiful Ile de la Réunion as their racecourse. It’s a small island, but has a humongous variety in landscape. From coastal beaches to forests to mountains and even dry shrubland, La Réunion has many faces. This makes the run both more beautiful but also all the more difficult to prepare for. Luckily the runners usually come with support from their families and other spectators. Volunteers also set up stands and picnic benches along the race track to cheer on the runners.

The Grand Raid race is actually part of a series of four races: Trail de Bourbon, Zembrocal trail, Mascareignes, and of course, Diagonale des Fous. All the races are difficult, but the Grand Raid is the longest and most difficult of all. Do you think you’d be up to the challenge?

Click HERE to discover more French traditions.