Reports 2009

Merrell Sky Race - Le Trail des Cerces at Serre Chevalier, France

Friday night, after a long time in the car I arrived at la Salle les Alpes. My colleagues from the DUV promotion team were already asleep. So I met them at breakfast in the morning. Topic no. 1 was still the Transeurope Footrace. Also we made some plans for the day. We decided to go for some shopping first to get some supplies. After that we went to Serre Chevalier to pick up our start numbers. Back at the hotel we went on a small walk up to the skilift station. There we relaxed a bit and enjoyed the sunshine. When we came back to the hotel it was almost time for dinner. At 7:15pm there was an organised own pasta party for the runners at the hotel. It was much easier to go there than to go to the official pasta party at Serre Chevalier. About 9pm we went up to our rooms. There we fixed everything for the next day.

At 3:15am the clock was ringing. The breakfast buffet was already fixed in the evening. So we can have it when ever we liked. At 4:15am we went to the start. There was no backbag check. It was necessary to take some things with you, because there were only three aid stations. So people would have a long time between these stations. People had to carry 0.75l to drink, a wind jacket and a whistle. Also it was advised to carry a light and a rescue blanket. Just before the start there was a short introduction and some welcome words. At 5am about 800 runners started for the 68km with 3500m altitudes. Because of the huge amount of runners there was a crowd during the first 15km. It was almost like running a city marathon. But as soon as there was the first uphill you changed your mind. At half way up this hill there was the first aid station. Starting there the uphill was getting much steeper. At the summit of the Galibier there was a wonderful view of the alps of France. At 3228m we reached the highest point of this race. But there was not much time to enjoy this moment. Already we had to go downhill. Almost as steep as the uphill. In the valley the course ran besides a little stream to the second big hill of this race. A part of this hill I had already raced before in the “La Fortìche de Maurienne”. The course ran over the Rochilles direction toward Beraudes. The Rochilles was the first part of the uphill and was not as steep. When we crossed it, we went away from the “old” course. We had to run downhill until we reached a small plateau. At this the second aid station was placed. We had finished the first 39km. After some refreshment we had to go up a steep hill again. At the beginning there was a small path, after that it was more and more a boulder tract. We passed a small lake before the last meters up to the summit which was becoming very difficult. I had to use from time to time my hands, so I wouldn’t fall. Before we reached the top we already heard some locals playing music. Once there I had almost no chance to take a deep breathe before I had to go downhill with the same steepness. There were placed some ropes, so people can hold on them and secure themselves. After we went downhill the first 200m altitudes we had to cross some boulder- and snow fields. The path guided us was an easy uphill to the next top, the Chardonnet. Starting at the little summit cross it was only downhill until the next aid station. From there on it were still 600m altitudes to do. Against the other uphill it was more flat. Jens Lukas caught up just after the summit cross. He was also here with the DUV promotion team. I tried to follow him and we ran the rest of course together. Just before we reached the summit of Buffère we caught up to another DUV runner. Stefan Hinze had some knee problems, so he had to go slowly. The last time I saw him this morning was just before the first uphill. I did not suspect to catch up again. Especially, because today I was not the fastest as well. We tried to animate him to run with us, but without any result. Sascha Velten and the runners of the DLV nation team already waited for us, when we arrived at the finish. At this race there was also the Trail Worldcup. There Matthias Dippacher was the fastest German and placed seventh. At the finish the first act was to get something to drink. We just finished drinking, when Stefan arrived. So there was only one more of our team missing. We decided to go back to the hotel and have a shower there. After it I took some rest, because I had to drive home soon. The rest of our team went back to have a party with the runners of the DLV national team.

Men:   Women:
Place Name Surname Time Place Name Surname Time
1 Thomas Lorblanchet 6:38:18 1 Cecilia Mora 7:53:18
2 Sherpa Dachhiri 6:56:08 2 Angela Mudge 8:12:29
3 Ludovic Pommeret 6:56:08 3 Elizabeth Hawker 8:22:21
119 Rainer Koch 9:55:17

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