5th TIME'S A CHARM for LUDOVIC POMMERET at DIAGONALE des FOUS
What an exhilarating 29th edition of the famous Grand Raid Réunion, Diagonale des Fous that was held during October.
After a year of hiatus, over 20,000 fanatics lined the streets to see 3,000 runners take to the start of the 160km / 9,400mD + race, commencing in the South of the Island has long challenged ultrarunners with its notoriously tough terrain. It´ s 2021’s edition lived up to that reputation.
Réunion Island is a French department located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar and the race is traditionally run over the Island’s most mountainous ground. Beginning at the town of Saint-Pierre at the south end of the island, runners made the northwest cut across the island, with plenty of climbing and descending on steep, technical terrain before reaching the finish line in the capital city of Saint-Denis. The true highlight of the race is traversing Réunion Island’s remote Cirque du Mafate, a high altitude volcanic ´furnace´ that's only accessible by foot.
With extreme conditions in the Mafate mountain range taking their toll, it was a real case of the last men standing as the temperatures reached 40-45 degrees celsius during the heat of the day. There is no one with as much experience and that knows the course and how to best manage the climatic changes of one of the toughest 100 miles races on the International Ultra Trail Calendar, than Ludovic Pommeret. The 46 year old Frenchman, after finishing 2nd on three occasions in 2014 and 2019, finally got his moment. He gradually worked his way up from 15th to join a very strong Daniel Jung (ITA) around the 108k mark after nearly 15 hours of racing.
The duo continued to run together for the remainder of the race, crossing the line arm-in-arm to claim victory together. It was a beautiful and well deserved moment in front of thousands of fantical Islanders and Diagonale des Fous fans, for not only both runners...but for Pommeret it was extra special.
“This is a very special one for me after trying 5 times. As soon as the line was crossed, I realized...you know it's done. The emotions, the good memories will stay for a long time. I only decided to go at the last moment, so it was not too planned but the form seemed to be there. So you shouldn't ask yourself too many questions... Obviously I did well and made the right decision to race there"
Meanwhile Dylan Bowman(USA) was a warrior, suffering extreme dehydration in his first appearance on the island, but continuing to finish despite all odds. The 2nd place finisher at this year's Hardrock 100, dug deeper within himself and found everything inside of him to make it to the finish. For more on his race, we are proud to present the special documentary of Dylan´s Diagonale des Fous experience - BEGIN AGAIN.
Through the lens of Ryan Thrower, Dylan unfolds every detail of this new race experience, from the beauty to the insanity. The always calm, ever confident Portland native, he takes us on a rollercoaster journey through the true tests of physical and mental capabilities in an Ultra. This very raw account of Dylan´s Diagonale des Fous experience will leave you breathless. The documentary BEGIN AGAIN, will be screened exclusively on Sunday December 5th at 9:00am (PST) 6:00pm (CET) on Dylan´s Youtube Page.
¨In all my years of ultrarunning, I’ve never encountered a race as complicated and difficult as what I experienced. Simultaneously disappointed and proud. Around the halfway point, I was feeling confidently on track for a great performance. It’s wild how quickly things spiraled out of control. Staggering up an impossibly steep climb in the fully exposed midday sun and completely out of fluids, my body came to a screeching halt. After a 40min break to cool and rehydrate, I resumed forward progress because the remoteness of my location gave me no other choice. The next eight hours were complete hell. Physical pain and existential dread accompanied every step along a course where every mile is demonically hard. But goddamnit I made it through.¨
Trail du Bourbon : Gregoire Curmer 1ST
Meanwhile the 1st place finisher in Diagonale des Fous from 2019, Gregoire Curmer decided to take on the 105km / 6140 mD+ Trail du Bourbon. After finishing 8th at UTMB alongside teammate Diego ´Zpeedy´ Pazos, he was ready to add another result to his growing palmares. While he admits it wasn't easy with the heat of the day really testing him as the sun came up when he passed through Chemin des Anglais. He never had time to relax, as the chase from behind was ever present throughout the entire race, as Thomas Balabaud kept the gap around 15-20 minutes. Nonetheless the Chef from Chamonix, sealed another victory, extending his great tropical island record.
"I had to really get out of my comfort zone as soon as I entered Chemin des Anglais, I really suffered from the heat and I had to fight and do everything to hold out. But finishing with now a double victory at Reunion Island really means a lot to me and stepping outside of my comfort zone was worth it".
For our Compressport International Athletes, the event has been long awaited and has been placed at the forefront of our elite runners goals since the race was given the approval to proceed this year. Across the 4 major races, 13 of our top athletes were more motivated than ever and ready to give their best efforts.
A race that provided a lot more than expected with unfortunate course markings never stopped our athletes from giving up the fight. Grégoire Curmer took a great win, Ludovic Pommeret finish equal 2nd while Dav Hauss was impressive with 6th place in his longest ever race!