Just imagine running eight marathons in a row! Completely crazy! And yet this is the feat the “diagonale des fous” finishers accomplish. When they are presented with the medal and the yellow tee-shirt emblazoned “I survived”, they have climbed 9000m which is equivalent to 25 Eiffel Towers. The Grand Raid is a fantastic physical challenge and those who dare do it are extraordinary sportsmen indeed ! From start to finish competitors climb 5 peaks culminating at about 2000m ( the highest point being 2411m high!). They skirt the volcano, touch the sky on crest paths overlooking deep ravines, the cirque of Cilaos, they walk through Mafate and wade ankle deep in mud in Kerveguen forest. The Grand Raid has become a myth : out of the initial 2500 or so, about 70% make it to the finish. The winner completes the race in about 23 hours while the last finisher is allowed 64 !
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