Posted in News on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 by The Beachcomber News Correspondent
The 2015 Ultra Trail Raidlight Beachcomber (UTRB), an international sports and tourism event staged on 01 and 02 August, has confirmed the success of the inaugural edition last year. Featuring three different distances (120km, 42km and 10km), it was a thrilling experience which gave the participants the opportunity to take in some breath-taking scenery. To help them tackle the difficulties along the way, ‘5-star’ supervision and supplies were provided. The UTRB Village on the beach of Shandrani Resort & Spa welcomed the trail runners and their accompanying persons in a friendly atmosphere, with hot meals and unlimited drinks throughout this two-day event.
Christophe Le Saux, one of the best trail running athletes in the world and the patron of UTRB 2015, won the main race, the Trail des 7 Couleurs, which is the only ultra-trail race in Mauritius. This 120-km event is recognised by the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and is a qualifying race for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) and the Grand Raid de La Réunion. These events feature on the calendar of the prestigious Ultra Trail World Tour and count among the toughest trail running competitions in the world.
The French champion nicknamed The Jaguar edged the Mauritian, Romain Bayol and Georges-Marie Hoareau, from Reunion Island, to win the race In 16 hours and 44 minutes. The 120-km circuit started at St Aubin and stretched across the top of Piton of de la Petite Rivière Noire, Parakeet and Piton Savanne, as well as the Mare Longue Dam, Gollum’s forest, the Black River salt marshes, Domaine de Case Noyale and the untamed southern coastline to reach the finishing line at the Shandrani Resort & Spa.
In the women’s race, the Spanish Uxue Fraile Azpeita confirmed her status as favourite by adding her name to the list of winners of the Trail des 7 Couleurs. Marie-Alexandre Clain and Anne-Catherine Girard, both from Reunion Island, finished second and third respectively.
Frédéric Duchemann, the mountain and cross-country running champion of Reunion Island in 2014, outpaced his compatriots, Jean-Marie Cadet and Jean-Raymond Hoareau, to win the Trail de la Perruche. The 2014 winner of the race, the Mauritian, Vishal Ittoo, finished fourth. Reunion Island also swept all the places on the women’s podium, with Claire Nedelec winning ahead of Elisabeth Siroux and Elise Castagno. The 42km route took runners on the slopes and trails in the central and south-eastern part of the island from Grand Bassin and through Saint Aubin, Savinia and Pont Naturel to Shandrani Resort & Spa.
The Trail du Souffleur also took place on the last 10km of the route, between Savinia and Shandrani Resort & Spa , along the cliffs of Le Souffleur and Pont Naturel, as well as the beaches of Le Bouchon and La Cambuse. The Mauritian, Xavier Verny and Marcelle Puy, from Reunion Island, won the race in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.
In addition to representing a sports challenge, the UTRB is positioned as a tourist event that allows both local and international participants and the media to discover Mauritius. Just like in 2014, the organisers wanted to promote the destination, its landscapes and high-end accommodation. The aim is to showcase trail running in Mauritius and local runners on the international stage.
The unique and fascinating routes of this trail event were designed by Benoît Laval, a leading expert in trail running in France and General Manager of the equipment manufacturer, Raidlight, a major sponsor of the UTRB with Beachcomber. This provided an opportunity for participants to discover the beautiful regions and landscapes of the island, with a succession of mountains, forests, savannah, cliffs and beaches.
The event was also a way to contribute to a good cause: Beachcomber’s Fondation Espoir et Développement (Foundation for Hope and Development) will use the funds collected through registration for the UTRB 2015 to support grassroots sports associations.
In their own words:
Christophe Le Saux (winner, men’s 120km race)
“The trail looks great and shows a different side of the island aside from the beaches and turquoise lagoon. The perse surrounding nature is impressive and sublime. At times it feels like being in the jungle and at other times, in the African savannah. The UTRB is a great ecotourism product that the organisers can use to attract visitors.”
Uxue Fraile Azpeita (winner, women’s 120km race)
“I didn’t know about Mauritius before the race and discovering the island was an amazing experience. This is a fabulous trail, though a difficult one! The terrain is relatively flat, but there also quite a few slopes, some of which are pretty challenging. I’ll probably come back next year.”