Lead from Behind

LEAD FROM BEHIND

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. —Nelson Mandela

 

I just so love this quote by Mandela one of history’s truly great legendary and inspiring leaders. This guiding principle is what no doubt helped Mandela lead South Africa towards the democracy it is today, even from behind the secluded prison bars of Robbin Island.

Leading from behind is one of the most effective, rewarding and empowering leadership strategies. It goes against the traditional image we hold of great leaders, leading the troops from the front by setting the example.

As a coach during a training camp for the Marathon des Sables 2016, I had the opportunity to put this into practice. Marathon des Sables or “MDS” as it is affectionately called by most aficionados is a gruelling self-sufficiency multi-stage running event which takes place every year in April in the Sahara. The event is celebrating its 31st year this year and will gather over 1300 international participants at the start line on 8 April. Participants are required to carry a minimum weight of 6.5kg with a minimum calorie allowance of 2000Kcal/day covering a total distance of 250km with temperatures exceeding 45C over dunes, jebels and scorched sun-dried salt lakes.

The pre-race training camp last week in Lanzarote provided participants with an opportunity to run long distances on consecutive days in the heat and on demanding terrain simulating that encountered in the Sahara. It also allowed them to test their equipment and exchange with coaches on nutritional and hydration strategies.

Attendees were divided into groups of differing ability depending on the objectives they had set themselves.

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. —Sam Walton

Coaching one of the groups provided me with one of the most insightful weeks on leadership, mentoring and providing feedback. How do you support and develop each participant in the group giving them the self-confidence to learn and grow? This is where leading from behind comes in. At times I would be running ahead setting the pace. Then I would slow down and run in the group egging them on to the next landmark. Other times I would drop down to the back of the pack and let them set the pace. After all isn’t it all about a balance between pushing people outside their comfort zone because you know this is what will help them have the strength to face adversity in the challenge they have set themselves? Then again you also need to be there to monitor their progress and not push them beyond their limits or dampen their enthusiasm. A fine line …

A good leader is also a good listener. Managers are advised to listen 70% and speak 30% when providing feedback. It is surprising what you learn from coachees when you listen actively. I learnt a wealth of useful information listening to each participant in my run group. Listening gave me a better understanding of the difficulties of each and everyone: ranging from juggling personal and professional commitments to finding the time to train, fitting training around consecutive business trips, adopting a healthy nutritional strategy with a demanding work schedule and business dinners, dealing with sports injuries due to increased mileage, apprehension of the unknown, fear of failure, professional stress impacting on training performance…the list is endless. But listening helped me to be specific in my advice.

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter

A leader should also enhance competitiveness. Many in my group had set out with the objective of completing Marathon des Sables and getting that beautiful big shiny medal handed over to them by the race Director Patrick Bauer, ticking MDS off on their bucket-list of ultra-running achievements and adding it to their run CV. I know the Rorys, Simons and Adams in my group will cross that finish line but I also know that they can achieve much more and that they ought to set themselves the more specific and achievable objective of ranking well.

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on ~ Walter Lippman

And so my final message to my coachees after a week of learning from them about leadership, mentoring and providing feedback is:

I won’t be there with you at the start-line although I’d love to be but I will be be tracking your progress live on-line and living every minute of the MDS experience with you.

BAMBI

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Comrades to host annual AIMS Congress

The AIMS World Congress is open to all affiliated member races and is staged biennially. The purpose of the Congress is to present a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and expertise to promote and improve the quality of member races and an opportunity to build relationships. 
 
The first AIMS World Congress was held in London in 1982 and the most recent in Prague in 2012.  AIMS World Congresses have also been hosted in Tokyo, Miami, Berlin, Manila, Melbourne, Rotterdam, Bangkok, Lisbon, Macau, Barcelona, Enschede, Kosice, Torino, Niagara Falls, Valencia, Xiamen, Sao Paulo and Athens.
 
The 20th World Congress is being hosted by the Comrades Marathon, in Durban South Africa and marks the historical occasion of the first time it will be staged on the African Continent, widely recognised as the home of the world’s greatest distance runners.
 

Guest speakers will include:

  • Blance Moila, an advocate of women’s participation in long-distance running
  • Tim Noakes author of the Lore of Running and who has published more than 450 scientific publications
  • Luis Felipe Posso, a top sport’s management agent
  • Elana Meyer, South African Olymic medallist 

For more information on the AIMS 20th World Congress:

http://www.aims2014.co.za/home.htm

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TEMOIGNAGES D’IZNIK ULTRA LE 19 avril 2014

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“Nous courons, non pas parce que nous pensons que ça nous fait du bien, mais parce que nous aimons ça et que nous ne pouvons pas obtenir ce bien-être autrement … Plus notre société et notre travail restreindront notre liberté, plus il sera nécessaire de trouver une issue à cette soif de liberté. Personne ne peut dire, ‘Vous ne devez pas courir plus vite que cela, ou sauter plus haut que cela. L’esprit humain est indomptable.”

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Coraline Chapatte, 42km

35ème kilomètre, il en reste sept jusqu’à l’arrivée. Je me sens incroyablement fraîche. Heureuse de courir, aucune douleur, pas de baisse d’énergie. J’entre dans un petit village (Müşküle) et mes yeux se remplissent de larmes, impossible de retenir l’émotion qui me gagne.

Devant chaque porte, dans chaque petite ruelle, des villageois assis et qui applaudissent les coureurs qui passent. Ils sont là depuis des heures mais chaque fois qu’un coureur entre dans le village, c’est le même accueil: applaudissements, encouragements. Mais en plus de cela, ces villageois envoient une énergie particulière. Je vous promets, je ne suis pas quelqu’un qui pleure facilement ou qui suis particulièrement émotive, mais en l’espace de 30 secondes j’ai complètement été gagnée par l’émotion.

Et lorsque les enfants ont commencé à tendre leurs petites mains pour que je leur tape dedans et qu’un peu plus loin d’autres enfants se sont mis à courir avec moi, mon visage s’est couvert de larmes.

Vraiment impossible de décrire par des mots ce que j’ai vécu en traversant ce minuscule village. C’est comme si durant ces 800 mètres, j’étais sous l’effet d’un puissant élixir, un élixir d’authenticité et de chaleur humaine.

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Benoît Laval, 42km , deuxième homme

J’ai trouvé l’organisation de l’Ultramarathon d’Iznik très pro, et les 800 coureurs sur des distances de 10km à 80km sont très bien accueillis. Caner, l’organisateur, a voulu un but au parcours, et c’est un tracé par les crêtes autour du lac d’Iznik, à gauche des montagnes enneigées, à droite le lac. Le parcours est roulant et très abordable. A deux heures d’Istanbul, c’est un formidable prétexte pour aller faire un joli voyage dans cette ville historique au fin fond de l’Europe et traverser le Bosphore pour aller faire ce trail en Asie.

Pour ma part, j’ai fait le 42km, allant faire l’Annapurna Mandala Trail la semaine suivante.

Ce parcours un peu trop roulant n’était pas à l’avantage de mon entraînement moyen, mais je me suis fait plaisir, et j’ai attrapé la 2ème place, la meilleure place que ma forme me permettait. Je retournerais à Istanbul, je retournerais à Iznik…

 

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Jo Meek, 80km, première au classement général

 

L’organisation était irréprochable. On m’a très bien accueillie que ce soit à l’inscription à la course  ou les soins médicaux pendant la course ou encore l’arrivée. La communauté locale était très impliquée et tout le monde nous encourageait. Le parcours était super bien balisé et les coureurs ont emprunté des petits chemins ainsi que de la piste pour traverser des fermes, des oliviers et ensuite quelques passages sur  route. Le climat exceptionnel était idéal pour faire des performances. Sans oublier le paysage spectaculaire – des pics enneigés, le grand lac ….tout cela nous pousser à aller encore plus vite.

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 Images © Iznik Ultra

 

 

 

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La série Iznik Ultra le 19 avril 2014

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Traduction du texte original : iancorless.com (copyright)

Les coureurs britanniques dominent la série Iznik Ultra en Turquie.

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A juste 2 heures de route d’Istanbul, Iznik est une petite ville tranquille fréquentée par des vacanciers. Située au bord d’un lac idyllique en Turquie, la ville s’anime à l’occasion de la série Iznik Ultra. L’homme derrière cette série de courses est Caner Odabasoglu, coureur de fond passionnée et directeur de course. A sa troisième édition cette série fait partie des courses phares en Turquie.

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Il y a 4 distances de courses: 130km, 80km, un marathon et un 10km. Caner et son équipe MCR Racesetter proposent donc des distances accessibles à tous. L’épreuve de 130km est la plus longue course ultra-distance en Turquie et a déjà fidélisé un nombre croissant de coureurs locaux avides de se tester sur cette distance.

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En juste 3 ans le nombre de participants a augmenté considérablement. L’américaine Amy Sproston a gagné les 80km en 2013 et a établi un nouveau record sur l’épreuve. Cette année il y a eu un contingent important de coureurs britanniques qui s’est joint à d’autres coureurs internationaux venant de la France,  la Chine, l’Afrique du Sud, l’Allemagne, l’Australie et la Nouvelle Zélande donnant ainsi une dimension internationale à la série.

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130K

A minuit pétantes le départ des 130km a été donné sur la place centrale d’Iznik et les coureurs se sont lancés sur le parcours dans le sens de la montre autour du lac. Les premiers 60km constituent la partie la plus dure de la course et s’est effectuée dans la pénombre à la lampe frontale. La deuxième moitié de la course s’effectue principalement le jour et est beaucoup plus roulant et plat. Dès le départ il y a un petit groupe qui s’est détaché du reste et a mené la course. Après 11km de course Marcus Scotney (Montane) et Akin Yeneceli étaient déjà loin devant Bryan Edwards de la Nouvelle Zélande. Cependant au PC1 Bryan Edwards est passé en premier et il est devenu évident que les deux leaders s’étaient trompés de chemin. Ils ont passé le PC1 avec 30min de retard sur le premier et Scotney était visiblement frustré. Pourtant il a su géré sa frustration et le temps perdu en remontant un à un les coureurs qui l’avaient dépassé faisant preuve de gestion de course hors norme. L’écart est passé  de 26min à 6min au 60km et Marcus n’était plus qu’à 6 min du premier. La fatigue s’était déjà installée chez ceux qui sont partis trop vite et qui n’ont pas su géré leur course. Mais pouvait-il se raccrocher ? Il a fini par dépasserYavuz et Ivanovski de la Macedonie pour prendre la tête de la course jusqu’à la fin. Il a donc réalisé son objectif d’établir le record de l’épreuve en traversant la ligne d’arrivée en 12:53:59.. Mahmut Yavuz coureur local a remporté la deuxième place et Zhikica Ivanovski est arrivé en troisième position.

Coté féminines il n’y avait que trois participantes. Elena Polyakova qui détient le record de l’épreuve était blessée et a décidé de courir le marathon. Bakiye Duran légende locale de course ultra a pu ainsi prendre la vedette en gagnant l’édition 2014 – elle a mené la course du début à la fin suivie de Svetiana Stojanoska.

 

  1. Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 nouveau record
  2. Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
  3. Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41

 

  1. Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
  2. Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08

 

 

 

 

80k

 

photo by Niandi Carmont

photo by Niandi Carmont

Joe Meek (Scott Running) et Tracy Dean (Innov 8) sont parties très vite dès le départ des 80km. Jusqu’au 10km Dean menait la course avec Meek juste 1 minute derrière. Au PC1 Meek a pris la tête de la course mixte jusqu’à la fin. Dean est restée sur ses talons avec un écart de 1 à 2 minutes maximum. Cependant Dean a commencé à avoir des problèmes digestifs qui l’ont ralentie et elle a fini par abandonner à 60km. Meek a mené sa course de façon presqu’obsessionnelle avec l’intention de remporté l’épreuve au classement générale et de battre le record de l’épreuve établi par Amy Sproston.Aykut Celikbas pionnier de l’ultra en Turquie a pris la deuxième place après l’abandon de Dean. Meek a explosé le record de l’épreuve en 6:52:17, confirmant ainsi les prévisions de course en tant que favorite après sa deuxième place au MDS en 2013 et sa victoire au 2014 Coastal Challenge. Les dernièrs 10km bitumés et tout plat ont permis à Joe de dérouler et foncer et ainsi d’exploser le record de l’épreuve en passant la ligne d’arrivée en moins de 7 heures. Celikbas et Kara sont arrivés deuxième et troisième respectivement mais l’héroïne du jour était Joe ! Yasemin Goktas et Ayse Beril Basliail sont arrivées deuxième et troisième chez les féminines.

 

  1. Jo Meek (Scott Running) 6:52:17 nouveau record, première au classement general et première féminine
  2. Aykut Celikbas 7:41:34
  3. Firat Kara 7:46:07 (tbc)

 

  1. Jo Meek (Scott Running)
  2. Yasemin Goktas 9:45:34
  3. Ayse Beril Basliqil 9:54:45

 

Marathon

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Dès les premiers mètres Robbie Britton (inov-8) s’est affirmé en prenant la tête de course. Avec une bonne foulée et le sourire aux lèvres il a pris son pied au soleil Anatolien. Un mois d’entraînement à  La Palma aux Canaries pour bien préparer sa prochaine course Transvulcania s’est montré très bénéfique. En deuxième position le français Benoit Laval de Raidlight. Il est devenu évident à chaque PC que Britton remporterait la course mais de combien ? Le britannique a fini par lui aussi établir un nouveau record de l’épreuve en remportant le marathon en 3:08:19. Benoît Laval s’est placé deuxième en 3:30:38 et Duygun Yurteri troisième en 3:31:56. Benoît avant la course disait ne pas être au top de sa forme et devait partir au Népal pour faire 300km 10 jours plus tard.

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Elena Polyakova victorieuse sûr les 130km les éditions précédentes et trainant une blessure a décidé de ne pas se lancer sur du long en courant le marathon. Elle a gagné le marathon en 3:47:26 devant Aysen Solak et la britannique Helen Southcott troisième.

 

 

  1. Robbie Britton (inov-8) 3:08:19
  2. Benoit Laval (Raidlight) 3:30:38
  3. Duygun Yurteri 3:31:56

 

  1. Elena Polyakova 3:47:26
  2. Aysen Solak 3:51:01
  3. Helen Southcott 4:14:07

 

10k

Robbie Britton (inov-8) et Tracy Dean (inov-8) ne se sont pas contentés de courir le 80km mais ont tous les deux enchaîné avec les 10km le lendemain. Robbie a gagné la course chez les hommes en 34min – un temps assez impressionnant vu sa performance la veille et Tracy Dean a gagné la course chez les féminines.

 

Résultats:

 

http://www.iznikultra.com/english/iznik-ultra-sonuclar.php

 

 

 

 

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RACING ON THE SILK ROUTE RAJASTHAN 2013

“A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.”
― Oscar Wilde

Images courtesy of Guy Lopez

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“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.”
― P.C. CastBetrayed

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The next multi-stage organized by SDPO will take place in Laos 1st May to 11th May, 2014.

For more info:

http://www.sdpo.com/sdpo/SDPO-ENGLAND/FOULEES-DE-LA-SOIE-IN-LAOS—-THE-SILK-ROAD-RACE.html

 

 

 

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ALEXANDER THE GREAT MARATHON 2014 THESSALONIKI

ALEXANDER THE GREAT MARATHON 2014 THESALONIKI

 

Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued. – Socrates

 

Socrates couldn’t have said it better. It is no doubt the leitmotiv of the local inhabitants and the holidaymakers who frequent Thessaloniki

A vibrant city with an exciting night-life and rated fifth party capital in the world, the second largest city in Greece is also rich in history and culture. Present day capital of Macedonia on the Aegean Sea, it was founded in 350BC and was named after the half-sister of Alexander the Great.

And more importantly it hosts the second largest marathon in Greece – the Alexander the Great Marathon, which took place on Sunday 6 April.

Exploring the City

I arrive in Thessaloniki on Friday as the plan is to visit the town and get a little pre-race sightseeing done. Flight time is just over 3 hours from London and Thesaloniki is GMT + 2. I check in and feeling ravenous I make my way to a small Greek restaurant behind the hotel, sit on the terrace and take a look at the chalk board menu which looks all Greek to me! The Greek owner and his wife are very friendly though and recommend a 3-course 11€ menu including wine. I order local freshly fished sea-bream and a glass of local dry red Greek wine!

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Replenished I take a stroll down the sea-front boulevard towards the White Tower to look around the marathon expo. The weather in April is ideal for a spring marathon – between 14°C and 18°C. The open-air expo is bustling with runners picking up their numbers. A quick look around and I decide to have a coffee.

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Café Culture

The locals have perfected the art of café culture – the city never sleeps. During the day the cafés lining the seafront boulevard are crowded with beautiful trendy youngsters donning fashionable sun-glasses and skinny jeans enjoying the local specialty – the café frappe, an iced instant coffee drink with a frothy top. In the evening these same cafés stay open until late, turn up the volume and serve Greek draft, Retsina  a traditional white wine flavored with pine resin and cocktails.

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Byzantine churches and street art

I decide to explore the city behind the boulevard and am amazed at the number of churches, each one more beautiful and ornate than the next. These tiny Byzantine havens of peace in a noisy bustling city are definitely worth the visit. One I really loved was the Holy Church of Megali Panagia formerly a monastery of the 12th century. Another one worth visiting is the Hagia Sophia a World Heritage Site on the UNESCO list.

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Another thing that struck me about the city was the proliferous street art. It is absolutely everywhere. From common graffiti and tag to talented pieces of art it covers most buildings and even some monuments.

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Dining Out in Ladadika

To eat and drink without a friend is to devour like the lion and the wolf.
― Epicurus

Dining out is a real experience in Thessaloniki. The city boasts a multitude of restaurants with great Greek cuisine at affordable prices.

A great little find was Marathos, in the popular Ladadika area with its cobbled streets and typical tavernas.  It is located 5 minutes from Artistotle Square near the port. The word Ladadika means the shops that sell oil and its products and used to be the central bazaar during the Ottoman occupation.

On the menu great mezes – dolmades, grilled sardines (to die for) and a “special sausage” (local specialty with veal and lamb). Dessert in Thessalonian restaurants is usually on the house.

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Lena’s café is also one to tick off on your list – great Greek wines by the glass and free wi-fi!

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In the evening the tavernas in Ladadika serve Retsina and if you stay until past midnight you might end up dancing on the tables………

The Flame Ceremony Zorba style

On Saturday I attend the flame ceremony. Giorgios Karagiannis the Race Director explains the symbolism behin this very well:

“It’s all about peace, sharing, bringing people together especially in times of difficulty. It symbolizes the true Olympic spirit”.

The day before the official marathon a relay of runners carry the flame from Pella to Thessaloniki and they are welcomed by the city’s officials and press at the finish. This year there was some great Greek dancing in costume after the ceremony with dancers representing all the Greek provinces.

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Marathon Day

Needless to say I did not get much sleep pre-race with the local hectic night-life, retsina and dancing on the tables! And the fact that I’m not particularly run fit at the moment doesn’t help. Well one consolation is my fate can’t be any worse than poor Pheidippides!

Wake-up call at 5am, breakfast of luscious Greek yoghurt and I catch the shuttle to the race start in Pella, 42km from Thessaloniki, the birthplace of Alexander the Great and ancient capital of Macedonia.

I arrive at the start and it begins to rain.  The other runners gathered at the start rush for shelter and almost immediately the race organization hand out plastic cloaks to all the runners. I hand my kit to the baggage truck at the start.

At 8am the rain has stopped and we are off! The course is exactly as I expected – very flat and for those who are aiming for a PB ideal. The weather this year was cool although a little windy. Having said this at my pace it wasn’t an issue!

The route takes the runners from Pella to the city of Chalkidona (8km), across the Axios river, to the village Gefyra, over the Gallikos River (28km), to Kordelio (35km) and the finish at the White Tower on the seafront of Thessaloniki.

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 Refreshment stations are every 5km with sponge tables in between. The tables are well-manned with very efficient volunteers handing out bottles of water and isotonic sports drinks. At KM 30, gels are provided as well as halva bars – a local Macedonian specialty made from sesame seed oil and sugar.

What is impressive is the number of red-cross staff manning the route at feed stations and in between feed stations.

Struggling a little I appreciate the crowd support from villagers and locals who come out to cheer the runners on especially on entering Thessaloniki – onlookers clap, cheer and shout “Bravo, bravo”. Even if you feel like walking at this stage because you’ve hit the wall, you just can’t!

And the cherry on the cake and compensation for doing my personal worst the medal at the arrival…… a proper customized medal featuring Alexander the Great!

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I definitely recommend this marathon and as the Race Director says all the ingredients for success are there: Greek food, Greek hospitality and a lot of fun…….

For more info on the Alexander the Great Marathon:

 

Official race site:

http://www.atgm.gr/index.php/en/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MarathoniosMegasAlexandros

Twitter: @ATGMarathon

 

 

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Multi-stage event in Laos, 1st May to 11th May, 2014

 

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Welcome to the “Kingdom of One Million Elephants” for an unforgettable multi-stage event offering a great mix culture and sport.

Laos is a country as yet untouched by the modern demands, stress and peace of life. Its beauty lies in the Lao people, century-old traditions and heritage, and its lush, pristine landscape.

Mysterious yet authentic, Laos is a mountainous and landlocked country sharing its borders with Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west, and Myanmar and China to the north.

Laos is squeezed between vastly larger neighbors. The kingdom was initially a Khmer vassal state. After a succession dispute, the kingdom split in three in 1694 and later came under Siamese rule.

The area east of the Mekong, however, was soon wrenched back from Siam by the French, who wanted a buffer state to protect Vietnam, and set up Laos as a unified territory in 1907. Briefly occupied by Japan in 1945, a three-decade-long conflict was triggered when France wanted to retake its colony. Granted full independence in 1953, the war continued with the Communist and North Vietnam-allied Pathet Lao struggling to overthrow the French-leaning monarchy. During the Vietnam War (1964-1973) the United States heavily bombed Laos.

In 1975 the Communist Pathet Lao took control of Vientiane and ended the monarchy.

Despite being just one hour by air from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, life in Laos has continued in much the same way it has for hundreds of years although monks still outnumber tourists throughout the country. This is now rapidly changing, with tourist numbers rising every year. Indeed, Vientiane is a laid-back, yet charming cosmopolitan village.

 

Despite its small population, Laos has 49 ethnic groups, or tribes, from which Lao, Khmou and Hmong constitute approximately three-quarters of the population. Most tribes are small, with some having just a few hundred members.

 

Laos is officially Buddhist, and the national symbol, the gilded stupa of Pha That Luang, has replaced the hammer and sickle even on the state seal.

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PROGRAM OF THE RACE                                                                                   Image

 

Day 1: 1st May – Paris/Bangkok/Vientiane

 

Meet at CDG Paris

Check-in and distribution of visas and passports.

In-flight dinner

Paris / Bangkok

Bangkok / Vientiane

 

Day 2: 2nd May Vientiane

 

Arrival at Vientiane airport

Each participant will receive a bouquet of flowers

Check in at hotel, lunch and “carte blanche” for the afternoon

Vientiane is the capital of Laos

Guided visit of the Boudda Parc (Vat Xieng Khung) 25km from Vientiane.

The Golden Stupa That Luang.

Welcome Dinner.

Night in Hotel Sabaide@lao

Day 3: 3 May – Vientiane

Buffet breakfast in the hotel.

Coach departure for the banks of the Mekong for the 1st Stage.

Return to Vientiane and lunch in the Tamnak Lao restaurant.

Visit of:

  • Vat Prakeo, an old royal chapel, converted into a museum.
  • Arc de Triumph Patuxai
  • Vat Sisakhet

Vientiane boasts several beautiful temples or wats, but one of the most impressive and interesting of them is Wat Ho Phra Keo. It was originally constructed in 1565 as the Lao royal family’s personal chapel, and as a home for the Emerald Buddha after it was snatched from northern Siam (Thailand).

Wat Si Saket was built in 1818 on the orders of King Anouvong (Sethathirath V.) in the Siamese style of Buddhist architecture, with a surrounding terrace and an ornate five-tiered roof.

Dinner in a restaurant in the town.

Night in the Sabaide@lao Hotel

Day 4: 4th May – Vientiane – Thakek

Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Depart for Takhet by coach. Visit of Vat Prabath en route.

2nd stage Ted Xai waterfall

Continuation of journey by coach to Ban Hat Kai

Lunch in the village of Tha Bok

Coach transfer to Thakek

Night in the Riviera Hotel.

 

Day 5: THAKEK/SAVANNAKHET

Breakfast in the hotel.

Transfer for 3RD stage.

Half-Marathon Pha Lem along the rice-fields with the mountainous/forest back-drop of Pha Lem.

Return to Thakek and lunch in the hotel.

Depart by coach to Savannakhet, on the Mekong River. Savannakhet is the most populated capital of the province and growing business hub.It is the second-largest city in Laos, after Vientiane.  The town’s proximity to Thailand’s booming economy has brought about new commercial development.

Check in at hotel and free time to relax around the pool.

Dinner in the hotel.

Night in Daosavanh Resort & Spa.

 

Day 6: 6 May – SAVANNAKHET/PAKSE

Breakfast in the hotel

Stage 4: Savannakhet

Transfer by coach to Pakse, 300km. Lunch en route to the Tong Hong Restaurant.

Arrival in Pakse, relatively recent town founded by the French in 1905.

Check-in and dinner in the hotel.

Night in the Pakse Hotel.

 

Day 7: 7 May – PAKSE/BOLIVIAN PLATEAU

Breakfast in the hotel.

Stage on the Bolovens Plateau

Lunch

A hike to the Tad Fan Falls, the highest in the country.

Tour of a tea and coffee plantation and the village of Kaleum.

Dinner and night in the Hotel Pakse

 

Day 8: PAKSE/CHAMPASSAK-PAKSE

Breakfast in the hotel.

Vat Phou Temples Stage

Lunch in a restaurant near the temple.

Visit of the Vat Phou Temple. It is located at the base of mount Phu Kao, some 6 km from the Mekong river in Champasak province. There was a temple on the site as early as the 5th century, but the surviving structures date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The temple has a unique structure, in which the elements lead to a shrine where a linga was bathed in water from a mountain spring. The site later became a centre of Theravada Buddhist worship, which it remains today.

Return to Pakse, dinner and night in the Pakse Hotel

 

Day 9: PAKSE/KHONG ISLAND/PAKSE

Breakfast in the hotel.

Depart by motor-boat to the Khong Island.

The island is 18 kilometres long. The former President of Laos, Khamtai Siphandon has a residence on the island, which is a possible explanation for the high-quality of infrastructure, such as asphalted roads and electricity, on Khong Island. Locals tend to travel on longtail boats.

Khong Island is noted for its natural beauty and is a growing tourist destination.

Lunch

Bicycle ride to the Island of Khone.

Return to Pakse, dinner and night in the Pakse Hotel.

Farewell Dinner and Prize-Giving

Day 10: 10 May – PAKSE – UBON-BANGKOK/PARIS

Breakfast in the hotel.

Chill morning – Lunch in the hotel. Check out.

Transfer to border post Chomek.

Transfer to Ubon Airport/Bangkok

Transit and Flight to Paris

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For more information check out the SDPO web-site:

http://www.sdpo.com/sdpo/SDPO-ENGLAND/FOULEES-DE-LA-SOIE-IN-LAOS—-THE-SILK-ROAD-RACE.html

 

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