15 July 100km Cléder is back!!!
I guess I’m a creature of habit for some things and running my favorite races is one of them. Sometimes I run a race year after year because it’s practical – like Paris Marathon which was on my doorstep or Comrades in South Africa which was a good excuse to visit family every year and kill 2 birds with one stone.
And then there are races I run because they are beautiful races and have an appeal for diverse reasons and Cléder 100km in France is one of them. It was usually in August so 2 months after Comrades just when I was suffering from the post-Comrades blues. Hey I’d spent half a year building up to Comrades and was then suddenly left with no run objective on the horizon. And then I discovered Cléder and it was love at first sight.
Brittany in summer is lovely and Cléder the start and finish of the 100km route is a tiny ‘breton’ hamlet and so typically French. Make no mistake Cléder might be a one-horse town but hosted the 100km World Championships in 2001 and it placed the town on the map alongside Winschoten. That was also the last race.
Every year the whole village came alive to host the race and the villagers offered free accommodation to the runners and volunteered as marshals and to help out at the refreshment stations. The start was always early before dawn and the runners would run through the grounds of four magnificent castles on the route – the first was lit up for the occasion. There was also a significant section on the beach – usually an excuse to dip your peak cap in the surf as by this time the sun would be beating down. And at the finish every finisher received a massive crate of local produce – cheese, cider, vegetables, fruit …
Then Cléder was stopped ….. I suppose it required a lot of organization for such a little town and 100km Millau became my post-Comrades objective from then on. So many races ‘die out’ like that – others attracting bigger fields and sponsors survive. But 2012 marks an important year – Cléder ‘100km was run July 15 after an 11-year break – probably how long it took the inhabitants to recover from the international invasion!
So if you’re looking to holiday in Brittany in July and run a 100km – check out the website and if you need help finding accommodation or an interpreter feel free to contact me.
27 July Washie 100-miler South Africa
Another one of my favorites! Creatures of habit get bored of habits after a while. After I’d run in my Green Number at Comrades I needed another key race. What better objective than Washie 100-miler? Afterall it’s only 70km longer …
I like Washie for the same reasons I liked Cléder – small field and you’re not just a number.
Washie is run full moon in July so the date changes every year and usually attracts a small field of eccentrics. It’s a point to point race between two coastal towns Port Alfred and East London. Exactly 160km – how cool is that? I guess it would be even cooler if you drove it instead of running it but as an ultra-runner I find the drive longer than the run!
There are 4 check-points but this race requires self-sufficiency so most runners have seconds in cars. The race is run on the dust track shoulder facing traffic. The start is at the Port Alfred Sport’s Club at 17.00 and the finish at the Buffalo Club who are also the race organizers. There is a 26-hour time limit on the race and all finishers receive a beautiful handmade Washie 100 Miler trophy and novices get a 100 Miler tracksuit top. Permanent numbers are awarded for completion of five races or three overall victories.
The prize-giving ceremony and barbecue or ‘braai’ is on the Sunday and is a time for runners, seconds, organizers and supporters to exchange their race experiences and anecdotes over a cool beer and a nice bit of local beef sausage or ‘boerewors’.
28 July Lakeland 100/50 miles
As for myself I’ll be taking part for the first time in the scenic but tough Lakeland 50 this weekend and doing a bit of fell-running, navigation and maybe have some post-race fish and chips ……..