The Silk Route Race Schedule * 23 September – 5 October 2013


SDPO is proud to announce the Silk Race Schedule

  • Days are a mix of sightseeing, gastronomical discovery, relaxation
  • And of course running stages of 15 – 20km/day



Flight Paris/Delhi



DAY 3      


Trip to the Citadel “Mehrangarh Fort”

Stage Race 10km Of Jodhpur



Trip to the Palace of the Maharadjahs

Observatory of Janta Mantar

Stage race Fort Pokran



Stage Race Citadel of Jaisalmer



Stage Race Thar Desert



Trip to the Citadel of Bikaner

Thar Desert Race



Trip to Deshnoke Temple

Stage Race Shekhawati



Trip to Mandawa

Stage Race Fort Amber

DAY 10


Trip to Fatehpur Sikiri

DAY 11


Trip to Taj Mahal

15km of Taj Mahal

DAY 12


Trip to the Tomb of Emperor Akbar A Sikandra

Time Trial Akbar le Grand

DAY 13



*For safety reasons or if circumstances dictate the itinerary may be subject to modification without price readjustment

For further information on how to register for this race please contact the UK agent:

Niandi Carmont




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What’s your favourite piece of kit?



Runners are creatures of habit and only so slightly superstitious……our race kit is so important to us. We have ‘fetishes’ – those indispensable, well-worn articles or bits of kit that come race day we can’t do without.

Well my indispensable bit of kit is not my highly sophisticated sports watch, or my lightweight shades ….it’s my RL skort ….my Raidlight skort.

What’s a skort? Well it’s a skirt/short and this one has it all. I first wore it on my 7-day run/trek on the GR20 in Corsica ….I was looking for something comfy, chafe-free, pretty much seamless and a drip dry garment as I was carrying a back-pack and wanted minimal weight.

It fulfilled all these criteria ….and it’s feminine. It features a shorts lining with stretch mesh pockets for tissues, gloves, gels, tampons and a lightweight breathable skirt outer.

So if you’re looking for the ideal garment for that multi-stage in the dessert or trek in the mountains ….this sexy piece of kit might just be the answer.


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Mirror Mirror on the Wall ………

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fattest of them all?


Looking to lose weight after the Christmas period, because you stopped smoking, after baby’s birth or with the onset of menopause? Or simply because you are injured and can’t go running? Maybe 5kg, 10kg, or even 15kg? Well imagine losing half your body weight or the equivalent of 6 times what the average woman gains during pregnancy. Imagine losing more than what Paula Radcliff weighs ……

That was the challenge Marie Rousset set herself in 2009 and achieved after 8 months through exercise, running and diet. The only thing I have in common with Marie is her passion for running and fitness apart from the fact that we both completed our first marathon in 4H18. But the comparison stops there. Marie is an incredibly driven, motivated, determined and focused athlete and her story is an inspiration to all female runners struggling with weight issues or eating disorders.

And I forgot another of Marie’s qualities …..she’s also very empathetic and generous and has allowed me to publish her story so that it can inspire other women.

The trigger

2009. A TV studio. I was invited by my cousin. For the first time in my life I was ashamed of my appearance. I had tried every single diet under the sun …..Weight Watcher’s, high protein diets, crash diets, unaffordable nutritionists in Paris and all to no avail. Without willpower and real motivation it was a lost cause. My weight yo-yoed and the effect on my metabolism was catastrophic – I just gained more weight and had become increasingly demotivated. The slim me was trapped in a horrible waddling blubbery cumbersome body.

It’s in this studio that I realized things had to change and only I could do that. But it would take more will-power and determination I had ever invested in everything. And I had to believe in myself ….

I knew I would need to do some form of cardiovascular sport and so invested in an elliptical bike. I also decided to ask Damien Galtier a nutritionist from the Fleury Mérogis Hospital to help me with making the right nutritional choices. It really wasn’t all that hard …..I initially left out fatty foods.  Meals were balanced and uncomplicated …..veggies like asparagus, green beans, fish (not fried), poultry, fruit for dessert.

I started off doing 30 to 45 min of elliptical/day and increased the duration of the sessions. I was losing 2kg/week and 10kg/month. I was motivated to lose weight because people were tracking my progress on the TV program. My objective was to drop to 90kg before my 30th birthday. That meant 30kg in 5 months and my nutritionist was a little skeptical about this.

By this time I was doing 5 hours of sport every day: cycling, swimming, and walking. A total of 30 hours of sport a week. I sometimes spent 3 hours on the elliptical trainer. Because I was working shifts I could fit this around my schedule but it meant training until 2am sometimes.

I had never really liked running so I initially hadn’t given this option any thought. My Dad is a marathon runner so I knew how effective running was in keeping off the pounds. Three months later whilst vacationing in the US I took up running … was an eye-opener, a turning-point in the new slimmer, fitter and healthier me. Make no mistake, I was still pretty heavy when I started weighing in at 92kg and with the hot temperatures I was quickly out of breath.

Back home in France I persevered going out for a run as often as possible. I often did 2 sessions a day sometimes getting back as late as 11pm ……I was so motivated and I my endurance and speed both improved. Having done all the cardiovascular training on the elliptical machine stood me in good stead and I was running 30min without stopping.

By July 4th the scales tipped at 71kg ……I had lost 48kg in only 5 months!

October 2009 I registered for my very first race – the iconic ‘20km de Paris’ along the banks of the Seine showing off my new svelte figure as I crossed the finish line at the Eiffel Tower in 1H52!

Objective achieved! I had lost 60kg and gone from a size 28 to a size 8!


I now needed to fix myself a new objective … I registered for Chicago Marathon in October 2010 which I completed in 4H18! As I crossed the finish line I swore to myself I would never ever inflict that on myself again but like any other marathon runner knows it is addictive and as soon as I got home I registered for Paris Marathon in April 2011 ….which I completed in 4H07. My PB to date is Paris 2012 in 4H01! I just missed the 4-hour barrier but who knows with Berlin in 2013?

What motivates me today? Having been there and suffered from obesity, I want to show others that you CAN do it! And not through surgery but through pure will-power – you just need to believe in yourself. If I could do it so can YOU! The best diet is exercise. It keeps your metabolism healthy and there’s no yoyo effect. The other advantage is that running tones you so even with all this weight loss I don’t have any unsightly loose skin.

Today 3 years on, I exercise daily: running, swimming and mountain biking.

Combining a weight-loss diet and exercise has meant I could go back to a normal healthy diet without gaining weight.

I also thought I would be a ‘fatty’ for life …..all you need is that trigger ….a person, a meeting, a shock ….something that makes you realize you can’t and won’t remain a ‘fatty’ for life!

I hope my story has helped some fatties and future skinnies out there! Best of luck and remember ‘If I can so can YOU’



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India the country of the Maharajas ……ever thought of running on the Silk Route and soaking in the local culture and atmosphere? Well the Foulées de La Soie might just be what you are looking for.

The second biggest French- organized multi-stage organized by Jean-Claude Le Cornec is definitely one of those to tick off on your bucket list if running means more to you than just running. Jean-Claude’s mantra reflects what this event is all about “

2012 marked the first year of this multi-stage in India. Over the past 2 decades the event has been held in China – on the Silk Route but with a focus on the Great Wall of China. This year it was decided to opt for a change of scenery and judging on the feedback the 160 participants were definitely enchanted with the new course.  An Arabian nights fairytale with a sporty touch ….on the menu: off the beaten track run courses, colorful markets, spicy and flavorful local cuisine, cultural outings, a visit to the famous Taj Mahal …..what more could you want? Jean Claude’s idea was to mix sport and culture, add a pinch of exoticism and mysticism and serve it up at a reasonable price.

What also makes this event particularly attractive is that it is open to hikers/speed walkers too. The distances for the latter are a little shorter and the participants are ranked separately.

Almost a fortnight of running daily stages of 15 to 20km and sightseeing in the North of India from Uttar Pradesh to Rajasthan through rural landscapes and villages, desert regions and exotic locations all your senses are awakened.

The second edition will take place between 23 September and 5 October 2013. SPDO (Sport Development Performance Organization) organize an all-inclusive package with airfare, accommodation in 4 or 5 star hotels, local transfers by coach in India, sightseeing, race registration, 3 race t-shirts and most meals.

For further race info and pre-race bookings please contact the UK agent

Niandi Carmont



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Interview with Ryan Sandes

Interview with Ryan Sandes

Human beings don’t always make rational decisions. But making irrational decisions is precisely what makes us human. These decisions, based on an impulse or a feeling, often lead us to those perfect moments when it feels great to be alive.

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Sisters …………………

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She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities.  She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway.  She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark.  She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink.  Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.  ~Barbara Alpert



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Food for Thought on Gluten and Sport’s Performance

Food for thought or food for performance?


Gluten-Free Pre-Race Meal May Optimize Performance

Have that sluggish bloated feeling on race day when you have been carbo-loading?  It might be gluten the culprit.

But what exactly is gluten?  Gluten is a protein compound made up of two proteins called gliadin and glutenin that are found joined with starch in the grains wheat, rye and barley. Exposure to gliadin – the “toxic” component of gluten for people with celiac disease—causes the body to go into immunologic overdrive. One of the consequences is decreased nutrient absorption. When the gut is unable to absorb nutrients, anemia, weight loss, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and vitamin deficiencies may occur. The only definitive treatment for celiac disease is strict avoidance of gluten-containing foods.

Athletes can experience all kinds of symptoms from gluten intolerance. Some may suffer from constipation, diarrhea or other irritable bowel-like symptoms and may believe this is just “how they are”.

Personally gluten intolerance was one of the causes behind my anemia and low energy levels. Poor absorption of nutrients left me with low iron levels thus directly impacting on performance.

Also today sports nutritionists in the ultra world tend to agree that we consume far too much carb in the form of refined and processed pasta, bread, biscuits and cereals.  We should on the contrary be training our bodies to run on more fat in long-distance and ultra events.


Some experts suggest that gluten intolerance can affect 1 out of every 10 individuals. For athletes, both professional and amateur, with undiagnosed celiac disease/gluten intolerance the benefits of a gluten-free diet on performance can be many.

A recent article in Men’s Journal from February 2010, noted that Garmin-Transitions pro cycling team went gluten-free during their race season. The riders found that their performance, digestion and recovery improved on a gluten-free diet.

A gluten-free diet can 

  • reduce inflammation
  •  increase energy
  •  and clear up mystery aches and pains.

The drawback is being on a totally gluten-free diet is a complicated matter but don’t despair

  • All UK supermarkets have a selection of gluten-free products
  • A lot of restaurants now offer gluten-free options – even some airlines I travel on
  • You can prepare your own gluten-free recipes

For a list of gluten containing foods here

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July Ultras …… 100km Cléder is back after 10 years! Le retour de Cléder après 10 ans d’absence!

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 ……..





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Quechua ‘s Documentary on Emilie Lecomte’s GR20 Record

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