Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Grand Slam of the World Update

La Misión is out, La Réunion is in.

The originally planned 4th and final race of the Grand Slam of the World (GSW), La Misión, will not be held this year and has been rescheduled for February 2014. This change of date didn't come as a complete surprise to me since Uruguayan and 2012 La Misión finisher John Tidd mentioned this may happen when I spoke to him at UT Mt Fuji last month. Well, the change was recently announced. Since the purpose of the GSW is to complete 4 of the world's toughest 100 mile ultramarathons during a calendar year, I had to find a substitute for the ultimate race.

And find one, I did. It's La Diagonale de Fous (translation: the madmen's diagonal), located on the
Cartoon-ish graphic belies pain that awaits
Indian Ocean island of 
La Réunion. Yeah, I had to look it up on a map, too! The race is also known as the 
Grand Raid de la Réunion and is in its 21st year. I'd be lying if this race didn't have me a little concerned. At 102.5 miles, its got 35,400' of climb. That's 3.5 miles longer and 8,000' feet more climbing than La Misión (and 1,400' more than Hardrock!). Plus, the race will be held in October, compressing the GSW by 2 months. Now, each race in the GSW will have a total climb in excess of the altitude of Mt. Everest and the combined climb of all 4 races will exceed 125,000'! It's going to be a challenge.

Here are videos for last year's Diagonale: