Day 5. The end is nearly there. Bodies are tired, legs are nowhere to be seen, sleep deprivation is a fact but spirits are high and love is in the air!
« The day started off by a 12,5km group run for Nicolas, Juan and Christian. Uphill and downhill with a beautiful sunrise in the French Alps. A surreal atmosphere to start this final day with fog, light rain and breath-taking sceneries. The 3 boys were then relayed by Laure and Maxime for a 7,1km run. The 5 of them did amazingly well and arrived in the top 10 of their race. It was then on to Yannick, Jean-Baptiste, Niels and Nigel for a 15,4km and 11,1km race respectively. So far everything was going to plan and we thought we’d finally mastered the complicated logistics of the Course du Coeur. But as I once said at the beginning of this race, nothing ever goes to plan for a long time!
So, whilst Nicolas, Erwan and Morgan started the last of the flying relays – remember the in and out of the car, sprint relays, burning clutches? – Brad and Olympe were on their way to meeting Geraldine and Antoine in the little village of Montgirod where they would take over from the boys for the last run down to Bourg Saint Maurice. That’s Montgirod, not Montgirod les Chapelles! The lovely little village of Montgirod les Chapelles being 28,8km away from the other no less beautiful village of Montgirod! Well we could say things were looking pretty bad for Olympe and Brad, Olympe having to be 20 minutes later at the relay point with Antoine and Geraldine. But with Brad involved, a solution was quickly found. In this case, it took the shape of a police van which, luckily for us, was also meant to be at the Course du Coeur and had also confused Montgirod with Montgirod les Chapelles! Ever dreamed of getting in a car and saying “follow this car as fast as you can” and going 200 miles an hour in the streets of New York? Well it seems Brad was able to tick this one off his bucket list with the Policeman saying, “don’t worry we’ll make it happen” and putting his beacon light on. A 35 minutes’ journey was turned into a 20 minutes’ one with Brad chasing the Police van across the mountains and on the motorway – hopefully there were no radars on the way! Olympe made it on time and we didn’t tell Nicolas, Erwan or Morgan about this little hiccup until later in the day!
What was meant to be a 4-people run involving Olympe, Geraldine, Antoine and Christian finally turned into a team run down to Bourg Saint Maurice with Morgan, Erwan, Nicolas, and Juan joining for the last run/walk down to Bourg Saint Maurice and the finish line. It was a shame that Laure, Maxime, Yannick, Nigel, Niels and Jean-Baptiste were still involved in their own race and weren’t able to join on time to cross the finish line together – although they did have a special escort back with all the other C teams back to Bourg Saint Maurice! Crossing the line made it feel real and a few tears of emotions were shared! Love, happiness and generosity were on everyone’s mind and we couldn’t stop but singing and dancing – ok we did stop at some point for a couple of slices of saucisson!!
When I say the final run, that’s not exactly true! Laure, Olympe, Geraldine, Antoine, Nicolas, Erwan, Morgan, Nigel, Niels, Yannick, Maxime, Jean Baptiste, Juan and Christian still had quite a challenge ahead of them! A 15,3km run with 1061 meters of positive elevation to Les Arcs 1800! Casual little run, you know?! To prepare for this, we all headed to lunch for a giant tartiflette. For those of you who don’t know what tartiflette is, you are missing out on life! Potatoes, onions, lardons (bacon) and reblochon baked in the oven. A mountain dish so good for your soul, bad for everything else though! And so, it was on to the last of the last. The one that would allow them to say “I have ran from Paris to Les Arcs”! They were all to run 1km each and run the last km together.
I would like to take this chance, to write a special note about Laure. This last km was clearly a challenge for all of us but Laure ran through it with an exceptional strength and motivation like she did for the entire race. I wasn’t lucky enough to know Laure a year ago but knowing that it was only 12 months ago that she was diagnosed with Leukemia and that there she was running up this nightmare of a hill is just crazy really! I have never met anyone as strong as her, and she has astonished me throughout the whole adventure! I also have to say that Laure was amazing during the flying relays, telling me when it was safe to start the car again so no one would get hurt. She was sprinting, burning her lungs out and still had others’ safety in mind! Such a strong spirit and an incredible team member.
Talking about team spirit, the Course du Coeur is a challenge to one’s heart, physically obviously but emotionally too! The camaraderie and friendship that arose at every single moment of the race was unbelievable and hard to describe. I really think this kind of adventure remains in mind till the end of your life and one your grandchildren may get bored off because you talk about it too often! A massive congrats to the whole team for succeeding in such a challenge!
As a picture is worth a thousand words, I would also like to thank Frank for joining us on this adventure and reporting on every single challenge the team took part in over those 4 days and nights. The photos, soon to be released, are a true testimony to this team’s courage and I encourage you to go through them and share them as much as you can!
A final photo in Les Arcs 1800 and it was time to celebrate, a night of partying, dancing, singing, drinking, global debauchery… Well, so we thought! We were all in bed by 10pm too tired to even sing along to the Jackson 5!
A massive thank you to the everyone in the team: Laure, Olympe, Geraldine, Antoine, Nicolas, Erwan, Morgan, Nigel, Niels, Yannick, Maxime, Jean Baptiste, Juan and Christian. An even bigger thank you to Claire for organising this and believing in this crazy challenge all along. And a final thank you to Brad, Simmoni and I think myself for accompanying these extraordinary people in their adventure! Scality Rocks! »