Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I honestly did not know it existed... but it does. An endurance race of no less than 60 or even 120 km! Yes, that's right, between sixty and one hundred and twenty kilometers of running. And not flat running, mind you.  Up hill, down hill, through rice paddy fields, on rocky bush paths and down slippery sand roads. Some people actually do this! And complete it! And guess of them was my guy!

Ultra Trail
Arrival at checkpost 2 @ 13:45 (42 km)
I was helping to organize UTOP Madagascar last week. UTOP stands for Ultra Trail des O'Plateaux, a trail from Antananarivo to Mantasoa. The full trail, which had 75 runners started at midnight on Friday to Mantasoa and then back to Tana. The semi trail with over 250 people began on Saturday morning at 6 AM. The first arrival made it in six hours! Michel has been training for this with his 'coach' our neighbor Krishna. He finished in just under twelve hours! So cool.

Solid and liquid fuel
As a matter of fact, these ultra running trails are being organized all over the world. It just seems one of these things you don't know about until...well, you do.
Personally I did not run. I managed a check post. Important job, make sure runners are monitored and have enough solid and liquid fuel. When I volunteered I had no idea it meant sitting in a cold and rainy middle of nowhere for 36-hours non-stop but hey...I never shy a challenge. Just don't ask me to run for twelve hours.

With the Madagacar Hash House Harriers we managed checkpost number two and we all had a top time.  This year, the UTOP organizers had put ambitious systems in place. There were laptops with special software to note runners' times, generators to light up the checkposts and G3-internet connections. That was probably Utopian. I can't help notice the UTOPia analogy.  Utopia: (wikipidea) an ideal community or society possesing perfect systems ... In reality the systems were not perfect; generators broke down, laptops would not start and G3-connections got lost. But it did not matter, more than 300 runners from 12 nationalities had a great time - and we were there!

Checkpost 2 Saturday morning 1:55, First 120-km runners arrive

Checkpost 2 at 2 PM. A sip of SKOL: why not??

Checkpost 2 Saturday 4 PM. Relying on good fashion pen and paper

The last 120km-runners leaving checkpost 2 at 6:05 Sunday morning


  1. Great post!! very informative.
    Thank you very much for such a lovely and informative post.

  2. So stunning. Definitely going to add this to my list of things we want to do with the family in the next few years. So glad you are willing to share your pictures..thanks!

  3. Really a great post you have done a great job i am going to bookmark it and also share with my friends and will plan for this.

  4. Very nice post and I like to read it. The pictures are really very nice and saying that you enjoyed a lot over there.