Royal Raid, Ile Maurice ( Mauritius ) by Gary Pearson

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The departure of RR100 was at the Casela Bird Park on the west coast of Mauritius, 3 May 2008, at 5am.

The first part of the race was through the beautiful Yemen Nature Reserve, the track was undulating with small but steep slopes, on dry ground. I then followed a rough track onto a tarred road for 4km which led to the Black River National Park visitors centre. After 1.5km, I had a climb of 6km in the middle of the tropical forest to reach 500m higher, along a humid track at Mare aux Joncs to reach the place called Machabe. After another 8.5 km of plateau on a good surface, I reached the Jet Ranch where Vicky and other volunteers were working on a checkpoint and I was able to have a shower and a pasta meal; I had at this point completed 47 miles in very hot conditions. At least now the sun was going down.

Next was tarred road for 1500m to reach a place called Petrin, then an easy flat for 2.1km then downhill for 4km to reach the Radier des Gorges, 500m lower down. Next we were told was where the runners faced the major difficulty of the Royal Raid, the already mythical Parakeet Trail: a climb of 5km with 600m of positive height, to reach Plaine Champagne at the place called Parakeet, the highest point of the race at an altitude of 720m. I reached this top and had a quick soup (cold) and some further encouragement from the checkpoint volunteers, Vicky included, who had now moved to this checkpoint; now only 20 miles to go! Leaving Parakeet I had 800m of tarred road before entering the track of ‘Watook’ which led into the estate of Bel Ombre with great views to the south of the island, so we were told, but as it was pitch black at this stage I couldn’t tell you! I continued the 8kms descent along a wide track in the middle of the forest to reach another refreshment stop. Then followed dirt tracks through the sugar cane fields and then finally there was 800m of tarred road which led to the finish!

Would I do it again? Yes, hopefully next year. Well organised with amazing views.

84 starters, 44 finished ( including me! in 19 hours and 43 minutes )

 

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