Trail de Font Romeu – A snow race

Back in January 2016, hubby and I decided to take part in a race with a difference.

  1. It was in France (I thought it was in the Spanish pyrennees, so was a little disappointed)
  2. It was in the snow

Phill had come across a website for the Trail de Font-Romeu, and someone had also shared a link on the CVFR Facebook page to a B&B that was run by English ex-pats, and who were organising transport to the race – perfect!

We did a bit of research into the race, watched YouTube videos, like the one below

Decided it didn’t look too bad and promptly signed up.

I signed up for the 12km discovery course and hubby went for the 25km Authentique course, almost tempted by the Passion, 40km course. But given the higher altitude, opted for the more sensible option.

Pyrenees Haven were offering a weekend package for the race, which included airport and race transfers on a half board basis.

Run by a lovely family from Pudsey, and also fell runners, we knew we were onto a winner, and we were not disappointed. It was lovely.

They organised for us to have a taster run around a cross country course to get used to the altitude on the afternoon we arrived, arranged race transport and Gary even ran around the course trying to take pictures of us.

There was a lovely couple from Wharfedale Harriers also staying at the B&B, so it was nice to make new friends and compare fell running stories.

The race itself was great. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was quite nervous, especially as Gary had taken us for a 5km jog out the day before and I had struggled with the deepness of the snow (energy sapping) and the altitude. Then I realised it was because the other 4 were a lot bloody quicker than me and I was trying to keep up.

When it came to race day I didn’t need to worry as they were all doing the longer 25km, so I was safe and happy doing the 12km option.

One main difference of running in France was that not many people liked to run up hill. Now this is usually an energy saving tactic when fell running, but mainly for the steep stuff, they walked anything! I tried to blend in!

The biscuit was well and truly taken when I realised they weren’t overtly keen on running downhill either, so I blew my cover and did some downhill overtaking.

As I have stopped wearing my running watch and just relied on my phone to log all my strava runs, judging distance is a nightmare as it has never been my strong point, along with pacing, or in fact any aspect of running. This meant I got to the end and still had a lot left in the tank, so I really need to dust that watch off and start applying myself!

The course was good and the weather perfect. 

I managed to complete the race in 1hr 55mins, which I guess I was pleased with given so many unknowns. But I’d definitely want to go back and try and beat that time. 

The race was very well organised with a good choice of food and drink at the end (and at the aid station – not really needed for the 12km though). 

Whilst I filled myself up I overheard the winner of the 25km come in, it was only Sam Watson from Wharfdale Harriers who was staying at the same b&b. I don’t think the French were overly impressed that a foreigner had come over and won their race, but they were very gracious. He got a lovely trophy! 

[photos to be added later – check back for updates]