After Racing Madagascar 2016, from 19 to 24 July 2016, time is to debrief this 1st edition.
The entrants : a sample of running styles
Racing Madagascar has a core value to promote Trail Running in Madagascar abroad, but also promote trail running within the borders of Madagascar. Therefore the Malagasy Federation of Athletics, which has just admitted Trail Running (2016) as a different part of Athletics, belongs to our closest partners.
The participation of 16 Malagasy athletes :
- 14 athletes from Diana Regional League of Athletics: For most of them, it was the first Trail Running competition. And for all of them, it was a first staged race, not much known race format here in Madagascar. Well done guys, you managed to amaze us beyond all expectations.
- 2 athletes from Athletics National League (Based in Antananarivo) : Laurette Rasoarinomena and Heritiana Andrianaivo, respectively 1st Women and 2nd Men of the Trail Running championship 2016 held last may in Antananarivo region. Expected as favorites, they had to face with the Sakalava athletes (Northern ethnic group) combativeness !
Racing Madagascar is also about sport solidarity. Thanks to our partnership with Malagasy Paralympic Committee (MPC), we had the chance to host 2 Paralympic athletes during the 6 days race :
- Revelinot RAHERINANDRASANA : arm amputee, Trail Running was new to him. He was impressive by his courage and his determination. His 9th rank testify this! Revelinot is qualified for Rio Paralympics (1 500m Athletics), we wish you best of luck !
- Zephirin Jimazava : visually impaired, Trail Running was also new to him. Zephirin was brave enough to finish the 2 first stages and we are proud of him. We hope that his participation will bring him more recognition he deserves.
- Solidarity Stage (Day 6) : During the solidarity run of 3kms, from Diego city entrance to the Townhouse (Place Foch), we had the chance to share this event with the Paralympic athletes of Diego’s disabled sport federation. The mayor of Diego, Mr. Jean Luc Desiré Djavozara and Mrs. Eliane Weddy Tombojery, regional director of Youth and Sport Ministry, have also ran with us. Thank you to all of them for showing their solidarity and sharing these emotions all together: public, official authorities, runners of Racing Madagascar and disabled athletes.
Foreign Athletes : Racing Madagascar is going to be more and more opened to international runners for the coming years. Trail running has a growing number of players worldwide and our organization’s goal has a different perspective compared to other well know events. Racing Madagascar combines sport challenge (Achievement for some runners) and touristic discoveries. Therefore, some international runners came for the sport challenge but our race also allowed them to stop in the middle of the stage to take pictures, of the famous red tsingy for example ! It was also about cultural exchanges between them and the Malagasy runners, and it was beyond our expectations!
5 different nationalities were present with different running profiles, which resulted a highly challenging race but also a real pleasant race for these runners who have traveled from miles away to come run Racing Madagascar.
- Argentina: Luis René Menéndez Iparraguire, our veteran on the race, 72 y.o. He is a true example for the others with a unfailing good mood. He kept his pace all along the race and finished it, fully enjoying the natural wonders on the track. “Fantastico” Mr. Luis !
- France: Yannick Dinmamod. The junior runner in Trail running this year. Yannick has begun with trail running 2 years ago and raised the challenge of Racing Madagascar. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to start with stage 3 but ran stages 5 and 6… for pleasure! Great mind and courageous behavior, we will see Yannick next year, stronger than ever !
- South Africa: Thabang Madiba. The most expected runner regarding his race records. He was the “men to defeat” for the Malagasy athletes. Thabang testified that this race was hard to win regarding the performances of the Malagasy runners. This champion is really open minded and managed to fully integrate himself with the other runners and the camp staff. Racing Madagascar was an opportunity for him to add an international prize to his race record and for us, host a humble runner definitely open to the others. Thabang finished 1st with only 14 minutes ahead Jacquis Justin Rakiky, the local sport revelation of this edition. From Thabang’s own words, the Malagasy athletes have definitely “a real potential to shine internationally”. We all hope he will be able to challenge again with Malagasy runners, here or in South Africa!
- South Africa: Gavin Sacks. The other South African who entered at the last minute. Very good mind for Gavin who ran his first staged race. Gavin has prioritized the experience with local populations, which is one of the fundamental ground of Racing Madagascar.
- Macau (China): Ka Long « Marcus » Fong. The first entrant to Racing Madagascar 2016. Marcus is used to the staged races. Thanks to his daily training, he was ranked 11th this year. Thank you Marcus for your trust, we hope you will keep a good memory of Madagascar.
- United Kingdom: Steven Halton. Steven is used to challenge himself in the field of sport. Banker in London, Steven leave as much as he can on the worldwide tracks to raise personal challenges. For example, he went cycling from Cape Town to London, for a 22 000 kms ride ! Racing Madagascar was the occasion for him to prepare for his next challenge, a trail running race in the Atacama desert. Best of luck Steven !
Camps and logistics : a success based on 30 years of experience
Racing Madagascar 2016 has also been a real challenge for the organizers. Indeed the camps and the path we chosen are in the most remote and inaccessible places of the Diana region. The 20 vehicles used for logistics had sometimes troubles to cross rivers and tracks full of rocks. Hopefully, the good result is there! From our foreign hosts that are used to live races like ours, Racing Madagascar organization was efficient and even beyond their expectations. Showers, bush toilets, spacious tents and copious meals… We gathered everything we can to make the race more enjoyable. We take advantage of this opportunity to thank Remy Van Hoolant and his team from Evasion Sans Frontieres. The ambition of Racing Madagascar 2017 is to keep this quality level high.
The experts : Our 2 Swiss army knives
Racing Madagascar come from a crazy idea of Sonja Gottlebe and Patrice Raoull, founders of Boogie Events and organizers of the race. But this crazy idea would not have been possible without our two French experts :
- Pierre Beguin : Pierre lives in France and is mountain guide during summer seasons and ski school manager during winter seasons. But he is also the track director of plenty of races around the world. Racing Madagascar benefited of his world-known experience to create the path of this edition. Pierre has also been a precious support for all the technical part of the race (Recces, time cut offs…). A special thank to this big-hearted mountain dweller. We are waiting for you next year !
- Matthias Proud : Matthias is the communication officer of International Trail Running Association (ITRA) of which Racing Madagascar is member of. He is also a runner himself and a volunteer for several international races in France. Thanks to his runner’s view, we were able to make adaptations on our organization to most comply with the runners expectations. Matthias has also trained volunteers on timing a trail running event in partnership with the Regional League of Athletics. At last, it will be also him that will help make Malagasy runners more known abroad. Indeed he will register them on the ITRA runners data base. Currently, there are no Malagasy runners on this Data Base, which ranks trail runners worldwide. His presence was indispensable and we truly thank him for being there !
What’s coming next ?
We already have the 2017’s edition dates : From 11 to 16 July 2017. We hope more entrants to come, to share more emotions and good mood. Our partnership with Malagasy Athletics Federation will keep on going, to host new Malagasy running talents next year. Thank you to Norolalao Ramanantsoa, president of the federation, helping us to make Trail Running more known in Madagascar. Thank you to the local authorities too, with their help we were able to avoid any incidents and moreover, enjoy the famous welcoming from northern population of Madagascar. See you next year for other adventures, other emotions, “Let’s Trail Be Rewarding” !
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