Centurions Sandra Brown and Kathy Crilley travelled to St Thibault des Vignes to participate in the 8th edition of this popular race.
Writes Kathy Crilley:
This was not our first visit to St Thibault - Sandra competed in the inaugral race in 2008 with Kathy as support (along with Richard Brown).
It all came flooding back. I just wish I'd remembered the paths in the park were concrete, although in 2008 I was not walking up and down them for 24 hours.
The circuit was 2226 metres and was mostly inside the park. Once outside the park, there was a gentle down hill on a wide footpath, passing the Cirque de Bercy and zoo - nice to see the camel, zebra etc every 20 minutes or so. Then there came a sharp right turn up a ramp (trying hard to avoid walking into the bollards) and through the Village Marcheurs and back to the control point. We had managed to purloin a couple of chairs from the school (race HQ) to put our meagre rations on. If you didn't have a car, camper van or tent - you were stuck! Grateful thanks to Noelle Landru and her husband for allowng us to store our bags in their spare tent. The Village Marcheurs was some distance from the control point and feeding station. The feeding station was not very well stocked - as we didn't have support, it was a question of making do with what was there and what we had taken with us.
There was no chip timing in this race, but the monitor showed our lap time and position as we passed the lap recorders, which was very helpful. The
Bearing in mind that this race was just two weeks after Roubaix 28 hours it attracted 62 walkers including 10 women). It did seem that th emen's race would be a battle between Dominique Bunel and Eddy Roze, but Bunel dropped out after 84km, In fact, it was Jean-marie Rouault who eventually finished first with 196km 012m with Roze coming second with 191km 637.
The women's race was no less interesting. Sandra had a steady start but gradually moved up to take the lead over the first few hours which she maintained for the rest of the 24 hours. I had a a very steady (some may even say, slow!) race but I managed to stay on my feet for the duration.
Throughout the race, the encouragement was second to none. From fellow walkers, the people manning the feeding station, the organisers and even the judges - superb!
A two stage 6 hour race was also held in conjucntion with the 24 hour race.
Images by Guy Destre and others
Results - GB ladies
1st lady: Sandra Brown 175km225m (9th overall)
6th lady: Kathy Crilley 135km797m (22nd overall)
A listing of the top 3 positions in all editions of the race since 2008