Today's comment. I enjoy revisiting old articles I wrote in 'bygone times.' During that period, I was fully engaged in competitive running, and the Monoallenamento settimanale (Weekly Single-Training) technique was applied rigorously, even though the book didn't exist yet. I fondly remember this beautiful night race, even in 2023 as I reread these words...
Description of those times. In 2009, I decided to participate as an alternative to the Neander Trail due to the cancellation of the Cromagnon race because of snow by the organizers. This led to the gathering in Monte Carlo to board the buses designated for transporting all athletes to the race's starting point. For those unfamiliar with this competition, it starts from the French hinterland and descends to Cap D'Ail, all at night since the start is scheduled at twilight.
It was a great experience for me, although there were occasional navigational errors, not due to poor signage but because of the thick fog that had formed in some parts of the route during the night. As is often the case in many races, the swarm of athletes follows those in the lead, like a flock of sheep, and if they make a wrong turn, it leads to a big mess. In any case, after running 6 km in the wrong direction and losing nearly an hour off the schedule, I reconnected with the correct path to follow. Needless to say, this blunder affected my race time and consequently my ranking. No big deal, as I've already emphasized on other occasions, ultratrails should be experiences of self-reflection, not competition with others!
In a night race, the rules change significantly. Imperfections in the terrain are less noticeable, directional signs too, and the trails are less distinct. This requires much better attention to the landscape and signs meant to keep you on the right path. The Neander Trail, aside from the initial stretch, is more of a race for descending than climbing. This particular aspect should not lead to underestimating the level of competition, especially since after 52 km, the descent can become tougher than an ascent, especially in the darkness of the night.
The first to cross the finish line took about 5 hours (winner Antoine Guillon), and my time was just over 8 hours (despite numerous navigation errors), placing me in the 25th position in the overall ranking. This time left me satisfied with my performance.
For a more official description, you can refer to this link: https://www.runnersworld.com/it/news/a2354/6deg-raid-notturno-del-neander-trail/
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