The success of the iBV Night Hike and Run last January, with 30 people exploring the hills of Pessicart and Gairaut under the moonlight, prompted the running club to choose a hiker-friendly trail race this time. As beautiful mountain setting, sunny weather and post-race pasta were also essential prerequisites, the Trail des Merveilles of Breil-sur-Roya on March 3rd, 15 km and 900m D+, seemed like the ideal choice for making everyone happy!

Vangelis at the start, clanging cowbells on the way and a little traffic jam on the first kilometers…wait a minute, this smells like a Chamonix race! But not quite: only in Breil can you have violin, flutes and accordion concertos in the wilderness, a visit through a picturesque farmhouse (hello horsies, ponies, cows and kid goats!) and a route going through the peaceful hamlets of “Libre”.

These cheerful moments, organized by volunteers from the valley, were all the more appreciated as single-track trails were sometimes brutal, starting with a strenuous climb to the well-named tower of the Cruella above the village, later followed by a 500-m elevation gain on 2 km only, through a dark forest. It took strength and courage to all 7 hikers (Marika, Anna, Malala, Alex, Andres, Akif and Zhou) and 4 runners (Marie-Cécile, Nathalie, Clotilde and Olivier), but, rewarded by the beautiful views from the mountain top, they made it happily back to the village, proud of what they had accomplished together.

This Sunday, life was simple: wild landscapes, hospitality of the locals, colleagues made true companions for a race day and joy taken from the effort.

What more to expect? A podium and prize for Nath, 3rd in her category!