I did my first trail on the 30th of June 2019, and honestly I was stressed. I questioned, friends and adherents of this sport. Many of them told me that preparation was needed. Training was required so as to finish the route and honestly speaking am no sports person.
On Thursday, I took a leap of faith. I registered for the trail at the Tourism Office. Still bearing the feeling of fear in my chest, I asked the lady who was in charge; when do we get our race packs, where and when will the trail begin. She smiled, as nicely as possible, she told me to listen to the radio in the morning. It would be announced.
I am no morning person, even less someone who listens to the radio. Honestly why would I want to wake up at 6.00am so as to know when the Trail would be taking place. Being of the Gen Z, and having the naivety to believe that people were taking advantage of the fibre optic cable rapid internet connection, I decided to take a look at their website.
Unfortunately for me, time had stopped on the latter since 2016. On their facebook page, no mention was made of the Trail Fauvette-short I was about to take part in. At this point am like will this even take place? As a last resort, I got in contact with a friend who works for the association. She was able to clear my doubts.
So two days before the D-day, I decided it was time to prepare myself. I did some rope skipping for 3 minutes. Considering it more than enough I went to bed. On the eve, I prepared my clothes and my bag. Filled my bottle with sweetened water, put in a packet of sweets and spare clothes. Ready to go I thought to myself.
Focused and pumped, on the D-day, I woke up at 5.am. My mom who was a morning person was still sleeping. Lucky me I thought, the stars are on my side. I will not have to bear with scoldings. No sooner have I had this thought, the bedroom door opens and there she is crossed arms and raised eyebrows, giving orders.
Thirty minutes later, I am through the door. I catch the first bus. At Port Mathurin, I waited for a whole hour before the bus for Pointe Coton to arrive. I kind of fell asleep, a few minutes after the conductor collected the bus fare. At 7.45am we arrived at Pointe Coton. There were about 200 participants and no one to guide newbies like me through the process. I stand in the first line I see, and eventually people start to get ahead of me. By the time am at the end of the queue, they asked me to show my identity card and to pay the required sum for registration.
First of all, I already paid at the Rodrigues Tourism Office (apparently, you can also register on the day of the trail, no need to do it at least 3 days before). Secondly they reminded me my birthday was in 3 days so thanks and thirdly, it was a warm welcome.
After, notifying them of my presence and pinning a bib which I was offered (No 115). I became conscious of my surrounding. People were warming up, this was something serious for them. Like just anyone else, I succumbed to the pressure around me and started warming up for no reason at all together with a friend.
The trail runners, were briefed a few minutes before the trail started. I was listening attentively until the person said: “Remember, always follow the purple marks.” Everything he said before and after this became a blurry memory. Throughout the briefing, there was this creepy guy, standing next to me screaming : “Selfie, selfie, there’ll be a selfie for this run.” I stood the farthest I could.
A few minutes later, the race began. I could feel myself moving rapidly, almost as if I was running. Indeed, yes I was but not for a very long time. Breathless and my heart racing, I had to stop. I walked and walked. Until there was no more purple marks. I began to stress.
Fortunately, being a daring person. I asked a villager if ever they had seen any trail runners. After following the indicated path, i did meet with another purple mark. Here’s a picture of us both. Can you see the happiness on my face?
Walking tirelessly towards the finish line, I met with the sole supply point available. The rations were meagre, there were small cups of water, fizzy drinks, sugar, salt and raisin. I took a handful of raisin and kept on walking.
I could feel myself in harmony with nature. Part of it was probably because it surrounded me and part of it might have been because I was lost(I found out only later). I even stopped to take pictures with the cows and the woods. A few moments later, I lost track of the purple marks again. We were on the main road, and I asked someone who was standing on the bus stop for directions. She politely showed me the way. Just before we parted ways, she asked me if I was participating in the trail and announced that I was lost. I was shook, I did not know I was lost until she told me so and I followed all the purple marks as instructed. How did this happen? I do not know.
We waited for someone else to come. He explained to me what route I should take. I followed his instructions and got lost again. Long story cut short, I did finish the trail. When I arrived at the finish line every body was gone, the prize giving ceremony was over and instead of walking 14.9km for the Trail Fauvette-short I was supposed to be in, I did 20.2km. And remember the guy who was screaming “SELFIE, SELFIE”? He was actually a .
Since every good story has an ending, I gave back my bib to the workers and went on the beach, had a nice swim in the cold waters. Read a little and sat by the beach all by myself and watched the sun set, like a big girl, all by myself. I enjoyed my me time, before going home. I did a retrospective on my life and future. And honestly, I believe everyone should live a day like this. Filled with ups and down, which tests your nerves and patience and which finally ends in an all that’s good way.
Until next time,