Maxi Marathon Race
4th June 2022

Categories: Trail Race

After a long winter skiing and training it was finally time to put on a bib again. As part of the TNF team, I was in Annecy for the athlete summit which paired nicely with the Maxi race. As it was the first race of the year, I opted for the marathon course as opposed to the 88km main event.

The marathon course was quoted as being 39km but was closer to 36km with a climb of nearly 3000m. The special thing about this course was that the route was a secret, so armed only with the elevation profile and the knowledge that there were two aid stations it became more of a challenge to make a race plan and carry all the fuel required.

Competition was going to be a little thin as Zegama was the same day. A late entry by Petter Engdahl meant the race wasn’t going to be a walk in the park and mid-way through I was thinking he was going to run away with the win.

The course had three main climbs, the first being over 1100m, the second up towards 1000 and the third something like 800. The first two though were this annoying middle gradient where I find it tiring to keep a run going but loose time from hiking. So topping out on the second climb I was over a minute behind Petter. Needing to make a toilet stop, having a little tumble and taking a tiny wrong turn didn’t help but I was still weaker on the climbs than I needed to be.

My saving grace, as always, was on the downhill and having some nice protective shoes helped me catch and pass Petter without feeling every rock through the soles. The last climb suited me far more being more gradual, and I managed to keep and maybe grow the lead towards the top. All that was left now was to pass hundreds of people on the short course descending to the finish. With the word ‘pardon’ repeated about 1000 times I was finally over the line in just under three and a half hours.

Altogether a good racing experience but I certainly felt a little rusty. That’s what first races of the year are for though! Obviously a bit jealous for missing Zegama but then it had been a fun week at the summit and the ‘secret course’ of the Maxi race was a memorable experience.

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