The deadline of Le TREG is approaching and competitors are refining their race strategy and gathering the materials needed for this extraordinary adventure: freeze-dried food packs, the compulsory medical pack, revising of GPS navigation principles. They are about to encounter a true human adventure in a pristine natural environment – all of which happens under optimal conditions where their security is monitored and ensured.
Le TREG is set in the heart of the Ennedi and is among the most spectacular “desert” races. No less than nine exceptional natural sites punctuate the progress of the competitors. From the start, the competitors will be mesmerised by a beautiful spot overlooking the guelta Archei area where camel herds come to drink.
Then after a few kilometres on rocky ground, they will arrive at the edge of the Oyo Maze and must take care not get lost. They then carefully descend towards the plateau, holding on with their hands. They will progress on the shore of the Saki lake and come across villagers living on the shores, travelling 65km before reaching the imposing Aloba Arch under which the Notre Dame de Paris could stand.
At 86km, runners will pass in front of the imposing Djoulia Arch, which inspired Le TREG’s logo. Further down the route, the second guelta of the route, that of Bachikele is greener and impressively serene.
The return journey along this loop has its share of beautiful sites: Anoko Rock, Chinékeï Arch, Elephant Arch with its beautiful likeness and finally the cave paintings of Manda Gueli.
Between these natural wonders, the path of the runners will alternate on rocky, sandy and semi-hard soils in the midst of massive sandstone and acacias, giving an unprecedented variety of desert landscapes. We can understand why the Ennedi is a candidate for classification as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
A demanding competition with an international line-up!
Le TREG 2015 includes three categories:
– 180km, the main event with 50% finishers last year
– 90km, a new distance
– 45km, a new distance
All competitors will start at the same time on 5 February 2015. Nine nationalities are lined up (France, South Africa, Chad, Sweden, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Italy) to battle it out over the three distances.
The favourite Le TREG participant of this year will undoubtedly be Guillaume Lenormand of the Quechua team who has regularly been on the podium for many hexagon trails and whose team was winner of the “Fools’ Diagonal” in 2010. His two person team won the Lybian Challenge in 2009 in a “desert” environment comparable to Le TREG. Will the barrier of 30 hours for the 180km be lowered?
The globe runner Sylvain Bazin who experienced some ups and downs last year intends to close the loop this year and is expected to achieve a good result.
As far as the women are concerned, Elodie Arrault, Queen of the Ennedi, will return to immerse herself in this magical environment she so enjoyed last year.
The attractions of the 90km Half TREG will be 2 teams from Africa:
– The team from Zakouma National Park consists of five Chadian anti-poaching rangers and their South African coach Jean Labuschagne. They undertake this challenge in memory of their fallen colleagues, who gave their lives fighting poachers in order to save elephants.
– The team from the organisation African Parks consists of 10 active members who come from all over Africa. They will run for the promotion of a project to declare the region of Ennedi as a “protected area”.
Watch the marathon live on the 5th of February here.
To read more about the Ennedi Marathon see Africa Geographic’s online magazine article: Africa’s Arches