16 Aug 2015 – Trail des Hauts Forts, Morzine

This incredible race now in its seventh year is growing in popularity, with 150 entrants taking on the 26 mile route and nearly 500 tackling the 13 mile route. And so it was that four intrepid Striders stood at the start line at the centre of the very popular and beautiful ski resort of Morzine poised ready to tackle the infamous off road course.

Conditions on the day were bleak to say the least, heavy rain and low temperatures, reminiscent of the Snowdonia marathon only a few weeks before. Because of inclement weather some last minute course changes had to be made adding an extra 400 metres of elevation and 2 miles in distance, in total 15 miles and 2200 meters of climb, this is an epic! As we set off all seemed fine and soon settled into a comfortable easy pace, nice and steady, knowing what was ahead. Despite climbing and sleeping at altitude on a nearby Italian mountain (Gran Paradiso) a few days earlier we all felt the effects of heavy exertion at altitude 2400 metres on the highest point of the course. Understandably this race is used as a qualify for the ‘Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc’.

First Strider home in an incredible debut performance Mike Bryan 3 hours 27 (138th) followed by Daniko Milko Fastidio in an excellent 3 hours 42 (189th) not far behind a bedraggled John Houghton in 3 hours 46 (208th) then wife Louise Houghton 3 hours 58 (257) despite 2 extra miles and 400 metres being added recorded a course PB!

This race can be ran over a long weekend break, cheap return flights from Luton to Geneva, Friday – Monday, Morzine is only an hours transfer up the mountain, Good quality affordable B&B’s and great restaurant’s abound. It would be so good if more Striders would consider this race for next year, you’d love it, just ask Mike and Dan! [John]