100 km de la Vallée du Semnon : alone or in a 6 runners relay

23 Jun 2011 06:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race

§staticmap(6427,5,450,250)Hello, on September 25th 2011, you’ll be organizing the 100 km de la Vallée du Semnon (100K of the Semnon Valley) . Can you tell us where it is located?

The start and finish lines are in Bain de Bretagne, a 7000 inhabitant town located 25 km South of Rennes (on the Rennes/Nantes axis).

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

The major race for the event is a 100 km relay, run by teams of 6 runners. This relay race is renowned in the region, and many clubs, friends, family, friends, or associations take part to spend the day together.

This year will be the 26th edition of the race. The other races are more recent: 5th edition for the individual 100 km and 3rd for the 50 km race. The event was created in 1986 and gathered 16 teams! The goal was simply to set up a sporting event that would unite the municipalities of the Semnon Valley.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Let’s be clear: Brittany is not a flat region… Over the 100 km of the route, no less than 80 hills and 1,300 m of elevation gain !

It takes place mostly on small roads of the Breton countryside: it crosses 16 municipalities, and  offers the runners a quiet and endearing environment with glimpses typical of the region: crosses, mills, farms, farmhouses, forests, …

All participants seem to like it!

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

120 to 150 teams take part in the relay. That’s about a thousand runners!

As for the individual races, we expect between 50 to 80 participants in the 100K and a little less on the 50K.

Most of the runners are from Brittany or from adjoining regions. Some participants come from further away and we even have a few foreigners. But as the route is not designed to set personal bests, we don’t attract long distance specialists!

Do you organize other races during the week-end? If so, on what distances?

Over Sunday, we organize 5 races:

  • individual 100 km: start 5:00,
  • 6 runner relay 100 km: start 9:00,
  • individual 50 km: start 9h30 (the only start not located in Bain de Bretagne),
  • Les foulées (10.5km): start 10h00,
  • familly walk (1 to 2km): start 11h00.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

We very often have a nice end-of-summer weather: sunny but cool (or even cold) in the morning. The weather conditions are in general well suited for running.

Have you planned festivities around the race?

Yes, our race is coupled with the “virades de l’espoir”, an nation wide event organized to raise money for the cystic fibrosis cure research.
Different activities are organized over the week-end. On Saturday: a 10 km walk during the afternoon, visit of the Bertaud Mill, pasta-party. On sunday: introduction to roller skating, garage sales, lunch for the “virades de l’espoir”, … The full agenda can be found on our website (www.relais-semnon.com)

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Bain-de-Bretagne before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Bain de Bretagne and its surrounding countryside are quiet and attractive. There are many restaurants, for a quick snack or a gourmet meal. For those who don’t know the city yet, I’d certainly recommend visiting Rennes. You won’t get bored, just seek advice from the volunteers !

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the 100 km de la Vallée du Semnon ?

While organizing the event, we always make decisions with the runners in mind : we want to make the event a pleasant moment. And the many messages we receive from runners show that we are not far from our goal…

Furthermore, the environment is nice and the atmosphere friendly with all the runners sharing the same route or the same meal after the races. What we are the most proud of is that the majority of the volunteers are runners so they know how to answer the participants questions and please them.


Interview with Fabrice Fégard, vice-president of the association in charge or organizing the event. He personally manages the registration for the 50 K and 100K races. Fabrice is a runner, training 3 to 5 times per week and taking part in many races, trails (2 or 3 marathons per year and  a yearly 100K)? He thinks that organizing a race is a great way to give back to the runner’s community.