Focus on a race Interview

Interview: Marathon de la Loire

10 Feb 2017 10:19
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Credit : Marathon de la Loire

Hello, on April 16th 2016, you’ll be organizing the Marathon de la Loire. Can you tell us where it is located?

The Marathon de la Loire will take place in Saumur, France, next April on the 15th and 16th. It takes place in unmatchable surroundings, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Starting Saturday about a hundred running and health professionals will welcome the runners at the Expo, on the Place de la République. The four races of the Marathon de la Loire are great opportunities to discover the most beautiful sites along the Loire River.


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

This year will be our first edition. Pierre-Alain MONTANIER, encouraged by his relatives, created the project after noticing that no such event existed in the region and that runners were eager to take part in one. He was totally right. To this day, more than 1,400 runners have already registered for the individual Marathon. This project would not have been set up without the support of the Club d’Athlétisme du Pays Saumurois (CAPS) and the Comité Départemental d’Athlétisme du Maine et Loire.

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

The course of the emblematic marathon will take the runners through the most beautiful sites of around Saumur. With only 43 m of cumulative elevation gain it should allow runners to set new personal bests while running in an amazing landscape. The participants will go through a 100% nature environment along the Loire River and then go back to an urban environment for 7km in the heart of the old city of Saumur. The race will be a challenge (both sportive and personal) which promises to be full of emotions and build great memories.

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

On Sunday, 2,000 solo runners should be on the starting line of the Marathon. We hope that this event will be the perfect opportunity to gather competitive and recreational runners around the same passion.

What are the distances on the agenda?

There are 3 complementary races along the Marathon: a 2 runner Relay Marathon (24km for the first runner and 18km for the second one); a 2 runner combined race during which the participants will paddle 12km down the Loire River in a two-seater canoe and then run 18km. We also organize the Foulées de la Loire, a 10km race, formally measured. All runners will be on the starting line at the same time in order to create a real energy between the participants of different races. There will only be of a few minutes delay between the start of each race.

Credit : Marathon de la Loire

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

We have no idea what climatic conditions to expect on the specific day of the race. However, the region is well known and appreciated for its cool weather and as the race takes place at the beginning of Spring, the odds of having a great weather are quite high.

Have you planned festivities around the event?

Musicians, singers, dancers will entertain the runners along the different routes. At the race expo we hope to create a unique atmosphere around values, joys and emotions that running in competition can bring about.

For runners who have never been to Saumur, would you recommend any activities, visits or experiences in general that would help them discover the city before or after the race?

Saumur is a city which is rather touristic due to its setting. There are many cellars to visit where runners will be able to taste tiny bubbles. Hiking along the Loire River is also possible and strongly recommended for its incomparable sceneries. The city of Saumur offers many treasures: architecture, troglodyte housing, vineyards, former bargemen villages and many religious heritage sites.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Marathon de la Loire?

The Marathon de la Loire is a major running event in the French Grand Ouest where everyone will find a race to fit his or her abilities. You will be seduced by its amazing setting, its festive animations and its friendly atmosphere.

Interview with the organization team of the Marathon de la Loire, headed by Pierre-Alain MONTANIER (co-manager of Loire Événements Organisation – LÉO).