Trail du Grand Duc : in the heart of the Chartreuse massif in France

29 Nov 2012 08:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview Mountain Trail

Hello, on June 30th 2013, you’ll be organizing the Trail du Grand Duc. Can you tell us where it is located?

The race will start in the heart of the Chartreuse massif, in the village of Saint Pierre de Chartreuse in Isère, France.

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

We are organizing the 24th event this year. In the beginning, this race was created well before the trail appeared in France; it was the “pedestrian tour of Chartreuse”, and we were seen as the minority. We wanted to put the beauty of the Chartreuse massif in the forefront, to make all its many facets known and to make the participants want to return on holiday to the massif. Today, with the dramatic rise in trail races, the Grand Duc still attracts people with its friendly atmosphere, sporting aspects, and the quality of its routes and landscapes.

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

Every year we offer an entirely new route setting off from a different village.

This year, the route will be mainly sporty as the heart of the massif is 80km with 4900m of difference in height. The route forms a figure eight with a first loop in the north of Saint Pierre de Chartreuse and a memorable journey through the 120 sharp bends and a climb of the Petit Som by the chimney.

The second loop is geared more towards the south with a path through the high mountain pastures, the summit of the Pinéa and the symbolic summit of the Chamechaude.

In all, 3 mythical summits from which to admire the variety of Chartreuse landscapes!

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

We are expecting 1,000 runners at the start of the race, 330 soloists, 110 relays, 90 relays coming mainly from the Rhône Alpes region. In the previous event, we counted approximately 80% men and 20% women; 70% of the male and female runners coming from the Rhône Alps, 10% from the rest of France and 3% from the ends of the earth.

Beyond these figures, all are lovers of fine scenery, great atmosphere and fine routes.

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

We are offering the race to individuals, pairs or teams of 5…

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

In 23 years, we have only held one event in the rain, not bad for a statistic, don’t you think? So, good weather, of course!

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

Of course, we want runners and accompanying members to have a good weekend! There will be entertainment (treasure hunts, music, picnics…) all throughout the race and the possibility of following the race live on the internet.

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

A leap into the Norwegian baths of Oréade-balnéo to recuperate and a stop at the Trail Station to plan the next outings!

Credit : Terratrail

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Trail du Grand Duc?

The Grand Duc is the opportunity for a fine challenge in authentic surroundings with a friendly atmosphere where everyone will find good reasons to return!

Interview with Vinciane Le Gouic, coordinator for the Grand Duc.
Originally from Chartreuse and a lover of the massif, she was very keen to develop outdoor activities and to make the richness of this area known to everyone. In this sense, she is working for, and with, the Trail Station of Chartreuse, the office of the Cartusiana Mountain and even Tourism Chartreuse, the organizing association of the Grand Duc.