Ultra Marin Raid Golfe du Morbihan
Sporting activity and discovery in Gulf of Morbihan
Since 2005 the Ultra Marin Raid Golfe du Morbihan Association has organised an annual Trail Running event in the month of June. This sport orientated experience involves a number of races along trails comprising of approximately 80% paths and 20% roads marked out by Morbihan Council around the Gulf of Morbihan area. The Ultra Marin winds its way through 16 municipalities including the urban areas of Vannes and Auray as well as Séné, Theix-Noyalo, Le Hézo, Saint-Armel, Sarzeau, Saint Gildas, Arzon, Locmariaquer, Crach, Pluneret, Le Bono, Baden, Larmor-Baden and Arradon.
This unusual, visually appealing and varied running course in the heart of the Gulf of Morbihan and Brittany has been marked out and made safe for competitors day and night during the event. Participants can subsequently enjoy a major sporting challenge in a marvellously magical setting.
Every year competitors sprint their way along coastal trails from one cove to the next, skirting lovely little beaches and rocky outcrops and soaking up the fabulous scenery of the Gulf of Morbihan. Heather and gorse-lined paths take them through pine forests to the old tide-powered windmills of Noyalo and Pen Castel on the Peninsula of Rhuys. Participants cross stone bridges and the old suspension bridge at Bono with wonderful views of the river and continue on through the many little ports that dot the route including Saint-Goustan, Port-Navalo, Port du Logeo, Port-Blanc, Port-Anna and Vannes.
Menhirs pop into view along the way as well as the megalithic burial mounds at Kernours just outside the town of Bono.
Runners will also pass timbered houses along their journey such as those in the port of Saint-Goustan with its cobbled streets lined with small restaurants, as well as fishermen’s cottages hugging coastal paths and old Breton stone houses fringing village streets. Participants might also be surprised by the diversity of bird species as they cross the marshlands of Séné, Hézo and Saint-Armel – a wonderful sight for those of a dreamy disposition.
Despite the rugged nature of the coastline, especially at Arzon and at Larmor-Baden, this 177 kilometre course incorporates a total rise and fall in ground level of 1054 metres and does not present any major technical challenges.
However this is a long distance race and as such requires participants to prepare themselves physically to cope with a variety of surfaces from soft sand to hard rock, dirt trails and bitumen. Trails are often littered with tree roots and other stumbling hazards so participants are required to be vigilant and wear a head torch when running at night.
Race Circuits 2017
4 free-style foot races to walk or run in one go. Open to both experienced racers and walkers:
In 2017, no major changes to routes for the différent Trails: the 177 km will run as it has done last year, in a loop shape from Vannes back to Vannes in the same direction: Vannes to Arradon - Larmor - Baden - Auray - Locmariaque r- Port-Navalo - Sarzeau and back to Vannes. Half way around the course racers of Grand Raid 177km will be required to cross the Gulf from Locmariaquer to Port-Navalo by boat and a mid-race refreshment stop will be provided after the boat crossing at Port-Navalo. The 87 kilometre Raid foot race will kick off at Port du Crouesty and end at the esplanade in Vannes harbour. Trail 56 is a 56 km foot race that starts at Sarzeau and ends in Vannes as well. The 36 kilometre Ronde des Douaniers race will depart from Séné. But, The route of the 29 kilometre Nordic Walk changes. The race will start at Séné.
As usual the finish line for all races is on the esplanade in Vannes harbour.
Teams comprising of at least a minimum of 5 competitors can participate in the Ultra Marin Challenge. Each team member selects one of the 5 races and those who successfully reach the finish lines earn from 1 to 6 points for their team depending on their choice of race.
The principle of all these races is semi food self-sufficiency. There are 10 refuelling stops dotted along the 177 kilometre course, approximately every 15 to 20 kilometres : 6 light refreshment stops providing beverages, fresh and dried fruit and cheese and 4 more comprehensive refreshment stops providing hot meals at Larmor Baden, Arzon, Sarzeau and Vannes. There are also 3 water stops (water only) at Locmariaquer, Le Hézo (Estran) and Port-Anna. Medical teams are on stand-by at all 4 rest stops of Le Bono, Arzon, Sarzeau and Vannes. Two medical and response vehicles are also in attendance along the course for the duration of the event.
The Ultra Marin Village
Since 2010 Vannes has been at the heart of the event. The esplanade at Vannes harbour is the location for the Ultra Marin village with its exhibitor stands, podium and diverse entertainment during the 3-day long event. This is the start location for the 177km Grand Raid and the finish location for all races.
Ultra Marin volunteers
Approximately 1000 volunteers participate every year in the organisation of the event by providing direction, ensuring safety along the course and by cheering on walkers and runners.