A Human Experience
As summer came to a close, despite the cold and wet weather, a joyful ambiance set the scene for the 2nd annual Ultra Spirit event. While all the participants would agree that conditions were less than ideal, smiles remained on their faces. One team including Hugo Woerner, Maëlle Ayouenou and Julien Lizeroux can attest. That's what the Ultra Spirit is at its core: a team that supports one another in the high and low moments. Laughing with your teammates, even when it's miserably cold, pushing yourself even when you didn't get much sleep. In short, it's living fully in the moment and sharing experiences together without fixating on performance or the end result.
Hugo Woerner, who participated in the Ultra Spirit as part of the Petzl team, confirmed that "beginning this adventure without knowing the distance or even the elevation gain ended up being the most exciting part! I wanted to participate for the fun of it, for the pure enjoyment! And I wanted to do it all among friends." When we tell you the Ultra Spirit is more than a simple trail race, we mean it. People are attracted to this event because it's different right down to its core; and they come back for the feeling of generosity. Not exactly in his element, former pro skier, Julien Lizeroux was "skeptical about ultra running [...] but in the end, the Ultra wasn't so bad, especially being in good company for a laugh and having a team to pull together when things got difficult."
Volunteers — Making It Happen
The Ultra Spirit isn't just the runners, it's an army of volunteers who have poured themselves into making this adventure an unforgettable one. Armed with a smile and a can-do attitude in the face of every obstacle, they're the foundation of this event. Whether they're pointing the runners in the right direction at checkpoints, providing fuel at aid stations, or overseeing challenges (always in a team, of course), a warm welcome is guaranteed.
Trail or Tart? Why choose?
The array of challenges and activities in this event are accompanied by sustainable practices, with food and products sourced from local businesses, adding yet another dimension to this unique adventure. Like many other participants, Julien Lizerou and his team "shared meals prepared on-site using good, local products, while making conversation with organizers and volunteers." Local food to warm our hearts (and stomachs)! Because, as Maëlle Ayouenou admits, even if our helpings are “a bit heavy-handed” despite having to hit the trail tomorrow, nothing beats a good Beaufort tart and a local beer to wash it down. Here, trail running and culinary delight go hand in hand, and everyone joins in without forgetting to take care of the planet.
If the Ultra Spirit has taught us one thing, it's that trail running is not just a physical activity and that mountains are not just a training ground for performance. They're a space where we can be free; they compel us to come together and share the abundance of experiences they have to offer.
The Second Annual Ultra Spirit: A Team of Two
As with any adventure, there are ups and downs, but this event pushes us to navigate challenges and conserve values that are meaningful to us, so we both feel delighted to devote so much of our energy to it every day.
It's been intense, at times exhausting, but it shows us that mutual trust, communication, and all our shared experiences are an incredible force for overcoming it all.
And what an outcome! It's a pleasure to share this together. To see the tired, yet smiling faces after 3 days spent together.
We're ready for year 3...