"The MDS had been on my wish list for twenty years. I had never dared taking the plunge, but when I heard about the first edition in Peru, I got even more tempted. And when I read that the first stage was taking place on 28 November – the day of my 50th birthday – I said to myself that I couldn't possibly miss that!" This is how Christian PICAUD (D131-FRA) found himself celebrating his birthday on the 37.2-km course of the first stage of MDS PERU.
Christian lives in Valence, France, in an environment conducive to trail running – hills, rocks, forest... – yet totally different from what he has found here in Peru: "The contrast is harsh and the acclimatization difficult." Despite several minor injuries, Christian is performing very well and even took the start of the long stage with the Top 50 athletes: "It was an unexpected privilege, a nice experience, but a tough one too..."
A runner for the past 25 years, Christian followed a quite standard journey: road racing, competition, and after a while, he got bored and started eyeing up single-tracks... "I no longer wanted to focus on performances or race times, I wanted to discover landscapes and share other values through running." Christian thus started trail running, before gradually moving towards ultra-trails, to finally reach the MDS, a rather logical consequence of that development.
Among the values dear to him, sharing and humility: on the bivouac, Christian's tent is located very close to those of Rachid EL MORABITY, Julien CHORIER and Nathalie MAUCLAIR. "Here, you can befriend anyone – even the top athletes. They're very accessible on a race like this – they're like all of us. There is a lot of generosity here, we share nice moments of friendliness around the bonfire in the evening."
As all his fellow competitors, he has succumbed to the charm of the Ica-Paracas desert's landscapes: "The scenery is beautiful and jaw-dropping!" Though he admits missing his much-appreciated wine – "I haven't yet found a good dehydrated one yet" – he's absolutely delighted to be part of this first edition: "The MDS is a myth, and now the myth has become a reality for me."