Heading out this morning I had a couple of goals in mind.

The first was to run a couple of circuits of the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra course on the Mont Fourviere and get a feel for the time I would need to run a lap there. That done, the second was to run a nice steady pace for the remainder of the run and confirm I was recovered from the Saint-Fons 6 Hour last weekend.


I decided to start with the laps of the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra so as to hit the stairs when I was feeling my best. It’s a very short couple of minutes to the bottom of the hill and then it’s a flight of maybe 200 stairs before the 563 stairs of the course itself. I didn’t push hard going up these stairs and took them two at a time in a smooth rhythm until taking them a little slower near the top.

At the summit of the stairs it’s a slight climb to the Parc des Hauteurs and then an easy run through the park until the top of the Piste de la Sarra. I’ve only descended this once before and that was in the dark on the night of the Lurdunum earlier this year. That time, though, we took the switchbacks down the MTB course and, for the Ultra Boucle, the track is the more direct drop straight down the hill. This is steep – make no mistake about this – and I am sure it will be draining on my quads by the time I am a couple of hours into it.

At the bottom I took a right turn and headed along the rolling road to the bottom of the staircase again. I took a look at my watch as I turned up the stairs and noted the time. Trying to figure out how long it takes to run the course will help me figure out a reasonable goal for the day. By the time I had completed another lap about 13 minutes had passed and this is about what I expected. This sort of speed will put me on track for about a 48-50km day, if I could keep it up. Those stairs, though, are killer, and I may end up aiming for something like marathon distance instead. Having completed this recce of the course I dropped down to the Old City and made my way from St Paul to St George. I followed the river along and decided to try running a route I hadn’t run before, tracing the river down to Mulatiere. It’s not a bad run and, on a Sunday morning, there was no one to crowd the narrow sidewalks. I had Tony Martin’s Illegal Download in my ears and was smiling as I ticked over the kilometers.

I turned around at the rail bridge and headed back towards Confluence before following the river back upstream towards the city center. Criss-crossed my way through the bottom of the Pentes, then headed up the hill to stop my watch a touch over 16.5km.

I got in the laps of the Ultra Boucle course I was hoping to get in, I explored a new route, and I listened to some very funny clips – what more could I ask of a Sunday morning run?

Distance: 16.5km

Elevation: 357m

Time: 1:28:29


Image by Didier Duforest.

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