5 days, 308km and 14km of positive elevation, that’s what it took Erwan, Morgan and Nicolas to cross the finish line of the 2019 Corsica Raid in France.
Corsica Raid is a race that started 25 years ago to attract tourism to the island located in the south of France mixing a number of sporting activities amongst which running, cycling, swimming, kayaking, mountain climbing and ropes.
At Scality we work hard but we also play hard so when we decide to take up a sporting challenge we go right for the hardcore ones – (check out when we ran from Paris to the French Alps to raise awareness for organ donation here)! This time was no different, Corsica Raid being a stage of the world cup in the discipline. We knew we were going to face the very best. And it started like this:
Day 1 – 18th place
All of the 36 teams gave a short presentation of their “sporting careers”, amongst the firefighters, those that climbed Everest and K2 without any oxygen, the sports instructors and other skiing instructors was our team whose main activity truly is Computer Engineering… Oh well, there was no turning around from then on!!
So here we went, leaving from Bastia in the North East of the island by 35 or so degrees in the hope that we may reach Ajaccio which is located West of the island. It was a relay race, 2 of the boys were racing whilst one would try to get some rest. The first day was pretty intense, to say the least, and we clearly needed it to get the ball rolling and into the rhythm of the race. We finished 18th on the first day. We were actually pretty happy with that as at least we were not last!
Day 2 – 11th place
By the beginning of the 2nd day, the boys were getting pretty competitive and making sure they fully prepared to give 100% of themselves. It paid off as they finished 11th on Monday evening.
By night / Day 3 – 7th place
They were in full racing mode when they started the night stage between the 2nd and 3rd day. A night of racing under the stars and finding your way through the rough and stinging bushes of the Corsican countryside. And what a way to start the 3rd day as they finished the night race ahead of the group, coming in in pole position!! By the end of Day 3, they came in 7th place.
Day 4 – 4th place
Two days left and we were already starting to feel the nostalgy of this adventure. The camaraderie between the teams was exceptional. Our team was awarded the Prix GUY CAU! for the best raid spirit as we were able to help another team out whose assistant, unfortunately, had to head to the hospital after sustaining a rather nasty cut to his hand. Without each other, the operational help but also the emotional support from each and every one, this race would pretty much be impossible!
The last two days went by in a flash. The boys were pumped up by their amazing results on Day 2 and 3 that they were now aiming for a podium! They finished Day 4 in 4th position.
“This Corsica RAID is so much more than extreme sport and competition, it’s not even a competition it’s a whole human experience where you go through incredible ups and down, where you get to meet wonderful people and create bonds with them through the tough times, where you go beyond your own limits because you just can’t let the team down and because you know you’ll be supported by your teammates as much as you do support them during their own downs. On top of that the thing that an adventure race has on top of any other “nature” type of races is that you need to use your brain all the time to come up with the right strategy, in order not to get lost as it is in orientation all the time meaning you have to find your way in the wilderness with just a map and a compass, you have to always ensure you have the right mandatory gears for the race you’re about to go to, since it’s for 5 days you have to deal with your sleeping hours, your food, keep your gear in the right shape… So unlike other races going through adventure racing in general and the Corsica RAID, in particular, is a whole different type of commitment and that’s what makes it “the real deal” for me!!” – Erwan Girard
Day 5 – the finish line
It was all down to the last day with an early start at 6 am to the top of the mount, literally up and down, a stage going down the mountain in the canyon, cycling down to the beach and then a very long orientation race across the bush and boiling heat. By then, the boys were in pole position again and on fire for the final stage – a 12km orientation runs along the rocky seaside with a beach finish.
Overall Scality came in 4th! We couldn’t have been more proud of our achievement. We’d come to Corsica thinking it would be amazing if we could at least finish the race and here we were finishing 4th! The support from our colleagues back home was amazing, the memories created during those 5 days will remain for a long while if not forever and the boost of energy you get from taking part to such a challenge is indescribable.
Many people asked me why I would choose to go on such an adventure during my time off with colleagues at that, something they find hard to identify with. For me the answer is pretty easy, if you want to work hard, which I do, then you need to make sure you play hard with your team members because you won’t last in the long run if not. And if you don’t create memories when the times are good then for sure you will never get through the hard times together! By the way, if you are wondering where I fit in this whole adventure, I helped the guys out with the logistics during the race, apparently, my pasta skills made wonders!