Mauritius’ original and most popular trail run is held in the beautiful Chamarel and Bel Ombre regions in mid-May every year.
About 600 contestants took part in the Royal Raid’s first edition in 2006. In contrast, 1082 trail-running enthusiasts took part in the trail’s 2018 edition, held on May 12th. The event drew participants from both Mauritius and other countries, including Reunion, which has form in trail-running thanks to its renowned Grand Raid.
Three different courses within the Royal Raid
Previously, the Royal Raid consisted of three races (respectively 80 km, 35 km and 15 km long) whose routes wound through the extraordinary natural landscapes of Chamarel, the Black River Gorges and the region’s private hunting grounds.
This year, however, the medium and long-distance races underwent some substantial changes. On the advice of Simon Desvaux, who has won the Royal Raid three times, including in 2018, the long-distance trail was shortened from 80 to 70km, while the medium-distance race was lengthened from 35km to 37 km. Both races’ routes were also moved to hillier terrain to make them more challenging. This year, they snaked through the verdant Black River Gorges National Park and ascended the park’s Parakeet Trail before making their way across private estates including Yemen, Jet Ranch, les Écuries de la Vieille Cheminée, Kamaya, Hermitage, Bon Courage and Heritage Nature Reserve in Bel Ombre.
As always, the 15km race took place in the heart of the Heritage Nature Reserve in Bel Ombre.
The Royal Raid 2018 also included the first edition of the Heritage Mountain Challenge, organised in partnership with a Reunion-based event. For the first time, a giant screen allowed those waiting at the Raid’s finish line to watch runners cover the race’s last kilometre.