D’Haene breaks record on Corsica’s GR20 trail

François D’Haene took 31h 6m to run a distance that most hikers would take two weeks to complete.
Francois D'Haene poses for a photo after his record-breaking GR20 run in Corsica.
Francois D'Haene record-breaker © Dominique Granger
By Dominique Granger

After Guillaume Peretti, who ran the mythical trail in exactly 32h in 2014 and Killian Jornet in 32h 54m in 2009, it’s now François D’Haene’s turn to break the record on the trail that crosses the island of Corsica from north to south, the GR20, with an incredible time of 31h 6m.

D’Haene’s time is even more impressive considering that he did not have optimal meteorological conditions. On a trail where sections take the hiker/ runner onto rock slabs, and with many vertical ascents and descents along the way, the slightest bit of humidity can transform the terrain to an impossible (or very dangerous at least) path to take.

After three days of waiting before finally getting the all-clear from the meteorologists and local authorities, French ultra runner D’Haene left the little town of Calenza at 4am on the dot on June 3.

D'Haene was accompanied by pacers and a few other trail-savvy runners who were clearly motivated to take part in this historic feat.

Francois D'Haene in action during his record-breaking GR20 run in Corsica.
Not the easiest of terrain for a run © Dominique Granger

He arrived at 11:06am in Conca on June 4, in front of a crowd of fans, friends, family and officials.

The 180km long GR20 trail is well-known for its technical difficulty, with a total of 13,000m in elevation gain.

The northern part, has a reputation to be a deal-breaker, with very steep sections and rocky terrain, which make for a very challenging and draining first half.

The southern part, even if less technical, isn’t easy either: the path goes straight into the deep woods, is hard to find, and has to be crossed at night time.

Keep an eye out for the video of this immense feat, more photos and the full story on Wednesday, June 8.

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