Paita, New Caledonia – 20th May, 2017.
Written by Bob Snow.
After days of uncertain weather, the skies cleared and the temperature started to rise as the two main races commenced at 7.30 am on Saturday 20th May.
After a mass warm-up in the starting area, the race was well and truly on. The terrain they had to contend with was quite varied, with some undulating dirt roads, some less defined bush tracks and lots of tall grass. The going was very tough with many underestimating the time it would take to complete the course.
Vanuatu sent two competitors to add to the Island importance of this inaugural Oceania event – Laly Kautpun and Thomas Tarroux. Both are trail specialists.
Those at the start/finish were able to follow the race courtesy of drone photography and a large screen, which followed all of the action.
In the main event – the 21 km Trail, there were 192 finishers with 22 understandably unable to finish the grueling course.
First home was Damien Boutellier (Dumbea Club – bib #31) in 2:09:11, followed by Christophe Castille (ASM Club) in 2:09:57 and then Guillaume Boccas (Paita Club) with a time of 2:09:58.
The Women’s Division was led home by Emma Kraft (Australia) 2:26:36, from Dulia Halliday (New Zealand) in 2:36:50 and Axelle Nardoux (Paita Club) in 2:37:05.
In the 12km Race, the first male over the line was Cedric Oblet (JSVDT Club) in 1:09:02 and the first female finisher was Alice Le Quentrec in 1:23:17. In all there were 121 finishers in this race.
Cedric is no stranger to Pacific Island competitions, with several appearances in track races ranging from 1500m – 10000m.
The full results of both races can be found at the following link – https://www.inlive.nc/decathlon/