Athletes participating in the Beausoleil Stair Race over the weekend climbed an astounding 66 flights of stairs at top speed in a race against the clock.
Anyone who has taken the stairs to the heights of Beausoleil knows it is not for the faint of heart, so imagine a scenario where you have to run!
That is precisely what happened on Saturday 18th March, when 70 participants donned their running shoes to take on the Beausoleil stairs – all 427 of them – for the 23rd annual Beausoleil Stair Race.
This unusual contest starts at the market at the bottom of the Riviera Palace and ends 66 flights later at the top of the town, using steam from the runner’s legs only: no escalators, no aids and no stopping.
“This famous race can only take place here, the stairs of the city are an integral part of our daily lives and of the urban landscape,’ said Gérard Spinelli, Beausoleil’s mayor.
The course is 350 metres, with a total elevation gain of 70 metres, which may not seem like much until being tasked to do it.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
The winners were, for the men, Quentin Raibaut from the Vésubie Trail Club, who made the grade in a super-fast one minute and 27 seconds. He was only one second shy of the all-time record.
The women’s winner will sound familiar: Valérie Raibaut from AS Monaco Athletics, who shares a name with the men’s winner as she is his mother. She came in at one minute and 58 seconds.
The race also featured two disabled participants: Valérie Hirschfield, who bravely raced with only one leg, and Aladji Ba, the blind sprinter who was a double bronze medallist at the Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.
“Compared to athletics, it represents an effort of a runner of about 400 or 800m,” said Jean-François Piccini, creator of the Course des Escaliers, to demonstrate the difficulty level.
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Photo source: Ville de Beausoleil