The morning mist hadn’t lifted yet when the starting signal for the Canalathlon was given. The 104 teams who had signed up for the event, representing over 400 participants in total – a record since the event’s creation –, took off in the streets of Fanjeaux for the first event of the day: the orienteering race. It wasn’t long before the first teams, some in costume for the occasion, found the markers hidden throughout the village. Next, they seized their bikes to cycle the 7.5 miles separating Fanjeaux from Montréal, where the second stage would begin: a race of one and a quarter miles. It was then the second pair’s turn to jump on a mountain bike for a 5-mile pedal to Béteille lock. For the last stage of the race, the four members of each team, reunited at last, boarded two canoes to reach Bram harbor. The water was cold, but the excitement kept the participants warm. Once moored in Bram harbor, a final effort awaited the teams to complete this sporting event: a 1-mile race to reach the finish line at Château de Lordat in Bram.
Meanwhile, the village of Bram, where the participants would arrive, had been busy preparing for the arrival of the first teams since 10 a.m. Families and passers-by were all able to enjoy many activities set up on site. From bicycles to smoothies, local producers’ markets and exhibitions – there was something for everyone! The VNF patronage program also had its own stand, where Marie-Constance Mallard, author of Violette Mirgue, Le trésor du canal du Midi, give children the opportunity to draw and complete a fresco dotted with Violette Mirgue mice. Once all the participants had arrived, the grounds of Château de Lordat were transformed into a stunning open-air restaurant!
At the end of the day, a check for €1,000 was handed over to Laurent Adnet, Head of the Voies navigables de France patronage program. All donations collected will be used to help finance the vast canal du Midi green canopy restoration project.
What had already been a wonderful day ended on a beautiful note in bright sunshine with the band “Baraka Groove.”
A big thank you to you, our weekend warriors (October 17)!