Grande Randonnée 5
GR stands for Grande Randonnée [translation: Great Hike] and it represents a network of long-distance footpaths in Europe, mostly in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. The trails in France alone cover approximately 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi).
The GR 5 is a GR footpath that starts in the Netherlands, crosses Belgium and Luxembourg before crossing France from north to south. It begins in Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands and snakes its way down Europe to Nice in France.
The GR 5, also known as the Grand Traverse of the Alps, extends over 2,290 km (1,423 mi) and it represents one of the most rewarding multi-day hiking experiences in the world.
The GR 5 offers breathtaking landscapes and an experience to remember. However, be aware that you should be an experienced mountain hiker to embark on this journey. Besides the long hiking hours, you should be able to handle 1,300 meters (4,000 feet) up or down in a day, carrying a 5-10 kg (11-22-pound pack).
From Chamonix to Briançon via GR5 in 32 hours
From Chamonix-Briançon via GR 5, there is 203 km (126 mi), with 12,500 meters (41,010 ft) of elevation gain.
The current record is held by the trio François d'Haene, Michel Lanne and Thomas Véricel, who did the Chamonix to Briançon crossing in 37h 51m 39s, back in 2011.
Three trail-runners, Martin Kern, Grégoire Curmer, and Baptiste Robin, will attempt to break that record on 4 July 2020. Their goal? To go from Chamonix to Briançon in 32 h.
"This is a project that I have had in mind for many years," says the ultra-trail runner Martin Kern. "On social networks, I saw that Grégoire Curmer and Baptiste Robin wanted to make the crossing, I offered to participate and everything started from there", continues Martin Kern.
The preparation for this challenge was not easy, because of the two months of coronavirus COVID-19 confinement. But the three athletes managed to adapt and get the most out of their training. "It was complicated, but I did a lot of bodybuilding, gym, cardio", says Martin Kern.
Since deconfinement, the trio was able to take their training to the next level. Since 11 May, they have travelled up to 150 km (93 mi) each week.
"I know a good part of the course but the rest is a leap into the unknown," said Martin Kern, who set himself the objective of "going to the end without putting pressure on himself".
Five refuelling points are planned, notably at the Roseland and Plan du Lac shelters, with a maximum downtime of 20 minutes.
Fundraising for a documentary
An assistance team will accompany them throughout the journey, bringing their adventure to life on images on social networks. The trailers will be equipped with GPS beacons to follow their progress in real-time on a dedicated platform.
A fundraising has also been launched to finance the production of a documentary on the crossing. So far, over 4,000 € were collected. To support the three athletes, go here.
Sources @france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr, grfive.com, u-run.fr, utracks.com.