However, this legend is alive and well!
It happens every year and it’s up to you to try it.
This is, of course, the famous “Marvejols/Mende” race.
This mythical half-marathon quickly nicknamed “The Legendary Race” (la course de légende).
… It wears the nickname “Legendary Race”
Because Legendary … it is in more ways than one:
Few of them remember the battle of these small groups of enthusiasts in the late 1960s to make road racing a discipline in its own right.
The Athletics Federation of the time, an unshakable granite block, seemed opaque to this new way of running that was developing and was trying to make a small place among its big sisters “on tracks” or in “Cross country”.
The same applied to the place of women in sport in general and in road racing in particular.
It was therefore by defying many prohibitions that Jean-Claude Moulin, the brothers Boudet and Begnatborde (and certainly others whom I forget and who, I hope, will not hold it against me) organized in July 1973 , the 1st Marvejols/Mende half-marathon.
A road race open to women (which was not the case for any other long-distance event at the time. Because until 1980, women were not allowed to run over a distance of more than 5 km maximum !!) and open to non-licensees.
It took courage, because within the Athletics Federation, we were far from sharing this growing enthusiasm for a type of race that marked a fundamental change in the vision of this sport.
From 1973 to 1979, the Marvejols/Mende half marathon became a symbol. Jean-Claude Moulin was even suspended for a year by the Athletics Federation.
But thanks to the participation of renowned runners (men and women, French and foreign) and an increasing number of anonymous people, the french Ministry of Youth and Sports put an end to this “vagueness” in 1979 and allowed a real considering of road races.
Today, the “Marvejols/Mende” is still part of the big races. This semi is always talked about and many people come back once they taste it.