For its fifth running, the Course Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau brings together all running enthusiasts, whether they are competitive runners or simply running for their own pleasure and wellbeing. The race is popular and accessible, attracting amateur enthusiasts cheered on by their families.
Created in 2007, the Course Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau has become an important event in the world of running. Year on year, its success is consolidated: 10,500 runners registered in 2007, 13,500 in 2012, 14,500 in 2014, and 15,000 in 2016 to tackle this Viaduct that floats above Millau and the beautiful valley of the Tarn.
Good media coverage has increased awareness of this unusual race, with feedback from all the national and regional television channels, the national, local, general-interest and specialist press, and many websites.
Exceptional closure of the Viaduct
The French Ministry of Ecology and Transport has authorised closure of the motorway for 4 hours.
Traffic is therefore stopped between 9am and 13pm. With support from the DIR Massif Central, vehicles are diverted to allow runners to cross the 4.9 km of the Viaduct, which is cleaned afterwards. The Compagnie Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau mobilises its teams to ensure that the Viaduct can be closed and reopened within the allotted time. After safety checks, the motorway is once again opened up to vehicles.
The overriding feeling that one feels taking part in a race such as this one is a feeling of originality, a sense of freedom – it is as if you are floating in the wind above a sea of greenery. These are the values promoted by a sport that is constantly growing. The latest studies clearly show that French people are interested in running. It is a sport that is open to everyone, male and female, with people of all ages taking part.
A party atmosphere
Although a raft of top level international athletes is invited to take part in the Course Eiffage, which is part of the FFA’s calendar, the entire race is run in good humour, with runners very happy to be able to experience this rare event, crossing the viaduct on foot in both directions.
Far from being competitive, the atmosphere in which the race is run is a festive one, with some groups even running in fancy dress.
It is one of many races that involve famous bridges but with one difference: the Millau Viaduct is the highest motorway bridge in the world, with a pier that reaches a height of 245 metres.
With an uphill climb of 390 metres and a total distance of 23.7 km, runners can feel pride in having accomplished such a great feat. There are personal challenges and challenges among friends and the Race even organises a Group Challenge, which can reinforce the sense of belonging to a group.
The event is a major logistical exercise organised down to the very last detail thanks to local associations, in particular, who help out with refreshments, at security points and with giving out race numbers. In this way, even those who do not run can enjoy the event from the inside! This means that a lot of people − almost a thousand volunteers − can get involved.