Take a bow, François D'haene! The Frenchman crossed the line to win the 2016 edition of Diagonale DeFous in 23:44:57 this past weekend, his third win at the legendary 100-miler, also known as the Grand Raid of Reunion. Cheered by an enthusiastic crowd, he took time to high-five hundreds of outstretched hands down the stretch after covering 167 km and climbing 9700 meters in altitude. D'haene also won the this ultra-trail in 2013 and 2014.
“Wow! What an adventure! Thank you all for your support. Just amazing to have been able to share and live it,” D’haene said following the win. “What an incredible adventure. Just unbelievable to have the possibilities to share and live this kind of moment in our sport.”
Fellow Salomon athlete Ryan Sandes of South Africa charged up through the top 10 throughout the final day to finish 4th.
The end of race proved challenging for D’haene, and he tapped into his physical reserves and mental toughness to add to his illustrious career. "During the first twelve hours I experienced superb sensations changed my pace and took full advantage of the beautiful surroundings,” he said. “In the rise of Maïdo my legs became hard and raids that followed were more complicated, but my desire to go to the end remained intact. Thank you to those who supported me. My family, my support, environment, and the public gave me additional forces. "
Photos by Philipp Reiter