Although I have directed a few running races before, the experience of directing a multi-day stage race is a new one for me. I conceived the idea of a Napoleon commemoration run years ago, and was originally planning to run it alone and unsupported from Moscow to Paris, Texas. But after observing first-hand the great and stylish job done by three of my French friends and stage race directors J-B Jaouen, Patrick Bonnot and Dominique Chaillou, I decided to try hosting an event of my own - something unique, quirky and fun. I hope it turns out to be so.
There's a huge amount of work involved in getting ready for this type of adventure. The good news is that I know almost all of the dozen runners well; they are experienced and good natured, and hopefully they will be forgiving and tolerant when the inevitable glitches arise. Apart from concern about logistics, the biggest stress is fear of traffic accident and/or police intervention. Hopefully it will all go swimmingly.
Yesterday was spent arranging our send off festivities with the nice people at the French Legation Museum, Austin's oldest building. On November 30, after meeting and introducing the runners, we will leave from the Museum and head to "base camp" in Crockett. The run from Moscow to Paris will take 7 days - 230 miles averaging 35 miles per day - from December 1 - 7. We stop along the way at Palestine, Athens, Canton and Sulphur Springs.