M.E.A.N. events with Guillaume Arthus

Guillaume Arthus joins me to talk about an acronym he’s been using to describe alt-format events in this wacky sport of ours. MEAN stands for Mind – Endurance – Autonomy – Navigation and describes events with increased mental strain, abnormally long distances, many, many hours of alone time, and map reading and/or navigation requirements.

Col de Taglangla – India 2016 – 5359m

In this interview, we talk about ten events around the world that satisfy one or all of those demands. Some are proper races, some are fatass-style events, and there’s one in particular I really really want to see stateside.

Guillaume has participated in many of them, and he’s used the experience to take on some serious fastback pushes, from 14 days crossing the Pyrenees unassisted to his current project that’ll take him from Slovenia to Monaco—acrosss the entirety of the Alps–later this year.

Eiger Switzerland

We also talk about the European MUT scene (Guillaume is based in Paris), the lack of FKTs, why most trail videos suck, and what in the hell he did to toughen up his feet.

Barkley 2017

MEAN events, in order of discussion;

  1. Terminorum, Dead Sheep, and the Revanent. All Barkley-esque events outside of the US.
  2. Big’s Backyard Ultra and it’s 25 sister (crazy uncle, more like it?) races around the world.
  3. The Triple Crown of 200s, Tor des Geants, and UTMB’s Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL.)
  4. The Viking Way and the Spine Race. (Note, we erroneously named Nicky Spinks as the winner of The Spine Race this year…it was Jasmin Paris. My apologies.)
  5. The Hill and the Ultra Trail Mont Martre.
  6. Paris by Night. (80k thru Paris that hits 100 monuments in a single night.) Contact Guillaume thru his site for more info.
  7. Escape from Meriden (24hr) and Escape from Great Britain (48hr.)
  8. The Hell Race in India. 120 hours to run 480k with an avg elevation of 4400m (14, 400ft.) Here’s the movie I referenced.
  9. Fastpacking. Here’s a link to Guillaume’s trans-Alps project.
  10. Piece of String Race.
  11. The Tunnel Ultra in England. More info here.

Here’s Guillaume’s website and here’s a link to his YouTube channel.

Intro music: David Rosales | Outro Music: AJ LeGrand

Think Barkley or Big's have funky formats? Guillaume and I discuss 8 other races around the world that'll test your Mind, Endurance, Autonomy, and Navigation (MEAN) skills.
Guillaume Arthus during the Celtic Traverse, May 2016 – 20min after 250km


Have you done any of these events or are there others that satisfy the MEAN acronym that we missed? Will we continues to see a rise past 100M, and will the European FKT scene ever take off?

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