The GlaGla RaceBreaking the ice to start the New Year
From January 21-22, 2022, more than six hundred intrepid paddlers will brave the frigid temperatures in Talloires Bay to participate in the GlaGla race, the craziest, coldest stand up paddle race in the world.
First edition in 2014
Following the first edition in 2014, the GlaGla race quickly earned a name for itself, and today has become the world’s second biggest stand up paddle race just behind Nautic Paddle in Paris (which takes place during the Nautic trade show). In spite of the teeth-chattering 4°C waters, every year an increasing number of professional athletes from around the world and amateur paddlers of all levels line up at the start of the GlaGla Race. They flock to the event to enjoy the truly unique experience of paddling across the lake’s crystal-clear waters in a breathtaking setting surrounded by snow-capped mountains… and for many, the pace of the race will also take their breath away.
A wild idea
This wild idea is the brainchild of Benoit Mouren. After opening a stand up paddle center in Sevrier in 2012, he launched the Alpine Lakes Tour in 2013. Events in this multi-stage competitive circuit are held on three of the Alps’ biggest lakes (Lake Geneva, Lake Annecy, Lake Bourget), several mountain lakes (Confins Lake, Roseland Reservoir, and Tignes Lake), as well as Saint-Leonard Lake in Switzerland, Europe’s largest underground lake. Benoit wanted to create an event that includes an athletic component, a visual experience, and a human adventure where people inspired by the same passion come together. This fast-growing sport takes paddlers to some of the most extraordinary natural environments. A close relationship with the great outdoors is built into stand up paddling by nature.
Paddlers from 25 countries
In 2020, when the last edition took place (the worldwide pandemic kept everyone at home in 2021), 650 paddlers from 25 countries lined up at the start to glide across Lake Annecy’s blue waters. The GlaGla Race is especially popular with foreign competitors. To motivate locals to take the plunge, Benoit and his team plan to organize a more accessible 3 km course for the first time this year. All you need to do to participate is find a board, a wetsuit, gloves, and a beanie, and register for this truly unforgettable experience.
Races for all
In addition to the new beginner’s course, the two standard 6.5 km and 15 km races will take place. The long course forms a loop that starts in Talloires Bay, circumnavigates the upper section of the lake, follows the shoreline to Sevrier, crosses the lake to Menthon, hugs Roc de Chère Cliff, and then leads back to the starting point. The shorter version (6.5 km) heads across the lake and back. The other races (short distance, Technical Race, and the Dragon Race) stay within shouting distance of the beach in Talloires. For onlookers watching from the shore on the other side of the lake, the Clos Marcel restaurant plans to serve coffee and croissants on the morning of Saturday, January 22, starting at 10:30.
On Friday, January 21, everyone will have the chance to try paddle yoga, to attend conferences, to grab a quick bite to eat at lunch from one of the many food trucks present, to enjoy a soothing massage, and to try out Roulotte du Masseur’s mobile sauna.
Here is the full schedule
Friday, January 21
11:00 – Participant welcome and bib pickup
12:00 – Lunch (several food trucks on site)
Afternoon – Conferences, paddle yoga, sauna, massages, gear demos with partnering brands, including Red Paddle, a GlaGla Race partner since 2015.
Saturday, January 22
7:30 – 9:30 – Participant welcome and bib pickup
9:30 – Race briefing
10:00 – Warm up
10:30 – Start for the CD, LD, and short distance races
12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch
13:00-14:00 – Dragon Race, 4-person teams (on a Red Paddle Dragon on loan for free)
14:30 – Technical Race
16:30 – Awards ceremony
17:30-19:30 – Live music and bar
Sunday, January 23
Alternate day in the event of bad weather on Saturday.
Or a day of skiing at Le Grand Bornand, which is offering a special discount rate for GlaGla Race participants (30% off), including on-snow activities on a stand up paddle board and on skis!
- © Blue1310
Journalist: Aude Pollet-Thiollier
Translation: Darin Reisman