Damn, if he runs.
It is two o'clock at night and Lucas is a thunderbolt, a splinter.
A deity of the night.
Lucas runs with three hundred k on his shoulders.
Night of the ghosts at Saint Rhemy en Bosses: yet Lucas shines.
Because it's magical.
At this time, by this time, Mien and I were halfway to Frassati.
Stars, dust, glory and sweat.
Tonight we just finished having dinner with a wonderful band of amigos and we rolled into the leve base.
Just in time to see Lucas The Spellbound fly - literally - on the pebbles and sling over the curtains and the bells in search of two blue eyes, tired and hopelessly in love.
Behind those eyes there are sleepless nights, and too many cafes. Kilometers in the car, planes booked months in advance, dreams.
Under those eyes there are lips cracked by the cold, but Lucas kisses them all the same.
He kisses her all right.
He dreams about fifty kilometers at least.
And he thinks about every step.
Find them at every Life Base is the biggest gift.
Those lips, and that tight embrace that every shit of kisses carries with them, are a small, precious finisher medal.
Not long before the finish line.
Catherine knows that, decided march from the start. We met at Gressoney that I was running.
We smiled like old friends, even though we never talked to each other.
And we smile there tonight, here in the dreamers' tent.
Caterina is ready: windproof, black corsairs, laced backpack, front, water bottles fully loaded with hot tea.
And a smile that makes my heart bleed.
Caterina is ready to go out there, to chew up the slope, to earn the mud, the rotten grass and the stars: up up to Frassati, and then even higher, to touch the sky on top of Malatrà.
After that wind in the face, only rocks, down to Bertone.
And then the glory.
Eternal and boiling.
Like a cup of steaming chocolate on the coldest night of the year.
This is the night of the ghosts.
The last night, one in which you can not give up.
I think of Federica and Leo, side by side from Courmayeur.
Side by side up to Courmayeur.
This morning I ran: from the attack of the descent to the live base. And far beyond, up the climb to the last hill.
I ran alone, and then I shared dust, roots and steps with Mien and Benny.
Every drop of sweat on his forehead was a sigh of sincere envy.
Last year I scanned the Malatrà and I did not have the courage to follow the finisher to the finish line.
I did not deserve it.
This year I was content to see them start from the bottom.
To suffer a little less.
TOR is not for everyone, that's for sure.
And whoever arrives here, in Bosses, is full of magic and deserves an infinite tribute of honor.
So, force Lucas and force Catherine, force all of you out there, that tonight you go to raid the stars.
Bon courage, my friends.
Take these words with you, please.
So that even a crumb of myself signed intact with you to the finish line.
ph. Alexis Courthoud