Post by Midshipman 2nd Class Madison PascaleOn September 28th, I completed my first 100-kilometer ultramarathon, and what better location than France?
It was hilly and painful yet picturesque and breathtaking. I ran by farms with cows, goats, horses, roosters, pears, apples, olives, berries, and pumpkin patches. I soaked in the beautiful valley scenery above the fog, and also became closer to the French people.If running 100 kilometers with a bunch of French guys (average age between 45 and 60) doesn't bring you closer to the French culture I don't know what can! I met people from all over France running the race. I was the youngest and only foreigner participating.
I believe in the 12 hours I spent running, I improved my speaking and listening skills, as well as networked with Frenchmen of many different professions. I befriended a man named Sebastian who lives in Bain-de-Bretagne, is married with three boys, and works for an international transport company. Sebastian and I ran together the entire race. After the race, I shared a meal with all of the runners and exchanged emails for future communication. The race hurt – my legs were aching – but the experience was priceless. The French are incredibly hospitable and they took me under their wing throughout the entire race.
Participating in events such as this race and immersing myself every weekend into the French culture has matured me as an independent traveler, communicator, socializer, and overall has transformed me into a true adult.