I was chosen by i-Run.fr and GORE TEX among more than 400 applications from hobbyists for Experience an extraordinary sporting adventure! I hope to be able to transmit to the Bulkpowders community this immense experience I was privileged to be a part of!

I’ve always dreamed of running the GR20, I couldn’t have dreamed of better conditions: we were spoiled all round: Gore-Tex gear, transport, accommodation… all we had to do was run. Well, I admit that it was not an easy task, running-walking between 7 and 11 hours a day

The team behind this i-run GR20 experience

  • The 4 lucky chosen amateur trail runners: Louise, Agathe, Mathieu and me.
  • The “Ambassadors”: Guillaume Peretti, local hero and holder of the former GR20 record (now held by François D’Haene), Yoann Stuck, GORE-TEX Ambassador and Sylvaine Cussot, renowned trail runner and editor for U-run.
  • An experienced guide and last but not least: Brice Sarti, who knows the GR20 trails inside and out!
  • GORE Representative Caroline, who has been like a mother to us throughout this journey. As we trudged she arranged for our bags to be transferred from one cottage to another and made sure the meals were ready when we arrived!

D-Day – Arrival in Corsica, this Monday September 24th: Then on to the Calenzana hut!

A first for me on the island of beauty. I find the Toulousains Emmanuel Vidal, director of I-Run and Sylvaine at Toulouse Blagnac Airport, towards Bastia! Caro is waiting for us and gives us the weather forecast: It will be sunny all week, a real chance! We are heading towards the first mountain hut at the beginning of the GR20 in Calenzana. There we find the rest of the team, prepare the bags for the next day, briefing with the guide, we are all very excited to start!

DAY 1: CALENZANA – HIGH ASCU / 25.5 KM – 3100 m D+

Get up at 5:20 am for departure around 6 am.

Breakfast together and my morning ritual: my Shaker Whey Isolate 90 BULKPOWDERS. Group photo to immortalize the start and off we go to this first stage, which starts with a headlamp and music! First long climb, gently sloping, which calmly takes us to the bathroom. Sunrise, the first panoramas are offered to us: the Corsican magic works immediately! Guillaume Peretti tests our running skills on technical terrain… let’s go into race mode! However, I was warned… The GR20 is very challenging terrain! But as always, you have to experience it to believe it. Climbing rocks, crooked climbs, squatting descents… the break at the Ortu Di u Piobbu mountain hut is well-deserved! The omelet with Corsican cheese makes everyone agree! We would do well to gather strength to face the next two big challenges that await us:

  • A steep climb from 750D+,
  • Followed by a long descent to our evening base camp: ASCO.

SUMMARY D1: 3 stages, very technical sections restrict climbing!


Breakfast at 6am, swallow the shaker! We slept well in this cool hotel at 1500m altitude. Then we finally leave our base and once again the sun isn’t up yet.

The guide had told us what to expect just before bed, enough to make sweet dreams:

  • A long climb of more than 1200mD+ (over 5km) passing the Pointe des Éboulis at an altitude of around 2600m.

If you go up, you have to come down eventually. I usually love the descents; but they don’t roll at all! Endless and brittle back up to 1300m. AND finally a visit to the Tighjettu hut for a hot coffee (but no Nespresso 😉 )

Here we are on a more wooded terrain that allows us to resume a more rhythmic racing mode for a few kilometers. Short-lived pleasure, a new very steep climb ahead! 600mD+ over 2km! The reward is at the top: stunning views of Lake Cinto.

Lunch break: pasta/cheese/salt schnitzel, at the Ciottulu di i Mori mountain hut!

And cryo in the river before continuing the descent to the next shelter where we will spend the night in a dormitory.


SUMMARY D2: 2.5 stages, a long, very alpine climb but followed by a long descent, then a more ordinary stage finish.


Even though we all slept together in one big dorm, that didn’t stop us from feeling the freshness of the mountains!

4:40 a.m.: The alarm clock rings: It stings! Have breakfast in peace! Departure at 5:30 am, head on, today the longest and most difficult stage awaits us! windy ridges. Day is dawning, the spectacle deserves a stop.

Continue with a magical descent to the magnificent Nino Lake! We’ll be using this unique decor for a while. We gallop to Manganu Hut for a well deserved coffee break.

  • 800 mD+ over 4 km, the view at the top is once again breathtaking!!
  • Passage through pretty ridges, don’t be afraid of heights!
  • 7km over 2000m altitude.
  • The weather is with us: not a single cloud on the horizon!
  • Sausage/cheese break at the Onda hut.
  • Col de la Pointe Muratello, which culminates at almost 2200 m. We’re starting to get our legs full, but it’s still a very long descent to our next drop point.
  • Almost 1000 mD – over 5 km. They call me the St. Bernard because I attach my poles to my water bag at chest level.
  • Great hideaway in Vizzavona with comfy beds, hot showers and a delicious meal. Physically and morally we are rebuilt!
  • We’ll catch up on the sleeping side next week!

SUMMARY D3: 3.5 steps. Longest distance in a row, but probably the most beautiful day ever, with many passages over 2000m, long climbs and very rough descents.


Always wake up at dawn: 4:45 am We have prepared our spare things for the next day and attach them to the mules that will take them to the inaccessible shelter for us.

  • 5:30 am: We start the course for this 4th day with another magnificent sunrise that we never tire of in the Vizzavona forest.
  • Climb at night (500 DM over 3.5 km), we develop on a hilly but very common path in the forest. The opportunity for everyone to have fun running on a beautiful 7 km route.
  • Coffee break at the Capanelle sheepfolds, it’s always a pleasure to spend a moment with real Corsicans, their accent and facial expressions make me laugh.
  • Let’s go to the stone again: 600D+ over 4km. Then, at the top, the traditional cheese/charcuterie break at the Col de Verde mountain hut. We don’t pay much attention to diet as we burn calories all day long! The sun by our side, according to our guide, we are incredibly lucky!
  • Always a good atmosphere in the group, we support each other, we sleep!
  • A long descent followed by a long climb (Yes, that’s the mountain)
  • Then it is the last effort to reach the Usciolu hut, located at 1800 m, where we will spend the night.
  • However, not the great luxury that evening, but we were warned: cold showers, 2 second tent, no network, nothing to charge electronic devices… The hard way! Disconnected, we feel out of time, closer to others and to nature. Guillaume and Brice play guitars while we taste myrthe (local alcohol).

SUMMARY D4: a first part running in the woods, a second part more brittle, with nice passages in crests and very technical and quite long sections.

Day 5: USCIOLU REFUGE – CONCA / 41 KM – 2300 MD+

Final awakening, also the most complicated of this adventure! It was very cold in these small minimalistic tents. I slept fully dressed with my outfit for departure so as not to have to expose my body to the cold early in the morning.

  • Departure 5:45 a.m. Glagla, quick warm-up steps! Luckily for the occasion we have some great gear from partner brands: technical, warm and light.
  • Traverse the rocky ridges at night, which does not allow us to «appreciate» the emptiness beneath our feet! In a row we move forward, forming only 1. Slowly but surely.
  • At the foot of the last peak in front of us, we realize that the goal is not very far, just beyond that 2000m peak, Monte Incudine.
  • 700mD+ in 4km, how lucky for our hips!
  • From up there we can see the Aiguilles de Bavella, our next destination before the home straight to Conca!! There’s still a long way to go!
  • Refuge of Asinao. Excellent viewpoint near Punta di a Vacca. Challenging massif of Bavella: via ferratas with chains, rock climbing… 1h45 for 2km, that gives you an idea.
  • Great luxury this afternoon, we are eating in a «real» restaurant! Starter, main, dessert + leftovers from everyone else for me!
  • It’s 15-20km more or less rolls where we send ourselves and ask ourselves where else do we get this energy from? Everyone enjoys these last kilometers in their own way and thinks back to all the kilometers covered together in these few days. What an incredible journey! What a beautiful adventure together. …!
  • We all cross the famous final arch together with a smile from ear to ear, knowing how lucky we were to be able to have such a great experience!

SUMMARY J5: Strong in emotion, some rolling passages and others very technical. Liberate horses from Bavella to Conca!

For anyone wanting to take on this challenge of reaching the GR20, I recommend a solid physical condition and some mountain experience. Whether in 5, 7, 10 or 15 days, the accompaniment of a guide is essential. The GR20 is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Europe, but above all the most difficult, we must not forget that at the beginning they were mountaineering routes.

Article by William

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