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J37 - Sunday, November 22: Pissos (Town Hall) – Mont de Marsan (Guy Boniface Stadium)

75.8km – 9H36’
Tonight pouring rain disturbed our sleep but luck was with us because at 5:00 AM it was quiet again and the weather was dry for the 6:15 departure.
The route was mapped out with a ruler, with 2 changes of direction and long straight lines through the pine forest of the Landes.  This itinerary was made easy by the few changes of direction and meant that René and Eliane could stop at the market in Brocas and do some shopping: locally made sausages and 6 oysters from the Bay of Arcachon; a treat for Serge during one of his feedings.
Serge does not have a particular diet and eats whatever he likes.  Till now he has no digestive problem or intestinal pain, which some people can experience with this type of exercise.
Some runners from the « Los Astiaus » club (an expression in Gascony dialect which means pain in the neck)  from Meilhan come just for pleasure of running with Serge for a good part of the day.
At the entrance to Mont de Marsan, the caravan heads toward the hippodrome and runs along a military air base which employs several thousand people, thereby making an important contribution to the economy of this prefecture of more than 30,000 inhabitants.
At 1km from the finish is our meeting point at the Montois Stadium of Athletism and Gascony Stilts.  Before the mid 19th century, when Napoleon III decided to plant pines on thousands of acres, the Landes was a vast marsh land.  In order to watch over their heard, the shepherds wore stilts, which kept their feet dry and enabled them to see their animals.  Now they are most often used by folklore groups who dance with them but I have learned via the Internet that Sylvain DORNON from Arcachon went from Paris to Moscow on stilts in 1891 – 2,850 km in 58 days….what a feat!
To come back to our day, Serge is early so he goes off for a 40-minute run.  He is expected at 2:50 PM at the stadium to run around the track before the rugby derby ProD2 match, Mont de Marsan against Dax.  These 2 clubs are down one division this year so they are playing the championship to hopefully move up to the Top 14.
At the stadium there are some 20 young people from the athletic school of the Montois Stadium.  With 90 young graduates and a total of 230 members, it is one of the oldest athletics clubs in France.  It was founded in 1908.  The school’s president, Mr. Dufau, has done everything necessary to welcome Serge and the rugby club.  These 2 sports groups are sharing the stadium and it is a delightful alliance which means that thousands of spectators are present at the end of the stage.  I would like to thank Vincent, president of the Mont de Marsan chapter of the CJD who helped us get in touch with these 2 clubs.
Serge is presented with a substitute’s shirt from the Montois Rugby Club (we are going to have to pump him up so he will fill it out) and also a souvenir t-shirt from the athletic club, along with some local culinary specialties.  The first two items will go into the box of souvenirs that René has just built and the rest will be on our dinner plates before long…
And the best photo of the day is of Buzoka, the rugby club’s mascot.  “Buzok” means to talk a lot or you make us drunk with all your talking.  This being said, we will see you tomorrow with more adventures in the Landes.  We will reach Peyrehorade just south of Dax.

Town : Mont de Marsan (40)

GPS : N 43.89448° - W 000.48303°