He who says Mayotte, says Course de Pneus. OK, maybe the tire race isn't a big enough deal to be synonymous with Mayotte, but it is an annual event that exudes local color. As a glimpse-giver, I'd be very remiss if I didn't share some of mana_trini's photos of the 25th annual Course de Pneus with you now. (I did wait for him to get some photos up himself; and I waited; and I waited.) So, not to steal his thunder or anything but...
Year-round, you can see kids playing with old tires, but it is only once a year that the big race takes place on Grande Terre. Saturday morning, Julien and I ferried over early and went to a farmers' market in Coconi. We ran a few errands afterwards and, unfortunately, missed the child's race that runs before the adults take off. Still, we found a good parking space at about the halfway point of the circuit, which just happened to be at the summit of a very large hill. That's why the runners seem to be suffering so. :P
I'm gonna win; just you watch me.
This little fella was running alongside the adults. Maybe he was like us and missed the child's race. The grease monkey in the background apparently wants to hear no evil.
Go, Boueni, go!
Even the women participate, sandalwood face mask optional. :P
Thongs, claquettes, savates, flip-flops
Call them what you will, they are the footwear of choice in Mayotte, even for a several-kilometer-long race.
One shoe on and one shoe off
Some race in thongs, some barefoot, and a few--specifically the better-off adults--race in tennis shoes. But this is the only guy I saw going with the mix-n-match option.
A gentleman named Jack Passe helped turn a simple child's game into an annual competition that delights children and adults alike. And there are free tshirts for the participants. What's not to love?
Julien will surely put up some more pics soon, and probably some very nice ones--I did try not to steal the best--so I'll link to that if and when.
If you want to try tire racing at home, you'll need:
A tire; two long, solid sticks; some soap suds* to make it all slide nicely; two fleet feet; and a good pair of lungs.
*Before, the participants used dirty transmission oil to lubrify the inside of the tire. Not very green that. Now the sponsors give everyone a soap-based lubricant that is much more nature-friendly.