The Tour du Canton defeats the rainy weather

On 8 June, over 2200 runners set off from the Route Marie Curie, outside Restaurant No. 1, in the third leg of the 2011 Tour de Canton race. CERN's mixed team held onto the first place in the inter-enterprise competition.


Sigurd Lettow, CERN Director for Administration and General Infrastructure gives the start to runners at the Tour du Canton (8 June 2011).

Hosted by the CERN Running Club in collaboration with the communes of Meyrin and Satigny, the race gave runners and their families the chance to pay a flying visit to CERN. “The Tour du Canton races give different areas the opportunity to show off their part of the Canton of Geneva,” says David Nisbet, a member of the Club and one of the organizers of the event. “It was a chance for us to bring unlikely visitors onto the CERN site for a day of competition and fun.” With the starting/finishing line located outside Restaurant No. 1, runners got a look at CERN’s new restaurant extension, Building 40 and the CERN hostel, before heading into the surrounding countryside.

The event also gave "CERNois" the chance to fly the colours of the Organization. CERN's mixed team held onto the first place in the inter-enterprise competition. Runners were later invited in for a celebratory drink while the competition's winners were announced. 

CERN volunteers prepare drinks for runners.

Organisers began planning the day back in October 2010 – a feat that has required an almost full-time commitment. “Because the race spread across three areas – CERN, Meyrin and Satigny – the Running Club acted as both the main organiser and the go-between for the different groups,” explains Andrew Butterworth, a member of the CERN Running Club involved in the event's organization. “We had to get permission from the owners of the different pieces of land surrounding CERN, find new parking areas, and convert the CERN site into a venue without causing too much disturbance to people at work. It was a huge project that required the cooperation of dozens of volunteers, medical professionals, firemen, and CERN service staff – they all played a vital role in the day's success.”

This is the second time that CERN has hosted the Tour du Canton race and, given the success of this year's event, it will undoubtedly not be the last.

by Katarina Anthony