The 24 Heures du Mans car race is something of an institution in France. Even people who don't like cars and car racing know about it-- sort of like the Kentucky Derby in the US, which appeals to those who don't like horses. Each year since the 1920s, top car drivers have come to the town of Le Mans, in western France, to participate in this endurance race that lasts 24 hours.
For the past five years, two weeks after the cars race, roller skaters do the same thing, on a slightly smaller loop of the same track. From 4 PM Saturday, June 30th, to 4 PM Sunday, July 1st, 5,000 people on rollerblades and roller skates went round and round and round... I was one of them, and I took my recorder along for the ride.
This piece was produced for The World
and aired July 2, 2007.
Producer: Sarah Elzas
Edited with David Leveille
Recorded in Le Mans, France