clEmentine geoffray

Clémentine GEOFFRAY

Her express CV :

My top 5 Trail results:
– 11th at the 2019 World Trail Championships in Portugal, team champions
– 10th at the 2018 European Mountain Running Championships in Macedonia, team champions
team champions
– Runner-up in the French trail race in Montgenèvre, 2018
– French vice-champion in mountain running in Dévoluy, 2020
– 1st in the 24km Ventoux, 2019
But also in kayak!
– French Junior Slalom Champion, 2012
– World Champion in downhill sprint and classic team (junior), 2011

From water to land... Nature's sport runs in its veins!

I’m 27 years old and I’ve only been running for 7 years, as I used to kayak at a high level. I was even part of the “Pôle Espoir” in Toulouse. I don’t really come from a sporting family in the sense of “competition” but rather from an “outdoor” family in the broad sense. I have memories of itinerant hikes with my parents over several days during our holidays. It was kayaking that really introduced me to the notion of competitive sport, and at a rather young age since I started at the age of 8. I was also very lucky with the club because we practised a lot of complementary outdoor activities depending on the season: running, cross-country skiing, mountain biking… I touched everything, which also teaches you to live outside in contact with nature whatever the season.

Trail running really came into my life the year I turned 23. After two years of not being selected for the French team, you are inevitably shown the door of the “pôle espoir” where I had been for several years. By chance or coincidence, life often works out well, this happened in the year of my ‘mobility’ for my training at Sciences Po Toulouse. I went to Lyon for an internship and then to Warsaw, where I couldn’t take my kayak with me. The easiest way to get some fresh air was to put on my trainers and that’s what I did. Very quickly, not seeing myself practising a sport without adding the spice of competition and the bib, I registered for the French Trail Championships for hopefuls in St Martin de Vésuvie in 2016 which I won. I then joined the “Buff Hoka les Saisies” Espoir Team, led at the time by Fred Bousseau, whom Trail Endurance readers know well. Inevitably, thanks to this, I really discovered a new discipline but also a new way of training under the good advice of Julien Rancon.

I got into the game, but my body very quickly showed its discontent with this sudden change of training methods, especially during the first two years. I even developed bone oedema in both shins. Far from being discouraged, I persevered and it paid off in 2018 when I took part in the European Trail Championships in Macedonia where I finished 10th in the individual race and European champion in the team race! It was a long time ago that first bib at La Ronde des Grangeons, in Ambérieu-en-Bugey, a 16km race which I started when I was a kayaker and not a runner at all. However, I finished 5th, which earned me a reward as they rewarded the first 5 😉. This could have given me ideas but at the time, I must admit, I found it very long… I even thought the distance was crazy! Which inevitably makes me smile a lot today.

I don’t have any “worst memories” when I think about it but rather disappointments… 2018, I miss the qualification for the Mountain World Championships, which spoils the final result a little bit. But it is especially my “non-qualification” for the Mountain World Championships, still in Patagonia, which remains my biggest disappointment to this day, because I admit, like many I think, the destination had me totally dreaming! At the French championships in Meribel that year, it was “a day without” in Meribel, but that’s the game, right? We all have “days with” and “days without”. It’s true that in our case, the problem with the days without, is that the consequences often go further than a simple place in the ranking. But all this is largely compensated by great moments rich in emotions, like these famous European Championships in Macedonia where we finished first as a team. I must admit that knowing the rules that only the times of the first 3 teams count, and being 4th on paper at the start, I didn’t expect to be able to play a role in our final result. But that day was a “day without” for my team-mate Christel Dewalle whom I overtook in a descent (she finished 23rd), which is always a bit of a paradoxical situation to live. This forced me to be very careful not to waste the chance I had to win our European Championship title. For the World Championships in Portugal the following year, there I found my 4th place in the team, and even if I finished, and even if of course it was a real happiness to participate with the whole team in this great moment, our place is due to the first 3, not to me 😊. When I think about it, all the memories with the French team will remain forever engraved in my head. A race that makes me dream? I’m afraid I’m not very original but the Diagonale des fous is at the top of the list, on a par with the Echappée Belle, for the challenge, the technicality and above all the beauty of the courses!

I must admit that this story of the Evadict team immediately spoke to me. Yet I had just finished a year without a team, by choice. But when Thierry and Olivier offered me a place in this team of 10 girls, I couldn’t say no. The fact that there are so many of us means that you can take some of the pressure off your shoulders if there are only two or three of us. Here it’s really the notion of team, the collective that is at the centre of this project and obviously I could not but adhere to the project. The benevolence that reigns within the team is quite incredible in any case. The fact that we are committed for 3 years also allows you to consider things in the long term, which really adds to the family atmosphere. We are given the time for our ambitions, to prepare our projects well. And as the brand’s products suit me really well, why refuse such an offer? In any case, I can’t wait to meet again on the starting line, in training courses to get to know the girls of Team Evadict even better, the first meeting in Lille for the announcement went so well that I can’t wait to experience moments like that again.

Article written by Cecile Bertin, Run Fit & Fun.