Her express CV :
My 5 main results in Trail :
– 2 French championship titles, 2017 and 2019
– 3 world champion team titles, 2017 and 2019
– 2nd in the Templiers, 2018
– 1st in Trail des Aiguilles Rouges, 2018 and 2020
– 1st in the High Trail Vanoise, 2019
After the pools... the dive into the deep end of the trail!
I’m 37 years old and I’m originally from Bordeaux, even though I now live in the Vosges. I don’t come from a sporting background as such. However, I quickly jumped into the deep end and swimming became an important part of my life, although I didn’t plan to study sport. But I admit that as a teenager my life could be summed up as “studying and swimming”. I was lucky enough to have a very good coach, I certainly started to develop a mindset during those years that would serve me later on. At the time, running was limited to cross-country races but nothing more, even if I admit that I often won them, which could have given me a clue about my abilities as a future runner!
Like many people, everything stopped with higher education. I started with a pre-preparatory course for vets and for two years, I only had my nose in the books and no longer in the pools. It’s a real problem when you think about it… A lot of higher education courses totally forget about sport in their programme, whereas we should also allow ourselves to go and air our bodies and minds. After a new professional orientation, I finally decided to take the time to go back to sport. Logically, I start with swimming but I miss the club atmosphere, so I put my trainers back on, and like many people, I simply start by doing laps in the park with my friends.
That’s how I ended up in the Vosges, a region I don’t know at all and where I don’t know anyone. I continue to run regularly, also to meet people. One thing leading to another, I joined a group with which I did trail running but not only, mountain biking was also part of my activities. I was asked to participate in my first trail, a white trail, and I said yes, even though I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. It’s quite simple, I took my classic running shoes! I was slipping on all the climbs! But that day I won… So of course I got into the game. A club spotted me, I continued to win trails and one day I found myself at the French Championships. The adventure was officially launched!
I’m a secondary school physics teacher and it’s not as easy as that to manage in reality. If many people spontaneously say “cool, you have time to train”, the problem is that our imposed holidays are also non-negotiable. So in reality my race schedule is also linked to the goodwill of the headmaster of the school where I work. I’ve managed to manage as best I can for the moment but clearly I have to make choices sometimes. Some courses are not possible for me, because a week’s absence with the catching up of courses that this would impose would be too complicated to organise. Far be it from me to complain, eh? But it’s true that it’s a real constraint.
It’s maybe also one of the reasons why I always refused to join a team until now, and why I always wanted to train on my own. Finally one day I realised that I had to accept that all this had to be framed, especially in order to progress. I was doing too much, and I was inevitably suffering from fatigue fractures. Well, my first experience with Philippe Propage ended in failure because I wasn’t psychologically ready and I don’t think he was either. Of course the trail is very important in my life but I also practice other outdoor activities that I refuse to sacrifice for this sport. I love trekking in total autonomy with my friend, backpack and tent, we explore the paths during our holidays. And inevitably Philippe tended to think that I was getting tired for “nothing” at the time. But it’s really part of my balance… And today, finally, he has also evolved in his way of thinking.
Moreover, my practice has also evolved. I choose my races especially for the landscapes I admit… I like wild races, and I hope to finally be able to do the Trail du Petit St Bernard. I know that we are often expected to run the “big” and “unavoidable” races, but elite or not, I am still a runner like all the others. If I aligned myself with the Ultra Run Raramuri for my first ultra long race, a race that is rather an adventure in the middle of the Tarahumaras indigenous populations, the famous Rarámuri runners, it is not by chance. I think I need to give meaning to my practice and this is more and more true with the years. I also love Nepal but it’s funny, I don’t think of it as a destination with a race number although there are races. There’s a spiritual side to it that I don’t see myself associating with a notion of competition at all. But don’t panic, I’m not giving up bibs yet, of course, especially as with the Evadict team we have a great story to write together!
Article written by Cecile Bertin, Run Fit & Fun.