“I was going very fast on very technical descents but she kept pushing me. »Record holder of the GR20 in 30h25 and in the role of in rhythm Monday from 6 am, the Lambert Santelli race admits that she was amazed by the departure of Anne-Lise Rousset, on the occasion of her attempt to record the women’s 170 km (12,700 m difference in altitude) between Calenzana and Conca.
And not surprisingly, the 33-year-old veterinary from Haute-Savoie, mother for eleven months of little Faustin, managed to pulverize the brand of Emilie Lecomte (41:22 in 2012) on the legendary Corsican trail on Tuesday evening. In 35h50, the Team Scott trail runner made her dream come true. Tell this Wednesday at 20 minutes how she lived her “incredible adventure” at high altitude, during which she had to negotiate a delicate night and quickly do without two of her friends pacerFlorian Bernabeu and Sébastien Chaigneau, victims of the fall.
Before we started, you told us about your fear of going the equivalent of 160km for the first time in your career. This premiere has finally gone smoothly or almost smoothly, has it?
(Smile) After all, I’ve never run as badly in my life as at the end of this GR20. I had a terrible step, it was terrible. Physically it held up, but I was very afraid of the diet part, and this is really the key point, the very difficult aspect to manage. At a certain point we can no longer eat, we can no longer drink. The digestive system is completely shut down on an ultra.
What was the most difficult moment to manage during the 35h50 of this crazy challenge?
I was necessarily afraid of the night, but I didn’t expect to experience it so badly. I was exhausted after refueling in Vizzavona (at km 92). I was falling asleep, like I was narcoleptic. It was a rather undulating passage for Green and I had planned to run. But there, it was a via crucis. Twice I did the trick to my friends by announcing to them: “It is absolutely necessary that I sleep there. Poor things, they were ordered not to let me sleep. They were in the dark and tried to get me to continue.
(Smiles) Them first, so I tried to talk because I fell asleep on my feet, kind of like when you are very tired when you let yourself go in front of the TV. Then after Verde, in the middle of the ascent of Prati, I couldn’t stand up anymore and I asked my friends Stéphane and Benoît to let me sleep for five minutes. I never thought my body would ever do that, but I lay haphazardly along the way and slept very soundly for five minutes (smile). It did me a lot of good, it was incredible. A little later the sun rose and it was lit again.
Is it a bit like there are two separate races for you, between your day and night performances?
Yes, at night I felt unhappy, I didn’t advance any more and I lost 1 hour and a half compared to our estimates. Fortunately I was more than 1 and a half hours early when I arrived in Vizzavona.
Didn’t you see a bad sign on Monday with the falls of your “pacer” friends Florian Bernabeu, then Sébastien Chaigneau, who may have fractured their ribs?
It was difficult to live with because I knew they wanted to help me and couldn’t carry out this collective adventure. Seb has had cramps before and it really scared us while he fell. It was hard to leave them behind and go back. Everyone was 200% mobilized around me.
For your part, did you have enough clarity to negotiate the circus of solitude and the passing of chains to Bavella’s needles?
It is not necessarily the most technical and dangerous parts that are most at risk, because there, unconsciously, we are more lucid and we are extremely careful. On the other hand, in the parts where there are fewer stones, where you lift your foot less, that’s where you can fall. It happened to me less than 10 kilometers from the finish, perhaps in the cleanest part of the whole GR20. I was really very lucky to get away with it without too many injuries, with only two falls in total. At any time, on the whole GR20, you can take a good …
Was seeing Faustin, your 11-month-old baby, multiple times throughout your career, critical to your success?
Yes, I managed to find him three times, then obviously upon arrival in Conca. In Bavella, I was afraid to arrive during his nap and I was so happy to see him, all smiling and all cute. It was my ultimate driving force, of course.
Apart from Faustin’s smile, what are the moments that will remain etched in your mind?
I was still able to enjoy the scenery, but the performance comes 100% from sharing. The northern part was great because I didn’t really have a leeway. So it was always fun. But the southern part was another atmosphere, it was the mind that had to take over. And me, it’s the sharing that kept me going. I remember my joy of finding everyone in the emergency room and that of always being three [accompagnée de deux pacers]. Gives a damn strong mix. I had an amazing adventure with my friends.
When will you return to your 50 hours of work per week at the veterinary office in Cruseilles (Haute-Savoie)?
I will resume next Monday at the office, after a few days with the family to recover in Corsica. Then I’ll put my trainers away for a few weeks (smile). Once I stopped after the finish, I could no longer lift my legs. There it is “less worse”, but the muscle aches are so important that as soon as I move a little it hurts.