Trail running refers to running in the mountains, but also on terrain as diverse as valleys, flats, alpine terrain and urban parks.
Trendy sport par excellence, it could seem as inaccessible to novices as the black slopes of winter..
Yet it is a particularly accessible sport, with the objective of evolving in nature. The pure sensation of running, or fast walking, in a wild environment is at the heart of this sport experience.
The "trailer" touches freedom in the simplest of ways, by marveling at the landscape, listening to his sensations. Freed from the pressure of the clock, he "enjoys". We take pleasure and we do not hesitate to take our time. The spirit of mutual aid is also very important in this individual sport with a collective spirit.
Thus, even the great beginners can find themselves there. The only condition for the good practice of this sport? To have the adequate equipment: backpack according to the courses without any doubt, technical clothing obviously, shoes of trail certainly!
So, are you convinced?
Consult the itineraries - Espace Trail Briançonnais
Those who are looking for pure performance and sporting excellence will not be left out. Indeed, the trail has been experiencing
since the last few years a real boom of long distance trails, even very long distance: the ultra.
This type of race corresponds to a distance greater than 42 kilometers (that of the marathon). However, some races are much longer than this distance, sometimes reaching 170 km. This is for example the case of the mythical races of the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc, or the Diagonale des Fous in Reunion Island.
Thus, what was once seen as training for the marathon has now become a discipline in its own right.
Serre Chevalier is an important place for French and European trail running. This sport has been historically established in the Briançonnais valley for 25 years. Moreover, the exceptionally intact nature allows an ideal practice. It can be practiced all year round. Various actors of the valley participate in the democratization of the trail: marked out courses for the security of the itineraries, framing and dynamization by the associations, competitions. More precisely, the Trail Serre Chevalier association contributes to the supervision of this sport and organizes in September the Serre Che Trail, as well as its winter version, the Snow Trail of Serre Chevalier. Far from the inaccessible image of the most publicized trail events, the democratization of the trail corresponds to their ambition. Thus, the association is developing various race formats ranging from children's races to 60 km.
In Serre Chevalier, Alexandre Fine and Laurie Phaï, represent Serre Chevalier in national and international competitions. This sport and its leading figures thus participate in the influence of the valley.
- What do you think distinguishes trail running from other competitions?
The discovery of nature distinguishes the trail from any other running competition. The terrain is never monotonous. These two criteria are really distinctive. Indeed, running on the road can become tiring on a 50 kilometer course, whereas in trail running the terrain is constantly changing. However, training on the road remains essential for trail running.
- How do you explain the rapid development of trail running in recent years?
The trail has developed a lot, mainly thanks to social networks. Its visual side but also the competition that can be launched between friends or followers have propelled this sport.
Also, the possibility to change air and to enjoy an open and natural environment was very appreciated during the Covid period. Were you running in the woods during lockdown? You've already been trail running!
- What skills does it take to be a good trailer?
A good trail runner is a complete sportsman. The running is often slower than on the road, but it's about being a good climber, as well as a good descender. Mental strength is at least as important as physical strength. You have to be able to recover in the "downs" and that requires a lot of psychological energy.
- Portrait of a runner from Briançon
I started trail running at the Serre Chevalier club six years ago. I had already been competing at a high level in cross-country skiing for several years. However, with the launch of the Fine bakery, this activity was no longer compatible with my professional life. I still wanted to continue to be involved in sports competitions, and the format of training and trail competitions suited me perfectly. I was surprised to see that I had performed particularly well in my first big trail competitions. A hopeful in 2017, I won the French championship in 2018. Thanks to this victory I was able to obtain the status of high-level trail athlete and I was selected to be part of the French elite team. In 2019, to everyone's surprise, we won the world team championship, which had not happened for thirty years!
- What do you like about this sport?
I was born in the nature of the Briançonnais, which allows me to be in an environment in which I feel particularly comfortable. The great diversity of the race conditions arouses a great curiosity in me. As each outing is unique, it is much more difficult to get tired of this sport. Also, unlike many sports, the outside conditions have very little influence on the final result. The level then really reflects the sporting value. One rarely finds such a level of authenticity in sports performance. Finally, the simplicity of the practice is for me a real source of attraction. The big performances are not necessary to fully enjoy this sport and take pleasure in evolving in the nature. Thanks to the beautiful landscapes you will cross, you don't need to be a champion to practice and enjoy trail running!
[ Interviewed in July 2022 ]