In recent times, some hazards have taken us a little away from the roads we like to take. Despite this troubled period, Canal Aventure remains true to its values and determined to continue the fantastic journey begun more than ten years ago. An anniversary marked by the publication of a book and the creation of new races. Interview with its founder, Jérôme Lollier.
Jérôme, you have chosen to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Canal Aventure with a beautiful book…
Yes. Ten years is a beautiful anniversary and the particular health context was conducive to introspection. The opportunity to remember experiences lived around the world and shared through sport. Le Chemin de l’Aventure was born from the power of human relationships, the abilities that we all have to surpass ourselves and the exciting discovery of our planet.
With the participants of our ultramarathons and the staff of each race on 5 continents, we have experienced incredible moments and created very strong ties. We have learned to look at the world differently. We grew up together through these adventures and also made an inner journey. I thought this wealth deserved to be shared.
Le Chemin de l’Aventure is available since September 2021?
In 2020, the closing of the borders stuck me there… and gave me time to gather the traces of all those memories. Almost a year of work to give shape to this bilingual book where narrative and photographs mingle. We started by offering it on our site and entrusting the press promotion to the Epic agency. Today the book is available in some book shops including L’Armitière in Rouen and we are looking for other outlets.
These ten intense years carry a strong message: The first talent is envy. The first skill is motivation. That is why I also want to share my experience through this book with companies and schools.
Canal Aventure resumed its journey in a slightly different context?
We quickly realized there was a before/after pandemic. The situation we have all experienced generates different feelings. Some fans of our races are now delivering a negative message around air travel that would harm the environment. Others, unable to make a choice, no longer know where to run because of the multiple delays due to the pandemic…. Where is the moderation?
Fortunately, for many the recovery of the races is associated with pleasure, the return of a certain freedom. From experience, we know that we have to fight withdrawal. Travelling as we do is neither bad nor dangerous. Eco-responsibility, the choice of limited groups, respect for cultures and the people we meet are in our nature. We know that life is much more difficult elsewhere than here. Going in complete autonomy teaches us to distinguish the essential from the superfluous.
The journey, the real one, is lived in a moderate but intense way. It helps to change the vision, the behavior of everyone.
We had to reaffirm our values, including the vital impact of our arrival on precarious local economies. Last September in Bolivia, small businesses in the altiplano were able to reopen thanks to the race… A reality that is difficult to perceive by remaining confined.
Special ties are also born thanks to the singularity of our events, Already present with us in Australia in 2019, Romain joined us in Mozambique last November. Together, we made the recognition of the Ultra AFRICA Race before the arrival of the group. Indifferent to what could be said about him, he lived in the present moment, engaging responsibly and always with respect for others. I live to the fullest because life is short, he said. Romain left us shortly before Christmas. No doubt these words resonate very often in my mind and reinforce my motivation to live fully our new adventures.
Tell us about the new race formats you have imagined?
The idea was to be able to seize all opportunities for discovery by remaining faithful to our values of authenticity, sharing, respect for nature and cultures. Today, Canal Aventure offers sports trips in 3 distinct universes.
The Roadsign Continental Challenge will still take the riders to Vietnam, Australia, Norway, Bolivia and Mozambique on the usual distances but each of these races will take place every two years.
The Nomad Event is a unique roving race that will change destination each year. The 2022 edition took place in Finnish Lapland in January. In 2023, we will go to Senegal.
THE TRACK Series takes the format of our Australian race, THE TRACK, and declines it in other latitudes. 520 km in 10 days and 9 stages in autonomy in new settings. The 2022 edition will take place in Namibia, 2023 will bring us back to Australia. Then, the ultramarathon will take us in a new region of Bolivia, Mongolia and Finland. We had to find vast spaces for creating this long route and a diversity of destinations that would make each event unique and intense. This very demanding race format requires unfailing motivation. Living in such different places will give even more sense to the adventure. As always with Canal Aventure, victory over oneself, shared emotions and the authenticity of the journey take precedence over a place on the podium…