This challenge has no secrets for him. In 2019, we announced that he would become the first French to complete our 5 ultramarathons on 5 continents. It was without counting on adversity…
Falling before rebounding
In 2017 and 2018, Hervé bravely finished our ultras in Vietnam, Mozambique, Bolivia and Norway. In 2019, he signed up for THE TRACK Australia, the only one he has not run yet. The Australian bush soon gave him surprises. Quite a fall and several stitches on the skull force led him to give up. A pandemic and a few personal trials later, Hervé took over the Australian track, successfully. In May 2023, he proudly finished this 520 km journey, becoming (finally!) the first Frenchman to complete all the races of the Roadsign Continental Challenge.
True to Racine’s adage “Who wants to go far cleans his horse” and proud of his performance, he assumes his vision of the race with philosophy: “There are cracks that take half of your time to finish the race. I chose to go to the end of myself, at my own pace, even if I had to arrive 10 minutes before the time runs out. I live the race day by day. Each step brings a lot of effort and courage for the next day.”
Hervé insists on his feeling at each stage start and the necessary harmony between mind state and physical. He readily admits that his motivation for this outstanding race was reinforced by the brutal and tragic losses of his sister and one of his nephews, Romain, who left too early… “I did it for them. During the race, I wore the necklaces that Romain made.”
And then, he finds another source of motivation in the encounters made during Canal Aventure’s ultramarathons. “The length, difficulty and technical requirement create bonds between participants. Helping each other is part of the adventure.” Among these unifying ties, he evokes his friendship with Giuseppe de Rosa, an Italian rider with whom he shared the hazards and joys of racing on the 5 continents.
A context conducive to success and surpassing oneself
Hervé likes to run and surpass himself but he wants to tone down the score of great ultramarathons. “On the big high-profile races, the first to arrive receive all the honors by getting on the podium… the following ones do not see anyone on arrival, nobody waits for them.”
He continues by talking about images anchored in his retina and his mind over the ultras of the Roadsign Continental Challenge. For him, white is Bolivia, red the tracks of the Australian bush, green the mountains of Vietnam, blue the ocean in Mozambique and the beauty of the midnight sun evokes Norway. We run and we travel.
“The ultramarathons at Canal Aventure are just as demanding as the others. The difference is the philosophy of the organization. We are few and Jerome fully masters his subject. I love his ability to create magical moments of sharing, to choose a staff always at the top and a medical team that puts the riders safe. Not to mention an undeniable talent for finding the right words, at the right time and for everyone. Here, we are not a runner who walks without seeing anything or a tourist.”
This caring leadership allows participants of all levels to give their best, while sharing their performance with the inhabitants of the areas crossed. Like many of his fellows, he remembers the nights at the homestay in Vietnam and keeps a strong memory of the children of Mozambique who accompany you, running faster than you, barefoot or in flip flops.
One just retiree ready for new challenges
You may be sporty, sharp and experienced, you must know how to adapt the effort to your profile. Canal-Aventure has created new ultramarathons called NOMAD and this seduces Hervé who has just retired. The first NOMAD was raced in 2022 in Lapland. He is eager to take the start of the next one that will cross the bush of Senegal for 200 km and 5 days in January 2024. A race he will share with his nephew Matthieu.
In the meantime, Hervé fully enjoys this victory that the daily newspaper La Provence has put in the spotlight. It is our turn to congratulate him for his magnificent performance and to show our pride that a French rider completed the entire Roadsign Continental Challenge.