Making a self-portait is not so easy but circumstances lead us to try it. In 2020, Canal Aventure will mark its ten years of existence. A decade of discovering and sharing via unique ultramarathons, without changing course but changing the course of few lives.
Let’s talk about the founder of Canal Aventure, Jérôme Lollier. He still is the planner, the manager, the host, the coach, in one word, the spirit. For those who do not know him yet, let’s say that he could not consider life without a sincere openness to the world and to others. He sums up his project as “a well-considered exploration of the unknown with daring touches”.
Marry the requirement of ultramarathon to the scenery of an active and responsible travel, that’s the point. Organize and perpetuate 5 ultramarathons on 5 continents, it is such a challenge!
Rapidly, runners from near and far came and surpassed themselves aiming to best appreciate and feel the world. Different from races of the same kind, the Roadsign Continental Challenge gives priority to quality over quantity.
Among its founding values, a limited number of runners giving place to deep discovering and cooperation but most of all, a fierce desire for independence. “The basic goal is using sport to reach out to others. Among competition, we all are a community who observes and can fully experience the environmental and human changes taking place”.
These long, self-supported and harsh races give opportunity to people taking up the challenge to free their adventure spirit and to feel fully acting their live.
Such a chance to be here and to live that!
These words could become the Canal Aventure baseline. Marathoners and faithful volunteers are feeling like ordinary people led to live extraordinary things.
Let’s begin with our key Doc, Bruno Thomas, 73 and oldest member of the team:
“15 years runner of adventure races. 10 years as doctor on more than 40 ultras. When people of my age are playing bridge, I still have the catch and a true envy to leave with Jérôme and the team even just back from a race because I have found in Canal Aventure what I was deeply expecting… Authenticity in the discovering of tremendous lands, the fact to be helpful and share my experience with runners, and also strong friendships far beyond the events we share”.
Living a Canal Aventure race, we obviously step outside our comfort zone. Nor electricity or Wireless connection, we face all kinds of lands and climates, in fact, we live the adventure to the fullest. And it is not displeasing for youngest people like Pierre-François Durbecq, 27, volunteer near us several times:
“You don’t come through this unscathed. First of all, you face total escapism, true discovering of sceneries, people, and ways of living… I liked teamwork, collaboration, fending and challenging myself. There is a true team spirit between staff and runners. These races or better, these adventures were unforgettable breakaways”.
Human adventure matters as much as sporting challenge.
For almost 300 runners playing our game since the beginning, the vibe is often becoming a real motivation to come back even when the challenge has been very rough. In fact, in all latitudes, Canal Aventure generated incredible emotions, experienced strong friendships and even formed couples…
English marathoner Jamie Hildage ran many miles before joining and tells:
« The Roadsign Continental Challenge is an opportunity to share stories, difficulties, successes and big adventures around the world with a diverse and amazing group of like-minded people. It allows me to visit different parts of the world that I might not go to otherwise and pushes me to race in all different climates and across a wide variety of terrains”.
Last but not least, the Italian Ita Marzotto – first women to complete all races and winner of the Challenge in 2017 – describes her escapades:
“Running an ultra-trail, it is at first accepting the nature such as it is, taking pleasure in the diversity of grounds, landscapes. In the races of the Roadsign Continental Challenge, we feel osmosis with the environment, the animals. It is a human journey in autonomy where the runners are given responsibilities. The way these races are thought and organized help enormously to face the challenge”.
Then, we feel so glad to gather beautiful people around a quite simple idea: travelling to the ends of the planet while going to the end of oneself. All kinds of events exist today around ultramarathons; it seems hard to explore new territories, safely and with a light environmental impact. No escalation with Canal Aventure. Only the will to preserve the quality and authenticity of the challenge, and the intensity of sharing. Hoping that at the start of each stage, Jérôme continues to scream in a smile “Are you crazy? Are you ready? Are you happy?”
We suggest to read carefully these articles:
Jamie Hildage: 18 months to complete the Roadsign Continental Challenge
Canal Aventure has its own guardian angels…