In 2021, he joined the Canal Aventure family at the Ultra AFRICA Race in Mozambique where he finished third. During his second escapade with us in January 2024, Bernard Dufour won the Nomad Senegal and participated in the development of some surrounding villages.

 

“Life is either an ambitious adventure or nothing.”

 

A competitor in everyday life as well as on the track, Bernard Dufour has a first career in textiles, a family-run business in events and sports practice on a daily basis. A former swimmer, he tried triathlon and long-distance running in 2018. 

 

“I have the opportunity to live my passion fully, I run 3 to 7 times a week. I am also the president of a 400-member athletics club in Brittany. I like competition and challenges.”

 

When approaching Nomad Senegal, he emphasizes the need for thorough preparation. A physical preparation at the top over three months with 60 to 140 km run each week and a meticulous material preparation, essential when living several days in self-sufficiency. He insists on a real mental preparation (too often neglected) that allows to remain positive even in rustic racing conditions. “There is always a time when the physical declines and there is no choice but to call upon one’s mental resources.”

 

 

Talking about motivation, Bernard has another particularity. He runs each time for the benefit of a local project thanks to the association he created: Desert Solidarity. Children first.

“The little, the very little we can do, we must do it but without illusion.” Théodore Monod

This phrase of the great scientist and explorer specializing in the desert means so much to Bernard Dufour.

 

“Before the race, I asked Jérôme if he had any contacts there and he put me in touch with the Lorraine Niombato association.”

 

At the origin was a camp (a traditional hotel) welcoming traveler in the Niombato, small region of the Saloum Delta. The founders of the Camp created the association in Lorraine (France) in 2006. Encouraging solidarity tourism from France, they also support economic development in Senegal by creating Fadidi Niombato (Welcome to Niombato in local language).

One foot in France, the other in Senegal, Lorraine Niombato, chaired by Michèle Pillot, promotes the values of solidarity tourism while contributing to the well-being of the inhabitants of the region. The projects carried out come from a request from the partner villages and are always discussed in the village committees. Bernard activated his networks to recover funds for the creation of vegetable gardens cultivated by women in the villages near the starting point of the race. 

 

“These balances require regular vigilance and relational work with village leaders, which is carried out by Monique Sène, Camp Manager. In the current context of poverty and food inflation, the money raised will be used to buy equipment and seeds.”

 

The objective is clear: to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of Niombato. The climatic conditions make it very difficult to exploit the land. Achieving food self-sufficiency through the development of gardening is a project that makes sense and should allow these women to gain independence, especially financially. Bernard Dufour concludes These are emotional moments and I am so rewarded by the smiles of these women and children. What happiness!”

 

 

 

 

Fan of Canal Aventure

 

After the Ultra AFRICA Race in Mozambique, Bernard was eager to find the staff and riders of the Nomad in Senegal.

 

“I like the seriousness and professionalism of Canal Aventure. We run safely while discovering the country and the people… It really feels like a family… I have toured the big organizers of these challenges around the world and my preference is, without a doubt, Canal Aventure and its boss Jérôme.”

 

Bernard Dufour will join us for the Ultra ASIA Race in Vietnam in March 2025. It will again be a joy to meet around a fire (or a drink) after the race.