Written by Nathan Blouin
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165 km long. A gain of 10,217 meters. A limit of 66 hours was fixed to complete everything. One thing is for sure, rarely has a race lived up to its nickname The Grand Raid of Reunion Island : “Fools’ Diagonal”.
However, this does not stop Cahagnes resident Laurent Lebret (Calvados) and the rider and history of the VBE (Villers-Bocage Endurance), work hard to compete in it.
On the contrary, he is looking forward to it. “I wanted to participate in the 2020 edition to celebrate My 30 years of running, but this is not possible due to the epidemic,” he testifies. “And in 2021, the format of the race was unconventional. »
So set it in 2022. Where, for 30 peopleE The VBE Rider, version of the Diagonale des Faus, is more ready than ever.
Because for this run – its 415E -, Laurent Lebret doesn’t do things by halves.
“This is the hardest preparation I have done. I’ve organized it into 12 weeks that work in stages that allow you to build a crescendo while slowing down at the end to recover before heading into the reunion. »
His preparation plan, drawn up outside working hours on the slaughter line at the Elyvia plant in Villers-Bocage, included roughly the equivalent. 1000 km run And 22,000 km elevation gainDelivered 130 hours.
But more than the numbers, it calibrates itself to the specifics of the event, as technical as it is exhausting. “I do a lot of work on drops and stairs, there are a lot of those on the course. I train in the forest of Mondrainville for stairs, in the Bois d’Auna for endurance, in Normandy Switzerland for terrain technique, and even run at night,” he lists.
A hard run
In fact, knowing how to run at any time of day or night is essential for a course of such length that even the world’s best athletes struggle to complete in 24 hours. Especially since the start itself takes place at midnight (9 p.m.), the Kahagna rider aims to “ If possible finish the race within 45 hours without sleeping “.
For this, of course, in addition to its own provisions, a few 3000 participants The Grand Raid can account for two exchange zones for refueling. However, this does not prevent it The third Among them to give up during the exam.
Although places are expensive and difficult to obtain, it is necessary to validate a certain number of points in the previous year in order to hope to participate.
The health crisis demands, however the system is flexible, allowing to keep “half of the points” earned by Laurent Lebret to participate in the 2020 edition.
Thus allowing those who started running in 1990 to devote themselves to the preparation of this unique event.
“My brother was going to participate in the Foulise de Bayeux and I decided to try with him at the last minute. I really liked it. Then, a very nice fellow put my foot in stirrups. In the beginning, I really struggled, but with practice I quickly progressed. »
In any case, it is enough to align with the race, often known The hardest thing in the world. To that end he has the support of his wife, “always present to accompany and encourage him”, and two sons and a daughter-in-law who accompany him on the journey.
This trip, to be exact, will be on October 15, 2022, a few days before the big start of the famous race. Thursday, October 20, 9 a.m. local time.
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