Marathon des sables



"Preparation is almost what motivates me the most!"

It is in a small Savoyard village, close to Chambéry, at the foot of the Chartreuse massif, that Julien CHORIER lives.

Also close to 40, married, father of two daughters, Julien is an "elite" trail runner - winner among others of the Diagonale des Fous at the Ruenion Island and the Hardrock 100 in Colorado (2011). First he was a cyclist high level, and he slipped to the trail running a bit by chance: "We had just had our first daughter, I did not have the desire or time to ride a bike at high level, so I stopped on a victory at Ventoux. I started running with colleagues, and then I programmed the Saintélyon ​​race (68 km close to Lyon). But my partner canceled, suddenly I did everything alone ... " So in 2006, Julien enters the world of the ultrarunning to never leave it; the following year, he won the CCC (Courmayeur Champex Chamonix), and since then has been sailing in the higher spheres of trail running.

The MARATHON DES SABLES is an event he has long dreamed of, but difficult enough to fit into an elite runner’s schedule: "As it is placed in the spring, it is difficult for the rest of the season. And then I do not really like to run in the sand ... " But now, the call of adventure, the desire to discover this myth, and the certainty of having a great time with strangers and some friends, were stronger: here he is. If you had told him that when he was 18, he would probably have laughed in your face: "When I was a kid, the MDS for me was unthinkable, stupid even! "

Engineer in fire safety, Julien is particularly meticulous in the preparation of the 34th MARATHON DES SABLES: "For me, the preparation is already part of the race. Choose your material, your food ... That's almost what motivates me the most! Hey I just found a small and super effective venom pump, it's great! And to pull out the list of his food forecasts: "Everything should fit in 3.7 kg. Of course, I repackage all the food, otherwise it takes up too much space! With that, I have about 2700 Kcal for normal race days, and 3700 for the long leg. " A care of detail that he applies to all posts:" My shoes, it will be roads, about 200 grams, with gaiters stuck, and sleeves that will come over it to prevent sand from entering the shoes. " The Savoyard should also wear a lightweight ultralight (80g) long-sleeved t-shirt to protect from the sun and maintain some life-saving moisture.

If this preparation passionate Julien, he looks forward to the race itself: "For a week, it will be great. Run a little, then spend a lot of time with other enthusiasts to exchange ... No phone, a real break as we have no opportunity to do! " A cut with the family, but again Julien keeps smiling:" With my wife Céline, I think we will do both a day. She runs too, physically it should not be a problem for her. We just have to get ready for the planning! "

From a sporting point of view, the race will be done in individual but also in team: "If I arrive in form, I think that I can aim for a Top 5, more or less 3 places - a podium if I am really very well , and closer to the tenth place if it's not so good. And then we will run as a team with Laurence, Erik and Merile, it'll be great!” A great team indeed: Laurence KLEIN has already won three times the MDS, Erik CLAVERY was fifth in 2016, and Merile ROBERT finished third this year. What to consider a podium team ... Even if Julien is skeptical about their chances of victory: "Rachid is made for this race, he has the size, he is adapted to the desert, he knows how to manage his effort, his food ..." Remains that 'with this beautiful team of Frenchmen, Moroccans Rachid EL MORABITY, his brother Mohamed and their fellow runners have an interest not to delay too much ...

How does a champion like Julien prepare for the MDS? "Running, skiing ... I should also go for short races, and in real racing early February The 9 Ultra Dragons in Hong Kong, an ultra over two days with 50 miles on the first day and 50 km on the second, and then on the Transgrancanaria at the end of February. These two events take place under the heat, good choices in anticipation of the Sahara ...

Meanwhile, Julien takes advantage of the heat of the stove, under the gaze of the ice Chartreuse: "Coming back from the desert, I think I will really appreciate the comfort that I have here!”


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"I hope I won't eat too much sand!"

Emmanuelle ROMANZI (FRA)


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