Xavier Thévenard, this Tuesday during his arrival at Conca after 32h32 spent on the fearsome GR20 Corsica. Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP) - AFP

  • Like Kilian Jornet and François D'Haene, Xavier Thévenard notably has three coronations on the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (2013, 2015 and 2018).
  • The 32-year-old Jura ultra-traileur launched himself Monday morning at 4 a.m. in a huge challenge: to conquer the record for crossing the GR20 in Corsica in less than 31:06, the benchmark brand of François d'Haene since June 2016.
  • Suffering from heat and blisters, Xavier Thévenard joined Conca 1 hour 26 minutes late, this Tuesday noon.

The sweltering Corsican heat melted Xavier Thévenard's 40 minutes in advance. Well launched, halfway through Monday afternoon, to win the prestigious record for crossing the GR 20 (180 km and 14,000 m of elevation gain), the ultra-trail runner from the Jura then collapsed, to conclude this challenge extreme in 32h32, this Tuesday noon. It was the third best performance on this monstrous course, behind François D'Haene (31:06 in 2016) and the Corsican runner Guillaume Peretti (32 h in 2014).

Xavier Thévenard, who was accompanied by around thirty pacers throughout his adventure, is notably ahead of the icon of the Kilian Jornet trail (32h54 in 2009), which says a lot about his performance. Launched from Calenzana in a hellish race against the clock since 4 am Monday morning, the triple winner of the Ultra-Trail of Mont-Blanc has in turn suffered from numerous blisters on the feet, a complex night and heatstroke . Exhausted when he arrived with courage, Tuesday at Conca, he let himself be overcome by emotion during his first reaction to Corse Matin .

"The essential support of the Corsican community"

"It's a joke thing," exclaims the 32-year-old athlete. I do not know if it is the course that is barjot or if it is our sport that is completely crazy. "Both my captain? Confronted for the first time in his career at such a demanding distance, the Team Asics runner had to push his limits like never before to complete the 180 km.

"I don't know if it's human to hurt yourself like that," he questions himself, not failing to greet "the essential support of the Corsican community". Because Xavier Thévenard has no trouble convincing us that the essential is not to be found in these 86 minutes behind the benchmark performance of François D'Haene.

"The clock, we don't care a bit"

“Quite frankly, the time, we don't care a bit. It's something more, but that's not what matters. It's a unique adventure and I will keep great memories of it until the end of my days. There are no words to describe the emotions it can provide. "

An observation which echoes the encouragements filled with fair play sent on Sunday by François D'Haene: "What I wish you most is to go down the road and have fun with all your friends. Because after a few years, that's what will remain etched in you, much more than a time. This Tuesday, this already seems to be the case.


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