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Templiers Endurance Trail – Interview with Romuald

Templiers Endurance Trail – Interview with Romuald

Romuald Cardon from Team be.ez speaking after the Templiers Endurance Trail in Millau on 25 October 2013.

Profile: 43, married with two children (Zoé and Eliott), wine production agent (26 estates)

– Congratulations, you reached the trail’s finish line in less than 20 hours! How did you come to do the trail? How long have you been trail running?

Following a repetitive back injury, I had to work my abs every morning. After a year, I got bored doing the same old thing, so I started running in Paris.

I began running once a week, but I was going round in circles… Then I started a training programme in preparation for a 10 km run, followed by a half-marathon (21 km) and finally a full marathon (42.195 km) and “it didn’t even hurt”. I felt as though I were capable of more and I wanted to push myself even further. There were two solutions – work on improving my times or find another type of race.

That is when I looked at trail running. With its food self-sufficiency and race management problems and the difficulties in climate and terrain, it was exactly what I needed.

Ever since, I have been following an annual programme – my goal in 2012 was to finish the year with a 72 km trail race, and the Templiers Endurance Trail was my objective for 2013.

– Had you ever done such a difficult trail before? (100 km, cumulative elevation gain of 4,900 m, all of which in less than 20 hours)

The most that I had ever done was the 50-mile Vulcain trail (80 km) in 30 cm of snow!

– Did you put in a lot of practice to achieve such a result?

I ran 1,355 km between January and October, plus 274 km of cycling since August.

– You only managed to get three hours’ sleep before the start. Was that deliberate?

Whatever you do, you must not change the body’s rhythm, so I went to bed at 8:30 pm and woke up at 1 am to eat and make sure that everything was digested before starting the race.

– What was it like starting the race in the middle of the night at 4 am?

The weather was on our side for the start, and I was wide awake. After 7 or 8 km, when you see all the city’s lights and the head torches behind you, the start really dawns on you…

– What were the important stages during your race?

Reaching the first hydration station after 17.8 km some 40 seconds ahead of the time limit was reassuring and spurred me on. I felt good.

But later on when I hit the 30-km mark, I felt really tired. I was completely drained and I had not even reached the halfway mark! I fought on for a good 15 km before I started recovering. It is a great relief when you feel your energy coming back.

At the 51.7-km mark, I was really pleased to see Alexandre and Julien, who had been helping me with the race. Then I saw them again at the 91-km mark and finally at the finish line. Memorable times.

Reaching an altitude of 900 m between 50 km and 70 km and discovering the plateau landscape was another highlight.

– Did you run into any technical problems?

Yes, there was no watch after 70 km, so I had no concept of time or distance! That severely complicated my race plan. Having said that, we were all in the same boat. (the battery in the GPS watch normally lasts about 20 hours, but the rough terrain at Millau must have drained it more quickly than expected).

Then my head torch gave out towards the end of the race, followed by my phone at the 80-km mark.

– And physically?

I caught my toe on a large stone and it REALLY HURT!

– Did you ever think you would be unable to finish the race? Did nightfall make the race harder?

No, I never had any thoughts of giving up, and that is a first!

Nightfall made the race a lot harder, since there were some highly technical descents and the batteries in my head torch ran out early. Fortunately, the trail was not muddy.

– The goal was to be one of the finishers and you did it! Well done! Will you be continuing in 2014?

Definitely! I have two potential goals lined up for 2014 – the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (160 km, cumulative elevation gain of 10,000 m in less than 39 hours) or the Tracé du Duc de Savoie (119 km, cumulative elevation gain of 7,250 m in less than 33 hours) if the draw works in my favour. I have the points, so it is a bit scary…

To achieve either goal, my preparation will need to be a lot more specific for 2014. I need to be sure about the time spent on preparation if I am to be ready.

Excellent news! With be.ez, we will continue lending our support to you throughout 2014 and your actions in favour of NOURISH THE CHILDREN, a recognised food aid programme that strives to help malnourished children in poor countries (http://www.nuskin.com/content/nuskin/en_US/culture/nourish_the_children.html).