Trail: Alès Cévennes athletics, under the sign of the collective

Trail: Alès Cévennes athletics, under the sign of the collective

L'impressionnante délégation alésienne s'est illustrée de belle manière dans la Drôme.

Great overall performance from the AC2A during the French trail championships, Sunday April 7, 2024. The Cévennes delegation left Buis-les-Baronnies with seven medals around their necks.

At Alès Cévennes athletics (AC2A), we know the high level. Last March, Michaël Gras was crowned French cross-country champion, recalling all the Cévennes know-how in this area. Aside from muddy terrain, for three seasons there has also been talk of single-tracks and D+ with the creation of the Elite trail structure. ''The Alès club called on me to set up a section, begins the experienced manager Emmanuel Gault, 47 years old, former double champion of France and world champion per team. I wanted to put together a team of runners from here, represented by runners from Occitanie.''
With two rather interesting first national campaigns – 4 medals in 2022; 2 in 2023 – the AC2A was quickly established in the French trail landscape. Last Sunday, April 7, on the rough terrain of Buis-les-Baronnies (Drôme), the Alesian collective confirmed its top 5 status during the ‘’France’’ by team (5th). An overall success which, to listen to Gault, had its source at the beginning of March, near Vigan and the Ceven’trail: ''When you enlarge a group, you don’ you never know how the sauce will take. The cohesion course at the Ceven'trail helped us a lot.''

Last minute setbacks

For the objective of the season, nothing had been left to chance with, in particular, a staff of four people including the coach, Stéphane Jouvance, at the refueling. Everything had been planned… except injuries, a disruptive element in Gault's last days and nights (gold in M2, 43rd overall in 5:48’58): ''It was quite complicated to manage. Coralie Blanchard (149th; 7:01:43, silver in M1) sprained his ankle. Tom Chaudon, hope at 30’ over 10 km, suffered a stress fracture. Everything was turned upside down in a few days.''
On Sunday morning, the harvest was quite good, the result of a briefing by the manager the evening before, with a group that went from 12 qualifying runners to… 25 runners qualified, including 10 who arrived this winter: ''I told them not to demobilize, that we were a new family, that they needed to make an appointment with themselves, that this type of meeting, we only had one per year. Everyone worked hard, we more than fulfilled the contract (7 medals). I have a special thought for Adrien Chouchou, there from the start and finally medalist (bronze).''

Emmanuel Gault, manager: ''The idea is to build a new family''

In Alès, the future looks bright. And Emmanuel Gault, enthusiastic: ''A good third of the group was only in their first French championship. The goal was for everyone to gain experience. There are some for whom I have a project for two or three years and who, I hope, will one day be medalists in their category or by team. The idea is to build a new family, a new group that we expand with quality and that everyone improves their skills.''

Reigning world champion, Benjamin Roubiol (Annecy athletics) became French champion over 57 km in 4 h 44’47. Pierre Defontaine (AC2A) ranked 7th (5:04:04). On the short trail (21 km), the Alésiens Bruno de Magondeaux (gold in M5), Bruno Freudenreich (silver in M2), Nathalie Bouet (silver in M2) and Rémi Dauce (bronze in M2) also distinguished themselves. I subscribe to read more

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