To run. Road racing: “Our sport has gone out of fashion” – Running

Auray – Vannes half marathon, Sunday (10 am)

The phenomenon is not new: road races are becoming less and less attractive and pelotons are melting like snow in the sun. Jean-Claude Le Boulicaut, the organizer of Auray – Vannes, whose 48th edition will take place on Sunday, notes this bitterly. With 2,700 registered in the half marathon and just over 500 in the 10 km, it is far from the standards of the great years of the Morbihan classic. “We’re in free fall…”

“They are happy when they arrive”

The organizers know the reasons. “Since the covid crisis, people do sport differently. Today’s athletes no longer want limitations. They are happy when they finish a race. They are no longer interested in the clock.”

Dominique Chauvelier, the iconic marathon runner of the 80s and 90s, makes the same observation: “We live in a society where we take care of ourselves, but where we no longer want to tear ourselves apart and hurt ourselves. Why do they do competitions? We just want to have fun. »

“We need to replace speakers with DJs”

If the former French international is not tender with the pilots, neither with the organizers. “They haven’t been questioned for many years. Some races haven’t changed for 30 years: it’s the same town, the same organizers, maybe the same music at the start and finish. »

Elaborating the facts is one thing, proposing solutions is another. Jean-Claude Le Boulicaut recognizes his impotence. “How to stop the phenomenon? Of course I wonder, but I don’t have the recipe. If I had it, I would apply it.”

Dominique Chauvelier is not short of ideas. “Today we have to have fun, rock and fireworks. Speakers should be replaced by DJs. Our sport has gone out of fashion”, he says, citing as a good student the 10 km in Paris, a race that brings together 17,000 people in an atmosphere worthy of the beaches of Ibiza.

The good recipe for the Corrida de Langueux

Gwénaël Vigot, organizer of a pedestrian event in Brest in the 1990s and former manager of Kenyan runners, had difficulty understanding the disaffection of road runners. “Running purists go against the trails and don’t come to road races. I do not get it”.

In Langueux, Michel Aubault is doing quite well. His Corrida, scheduled for June, does not lose any registrants. “This year we are at the same figure as before 2019.” His recipe? Races in the center of the city, with, as a final bouquet, a very high level event that seduces the public. All in a festive atmosphere.

The Armorican is a little worried about the future of pedestrian events, believing that there are too many of them. “When I was president of non-stage races in Côtes-d’Armor, there were 40 races. Today there are 120…”

Vannes innovates with a night event

So how can the races go well? Innovating and offering a unique concept. A good example is the Brest Urban Trail, a race that allows you to discover mythical places in Brest. The event, whose third edition is scheduled for 2023, sold out in 2017 and 2019.

Another concept that works well, events where we move to raise funds to fight a disease. In Brittany, La Vannetaise, La Lorientaise or Odysséa a Relecq, all three involved in the prevention and treatment of female cancer, are a success every year offering a race but also a walk and a great event.

Other organizers have offered mud events with obstacles to overcome. There are also untimed races where competitors are sprayed with colored powder. The goal is to have fun with friends.

Renewing and playing the card of originality is also what the Vannes marathon wants to do by programming, for the first time, its 10 km the day before the marathon. The race will be held at night. Will the light shine through the night? Answer October 15.

the program

Sunday: 5 km La Brèche (Arradon) – Vannes at 9 am; 10 km Arradon – Vannes at 9:10 am; Nordic walk 10 km Arradon – Vannes at 9:15 am; 21,100 km Auray – Vannes at 10 am.

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