© Cyril CHARPIN

FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SÉBASTIEN CAMUS ON THE CÔTE D'AZUR!

An athlete like no other, committed to pushing himself to the limit internationally. Along with his brother Sylvain, Sébastien – a pro French top 10 ultramarathon runner, founder of the Garmin Adventure Team and Côte d’Azur France ambassador – is climbing to the top of his sport here on the Côte d’Azur.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?

I’m 41 and I’m an ultramarathon runner, usually over distances of about 160 km. I live in Sospel, up from Menton on the edge of the Mercantour National Park. I went to Nice University’s sports faculty and then worked at the local cycling academy, before turning pro. I’ve travelled a lot, but I settled down here in this little corner of paradise… Today with my beautiful wife and my two children, surrounded by the mountains and the sea below, we’re living a real-life dream on the Côte d’Azur.

HOW DID ULTRAMARATHON RUNNING COME INTO YOUR LIFE?

I started sport late. I did a lot of mountain biking, when my brother was competing in duathlons. We developed together. One day we decided to participate in an adventure race.
For me the nature running section was a real revelation. We got a taste for it and little by little we moved from cycling to adventure racing, then from that to trail running. Discovering ultramarathon running was an important point in my life, I threw myself into it 100%. I used to climb passes by bike… now I climb the summits and try to go even higher on foot!

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE ROUTES ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR?

The Côte d’Azur is an ideal destination for trail runners. I’ve travelled around some incredible places like Arizona, Tasmania, Morocco… But above all here in a relatively small area there’s incredible diversity – and a climate that makes it possible to train in both summer and winter. You don’t find that anywhere else. And besides… Sospel is the best place I know! It’s the mecca of trail running. A friend in the Garmin team and I are preparing to cross the département via the mountains from my home to his in Lac d’Allos in the Alpes de Haute-Provence département!

HOW WOULD YOU RECOMMEND PREPARING FOR AN ULTRAMARATHON?

Gradual progression. It’s a question of respecting the natural, physiological stages. Then, identify the routes so you understand the difficulties and can break them down into well-thought out segments, manage your effort by not letting emotions take over, and without the stress of being surprised by the difficulty. Finally, manage your effort itself. Effort requires intellectual creativity, especially when your performance is at stake. Being able to concentrate at the same time as philosophizing about your environment, isolating yourself while communicating with nature.